Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Office Build Stool II

Mortise layout on legs
Now that my mortising machine and tenon jig are all set up and working it was finally time to get back on this project.  The parts had been milled long ago (as in early April!) and have now been fully acclimated in my shop, so last night I laid out the mortises on the legs.  Today work on the build really got started.  Since pencil lines don't show up well on oak in the low light of my shop (translation: my eyes aren't as good as they once were) I used the idea of laying everything out on tape and then cutting the target areas out.  This did take extra time, but it worked pretty nice actually.  I should probably get some white pencil lead before the next project however.

Making oak chips
There's a reason you need to keep mortising chisels sharp: plunging cuts in oak is hard work!  If you've never used a mortising machine you might be surprised at how much force is required to cut a half inch square hole in solid oak.  My machine is heavy (93#) but I still felt a need to clamp it onto the workbench when it wanted to tip at times.  It made quick work of the 16 mortises on the legs however, and with a little cleanup in the bottom of each hole machine cuts like these are amazingly consistent.

Step 1 - Set the tenon width
I did the first part of the tenon work on the table saw by nibbling away at the edges of the pieces to set the tenon width.  This takes a little longer than cutting them on the jig but it gets this part out of the way right up front.

Step 2 - Make the cheek cuts with the tenon jig
Then I cut the tenon cheek cuts with the jig.  I started with real fat cuts on the first piece until the fit was just right and then cut all the rest.

Step 3 - Cut the shoulders on the table saw
The last step to complete the tenon was to cut the shoulders on the table saw.  You might note that I'm not staying with a more "standard" tenon size here.  Normally for 3/4 inch stock the tenon would be half that, or 3/8 inch thick.  But because four of the stretchers on this stool will likely have my feet resting on them a fair bit of time I decided to oversize them.  And rather than change the jig I used the same setting for the aprons.

What's a project without at least one oops?!  This is what I get for leaving my plans in the house.  I had everything milled and didn't discover a problem until the dry fit.  Ouch.  So four of the pieces had to be cut shorter and the tenons redone.  I think I wrote somewhere the other day that my plans usually go out the window after the first cut and then everything else becomes relative.  Well, this project will be no different I guess.  :)

Dry fit
Everything went together pretty well.  I've done a little fitting and tuning here and there, and a bit more is left, but overall I like how the base fit together.  In the photo above you can see the seat pieces sitting loosely on top.

It was nice having a long holiday weekend to get out in the shop like this for a change.  Time flies out there!

Foot rests/stretchers
I'll use this stool at my office stand up workstation.  As much as I like the new setup there are times during the day when I want to sit for a bit ... and this will keep me out of the old plush chair and up at the desk where I can continue working.

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