Walnut slab for legs

UsI recently purchased some black walnut for the desk legs. It needs to be trimmed and squared before shaping to size.

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Walnut cut and all four sides squared. Next step is to mark length.

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Using a square, marking knife, and chisel, a knife wall on all four sides establish a starting place for the saw.

Now marking length and creating a knife wall on all four sides to establish a saw line to ensure a square cut.

 

 

 

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I’m still here…

I apologize for not being on here keeping up with the blog. Truth be told,  I have been working a lot and brainstorming ideas for the legs of the desk. I have been particularly finicky about the outcome of the legs.  I am not satisfied with the poplar lumber and the stain in which I used on the sample board.  It appears to me, like a stain of a manufactured piece. This simply cannot do, although other folks may like it. I am definitely keeping the legs the same shape and all. Just a different species of wood. More on that soon, don’t worry, I haven’t started on it yet.  I will keep you posted.  I have also been dealing with making a smoothing plane.  I will post more on that soon.

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Leg 4 wrap up

Side view of the leg after using brace and saw.

Planed down to the line.

Planed down to the line.

Planeddowns to the line.Side view of the leg after using brace and saw.

Using the brace and Forster bit, I bored a series of holes along the length of the leg and sawed a few areas to remove the waste.

0Using the brace and Forster bit, I bored a series of holes along the length of the leg and sawed a few areas to remove the waste.

It’s been a while since I last posted due to car trouble, early morning hours, and of course the thanksgiving holiday.  I finished the 4th leg yesterday.  As you can see from the previous post, I showed the outline of the waste side, thereby eliminating the gouges on the last edge.

I mentioned that I would show the method that I used to hog off the waste and plane down to the widest part of the leg.  The quickest way to remove that waste would most likely be a drawknife or a hatchet, but I have yet to acquire those tools yet.

It does look rough and almost like  a set of saw teeth.  The next thing to do was to take a chisel and pare down the peaks as low as possible to the valleys.  Once that was accomplished, I used my joiner plane and leveled the rough surface to a nice, flat and smooth surface down to the marked line of the width.

The next thing to do was cut to length. Then, measure 7″ from the top of leg and scribe a line on all sides.  Now I measure the leg bottom and mark the line to determine bottom width.  Time to draw a line using a straight edge from the 7″ mark on top down to the marked line at the bottom, creating the taper.  Plane does the work down to the line and that’s a wrap on the last leg.

 

 

 

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Leg No. 4, 2nd face

I finished planing the second face flat and squared to the referenced edge and used my marking gauge to mark the thickness of the leg using the reference face as a guide for the gauge body.  After planing to the marked lines, I then marked that face with a 3 and the last side, the second edge, I marked a 4.  I took the marking gauge and marked on all four sides, the widest part of the leg, using the reference edge for the gauge body.  In the earlier post, “One face planed flat and smooth”, I mentioned the area on the reference face that had two deep marks, kind of like what you would get from vampire.  Strange, yes indeed. Now, I will show the waste side of the leg that will allow me to omit that part since it would not look good as part of the finished desk.

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This is the finished reference face. I didn’t want to lose the thickness of the board, so I chose the opposite edge to make my reference edge.

Now if you see the second photo, you will see what I mean.

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As you can see, the gouges are on the waste side of the board as shown by the crossed lines.

I marked all the waste areas with diagonal lines to provide visual reference when working.  The next post will show you the method I used to remove most of the waste and to mark the leg taper and the removal of the remaining waste to the final smoothed shape.

 

 

 

 

 

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Second surface planed flat & squared

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The second reference, the edge flat and square to the reference face.

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The reference face and edge marked we a cursive f.

 

The second surface has been planed flat and squared to the reference face.  The reference face and the reference edge has been established, marked with a cursive f for reference.  Now that there are two surfaces done, we will now do the second face, planing it flat and squared to the two references.

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One face planed flat and smooth

The finished reference face.

The finished reference face.

I have been busy with work, but I have not been idle in getting the last leg worked on.  I have not had much time, however, I managed to flatten and smooth one face from a rough state to a smooth state.  This is marked by a china marker with a simple cursive f, marking a reference face.  The next step is to turn the board onto it’s edge.  After inspection of the edges to see which would be the most simple and best use of a reference edge, I chose the edge that I had sawn to divide the board in half for the simple fact that I will explain in the photos.

 

This is the finished reference face. I didn't want to lose the thickness of the board, so I chose the opposite edge to make my reference edge.

This is the finished reference face. I didn’t want to lose the thickness of the board, so I chose the opposite edge to make my reference edge.

Now, as you can see, I  would not want this to show up in my finished work.  I chose the opposite edge to plane and square for the reference edge.  I know that you are wondering the logic in my choice.  The opposite edge has less defects/ damage and can be flattened and smoothed with the minimal amount of material removed.  Once that edge is squared, I will finish the other unfinished face in reference to the squared edge.  The last side, the unfinished edge will be marked for the overall width from the reference edge, thereby establishing the widest point in the leg.  If for some reason, the defect or damage is still on the inside of the line, I will take note which end the trouble spot is on.  I will mark the top of the leg an inch or so from the rough end on all four sides.  Then, from the top end mark, I measure 7″ down and mark it on all four sides.  At that mark on a reference face, I measure 22″ for the remainder if that leg length.  On the two faces, I mark the 1-3/4″ at the bottom end line with a short pencil mark. Still working on the faces,  I start at the 7″ mark from the top where it meets the width line and down to the bottom 1-3/4″ mark with a straight edge, drawing a line for the taper of the legs.  Now, the trouble soot should be on the waste side because of the taper.  That problem is eliminated.  I will show pictures when I get to that point.  For now, time for me to head off to work.

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Highs and Lows

Here’s a photo shot from last night to show the high and low spots on the face side that I am planting flat.  It is not flat yet, but I wanted to show you that the milling process from a sawmill leaves much to be desired for smoothness and flatness.  That is part of the reason why getting lumber from these sawmills and businesses that sells the lumber directly from these mills are usually a lot less than you would find at a big box store such as Home Depot and Lowe’s that are S4S, meaning that it is surfaced on four sides.

The contrast of the high and low spots.

The contrast of the high and low spots.

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Starting the flattening & squaring

I just started to look a the board face and placed two aluminum angle bars at each end of the board to use as winding sticks.  The winding sticks will help exaggerate the warp or twist in a board. The next thing to do is look at the winding sticks in a stooped position to make your eyes level horizontally to see the tops of the sticks. Bring your eyes up and down, using your body, not your eyes or head. Line them up at the tops and see if one side is lower or higher than the other.  The longer winding sticks are, the more easily the exaggeration can be seen.  In the photo below, you can see that the far right corner in the back is higher than the front stick.  This means that there is a twist on that end and that is higher and that needs to be planed first.

Winding sticks

Winding sticks

The next thing to do is to plane all the high spots until you level out with the lowest spot and plane it flat and true.

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Stain and shellac sample board

I have been working some pretty early mornings since Sunday, so with the clocks being turned back on Sunday and being up at 3 am, you can probably imagine the body trying to adjust. Not my cup of tea.  I have not been idle, either.  I stained a small scrap of poplar divided into three sections by blue tape.  I stained all three with General Finishes Java Gel Stain.  After about two days, I put two coats of blonde dewaxed shellac on the last two portions. I left the first section without the top coat of shellac for comparison.

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The top portion is without shellac, while the remaining two portions were applied with two coats of shellac.  Below is the original photo of the board without shellac for a comparison since the lighting is not showing it quite clearly .

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The Last Leg

As I mentioned in the last post, I will show and walk you through the process from rough to shaped leg.  I know there are other methods and tricks, but I am a novice woodworking hobbyist and I am learning by reading and the experience of trials and errors.  The thick slab, as I mentioned in previous posts have been cut into quarters in the length and width, not the thickness.  I have completed three legs sans the mortise.  The fourth leg is still in rough sawn/ planed from the sawmill, otherwise known as machining marks.  The board is in no way smooth in appearance.  It is rough, fuzzy, and the marks of sawmill cutting and rough planting are quite visible.  The photos in this post will show my two hand sawn cuts, one in the length and at the end from quartering the slab.

This is the hand sawn side that I did to determine the rough width.

This is the hand sawn side that I did to determine the rough width.

One face side.

One face side.

Opposite face side.

Opposite face side.

This is the side opposite the cut I made to define the rough width.

This is the side opposite the cut I made to define the rough width.

Marks left from a sawmill.

Marks left from a sawmill.

You can see the fuzziness of a rough sawn board from a sawmill.  You have to be careful when handling rough lumber from sawmills because of the tendency to get splinters.

You can see the fuzziness of a rough sawn board from a sawmill. You have to be careful when handling rough lumber from sawmills because of the tendency to get splinters.

In the next post, I will show and explain the first process of squaring a board for preparation for shaping into a desk leg.

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