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A couple weeks ago, in preparation for a talk, carver/turner Robin Wood asked people to comment on this question about traditional handicrafts:
“We can see the benefit to a few craftspeople but can you prove the benefit to the wider community?”
He had over 170 positive answers within a couple of days, and last I checked, it’s up to 285 responses. (You can see the whole thing at his Facebook page.)
Although we Americans tend to ask first about the value of things for individuals, Europeans (like Robin Wood and his immediate audience) tend to ask more frequently about social value. Both are important questions. Matthew Crawford, for example, makes a strong case for the value of skilled, manual labor for individuals in his book Shop Class as Soulcraft.
But what about society as a whole? If more individuals in North America began to learn to work with their hands, would our society as a whole tend to flourish? My short answer is, of course, yes. I think that society as a whole benefits from having a lot of people who have the skills to make and repair physical objects. Or, put negatively, I think our society will suffer if we continue to drain it of people who can shape our physical environment without destroying it.
But that raises a further question: what does it mean to flourish as a society at all? It seems to me our modern economy thrives on consumers who are impatient, greedy, gluttonous, easily manipulated, superficially enthusiastic, imperceptive about quality, and quickly bored—people who value cheap thrills and immediate ease above all else. If a flourishing society is one in which an ever-increasing number of people are living in ever-increasing physical comfort at ever-decreasing prices, then handicrafts really have very little place in a modern society—at least the American one that I live in. Insofar as our economy has any connection to the physical world at all, it is built on low-quality consumer goods that require rapid replacement.
If, however, human flourishing has anything to do with developing a well-ordered soul, then we would do well to cherish and teach traditional handicrafts. These crafts require the craftsperson to be patient and thoughtful, to persevere through difficulty, to notice subtle differences, to pay attention to details, and to value the integrity of the thing itself above the thing’s market value. Learning a craft not only fosters an independent spirit (“I can make it myself.”), but it also unites people in communities of like-minded workers–guilds, as we used to call them. These communities both set the standards for excellent work and ensure that the skills necessary to meet those standards remain alive and active. These sorts of communities are also, I think, foundational to civil society. Speaking for myself, I would like to live surrounded by communities of people who are thoughtful, careful, patient, honest, thrifty, and perceptive. I would like to live around more skilled workers.
How about you? Do you know of any examples of that demonstrate the social value (and not just the individual value) of traditional handicrafts? If so, I’d love to hear your story.
Tagged: community, economy, guild, Matthew Crawford, Robin Wood, Shop Class as Soulcraft, social value, traditional handicrafts
Over the last few years years, it has become obvious that the values we have for the craft of woodworking, creating and marketing content, and relations with the audience are not shared by the management of Popular Woodworking Magazine and its parent company. When you realize that the boat you’re on isn’t ever going to sail in the direction you want to go, it’s best to get off. And, as when any relationship comes to an end, the public discussion of the details serves no purpose.
On behalf of myself, Chuck Bender and Bob Lang:
There is enough spin and speculation online regarding our departure to warrant a response. To clarify, we resigned our positions as a team and going forward we will be working as a team – together. Our decision to leave was not a hasty one, it came after a year and a half of discussing our concerns regarding the brand’s editorial direction and marketing policies with management at all levels of the company. The “restructuring” occurred several months ago, after the departure of Kevin Ireland. While that was a factor, it was not the sole cause.
We have been invited to submit contributions in the future, but none of us has accepted that invitation.
We want to thank each and every one of our readers who have taken the time to express their appreciation for our work. We have decided to move on, and we hope that those who enjoy our work will find the next phase of our careers as interesting and exciting as we do.
We can be found online at 360woodworking.com , and when you visit the site, you’ll have a front row seat as our plans unfold.”
Build Something Great!
I unpacked the new silicone rubber mold and wooden pattern for the new beeswax mold, then tried it out with some molten beeswax I had previously processed. Success!, and I am pleased with the outcome.
Production has now begun. Thus far I have orders for about 300 1/4-pound blocks. I should be caught up with these orders in less than a month.
If you would like any of this hand processed beeswax, drop me a line at the Contact portal of this site. The slightly-more-than-a quarter-pound block is $10 plus shipping. This is the beeswax I use myself when doing Roubo-style finishing, and demonstrate using it in the new video Creating Historic Furniture Finishes that PopWood released a little while ago.
Once the Studley book manuscript is submitted in about a month I will turn my attentions to many new projects, including the creation of new finishing products including pigmented waxes and “Mel’s Wax,” the revolutionary high-performance furniture care product invented in my lab at the Smithsonian.
How about a quick easy project! How about quickly making a tool you will never want to be without!
A birdcage awl has a tapered point just like a normal awl. The difference is that it is shaped like a pyramid. As a result, when you twist it, it will dig a quick neat hole. Perfect for marking boldly, perfect for starting a screw, perfect for predrilling and perfect for making small hole to stick tiny dowels in so you can make a quick cheap cricket or bird cage. Hence the name and at one time the most common use for the thing.
Your typical hand tool is a bit of sharp metal stuck in a piece of wood and this is no exception. The bit of metal here is possibly superior to any bit of metal that has ever before been used in a birdcage awl. First off, instead of being 4 sided this is three sided. That makes it faster, more aggressive. The steel used is carbide. This bit is a 20° Carbide Steel Pyramid engraving Bit intended for a CNC Router. This is used to engrave Copper, aluminum, iron, jade, acrylic, PVC, nylon, resin, softwood, plywood, and hardwood. Are you used to paying a lot for something like this? Do a search for “20° Carbide Steel Pyramid engraving Bit” on Ebay or Amazon. You can get 10 of them with free shipping for less than $11. You may have to wait a bit, since they come from China, but the wait will be worth it.
I took a pair of 1″ wooden balls. Again you can get 16 or so for under $6 with free shipping on Ebay or Amazon. I drilled holes in them and then glued the bit into one of them. The other is the sheath. Then I sanded them to have 4 flat sides and then sanded to make a total of eight. Since I wanted them grippy, I sanded course and them skipped to lightly sanding them very fine. This leave a smooth feel with tiny ridges. Combined with the octagonal grip, this is pretty convenient. You may want a more polished appearance, if you spend about $21 on this you will have enough materials to make a few mistakes and still have ten birdcage awls.
Now for the warning. These little bits are freaking sharp and pointy. Respect them.
If you are wondering how to drill neat holes in round balls, there are several easy ways. If you drill a big hole part way and then a little hole the rest of the way through, you can use that to line up and drill a straight hole in a ball. Or you can search for a drill guide kit that lets you make a hole in a ball. You can use a drill press. Secure a block of wood to the table and make a big hole that is not as big as the ball your are drilling. Then you can place the ball in that hole and drill a nice neat hole in the ball. With a lathe, you can set the ball in the hole on the tailstock and drill the ball. If you want precision you can even use the same pyramid bit to drill the holes. Be sure to back it out regularly to clear chips cause it does not eject chips like a common drill bit does.
You may recall that a few months ago, I tore out my old kitchen and built new cabinets, installed a new floor, a farmhouse sink, etc. etc. But once everything was fully functional, well, I moved on to more pressing things. (I still need to finish the backsplash, the door thresholds, the toe kicks…) But it’s been bugging me to not have the small island built (because that will also […]
Earlier I wrote about solving a problem making dados in turned columns by marrying a router plane and a joiner's saddle. You can read about my process HERE.
I edited together some video I shot of making the dados. I thought it might help in the understanding.
I move down the column in one direction to rough out the depth. Coming back in the other direction finishes the cut and allows me to move into the stopped end of the dado.
Ratione et Passionis
If you look at the chair you see round, turned columns joined to rails with mortises, not terribly difficult to accomplish with hand tools, but the kicker in the joinery design is the green panels fit between the rails. This requires some variety of groove or dado along the length of the columns to hold and hide the edge of the panel.
There were two ways to think about it.
First I could plow the groove in any standard way while the stock was still square. Then hope against hope that while I turned the legs on the lathe I wouldn't catch and tear out the groove too bad or worse, catch it very bad and wrench the whole piece off the lathe and send it careening across the shop.
On top of those dangerous prospects would be the gymnastics of getting the groove at proper center and depth before turning. Maybe with a CNC router or lathe, but not in my shop. The idea was out pretty quick.
So I turned the legs and chewed on the problem the whole while. At first I thought I would build a jig shaped like a long box. From either end I would clamp the column and from the top I would make a lid for the box that had a long slot cut in the center.
I would then run a router with a pattern template up and down through the slot and make my groove. I even went out and purchased the lumber, clamps, and a router base plate and bushing set from Milescraft to carry out the job. As I started to build the jig, my gut started to talk to me. I can't say exactly just what made me stop the process and switch gears. There were too many x-factors and measurements and it just seemed too likely an opportunity for me to screw the pooch.
Did I mention I wanted these grooves to stop at a point and not just blindly run the entire length.
Making the legs out of walnut, I didn't have any spare stock to make another if thing went wrong. I had to be smarter than the problem, and that's sometimes tough for me.
I waited and I thought.
I worked on other things and I thought.
I searched the internet, paged through books, wrote unfinished emails asking for advice.
And I thought.
My joiners saddles were my first inspiration.
I wanted to use my plow plane to make the grooves, and if I could figure out how to attach a joiners saddle shaped addition to the fence, I'd be golden.
But the physics of the plane defeated me. As you cut deeper with a plow plane, the fence moves deeper too. There was no way to do it and keep the fence centered on the round column. (Sitting here this morning I have thought of another way to do this with the plow that probably would work. I'll leave that for another day)
I thought about what else I had that made grooves, chisels, and a router plane.
Once I landed on the combination of router plane and joiners saddle I knew I'd picked the lock.
All that was left was to figure out the specifics and see if it worked.
That hurdle is behind me, the next one, the finish, is still in my teeth.
Ratione et Passionis
Today was a pretty good day in class. I’m still really disappointed in how my pieces came out, and the morning started with assembling the last of my coasters (they may be frisbees, in point of fact). But it was good practice, and Patrick had lots of interesting stories and great advice on how to do marquetry.
The first was around how to organize your work. For this simple set of six coasters, about 4″ in diameter, there were 162 parts total. I had slightly more than that because I broke a few. I lost a few too, so maybe it was a wash. His advice was pragmatic. First, handle each piece as few times as possible. As you take a plug out of the packet, immediately throw away the backer, grease paper and any layers that aren’t part of the actual project. Then arrange the parts in an exploded view in the correct relationship to each other as they will go into the final assembly. In the case of the coasters we positioned the parts face side down, so it’s a mirror image of the goal, and the inverse of how they came out of the packet.
This layout is essential for assembling the project onto the kraft paper. You smear a bit of hide glue onto the area, and you have maybe 4 or 5 minutes max before the glue cools/dries too much for assembly. After that you need to add little bits of glue as you go, and it’s gets progressively more messy. There aren’t many things more fun that trying to handle little delicate bits of veneer with sticky fingers. Root canals, maybe.
Another useful trick is making a pattern to either repair veneer or in this case, to replace a missing part. Remember the missing parts? A couple were little dots about 1/8″ in diameter, those I just cut from a scrap with a tiny gouge. One piece had broken off the background and gone on walkabout. I’ll probably find in glued to the bottom of my sneakers tomorrow.
The repair technique is to use a bit of thermal printer paper, like from an office adding machine. Hold it over the cavity and rub it with a burnisher. It will pick up the outline of the opening. Now trace around the outline on the paper to define the cut line, glue it onto a piece of veneer (in this case I used the outside scrap from my pack) and cut it out.
Once I cut the plug from my pack I picked out the veneer color I needed and glued it into the hole in the coaster. This has a bit of paper on it as all of the colored veneers for this project were first laminated with newsprint to help keep them together. Since this is the back of the project it doesn’t matter, but I probably should have reversed my pattern (or glued it to the other side of the packet) to avoid this.
From three or four feet away (assuming you have bad eyesight) the frisbees coasters don’t look horrible. It’s like that old saw – looking good from afar, but far from good looking.
Same drill as yesterday, mix and apply the mastic, working it into the saw kerfs, then scrape off any excess. After it cured for an hour we scuff sanded with 80 grit to remove any lumps and cut the discs free.
This afternoon Patrice demonstrated French Polishing, although of course they don’t call it that in France where he’s from. It’s just called “polishing with a pad”. That’s a process for another day.
Patrick also did an excellent lecture on a technique that is a variation of Boulle marquetry called “painting in wood”. The key to painting in wood is that instead of each layer in the packet being a different veneer, a layer may have two or three colors pieced together, with the grain aligned to suit the picture. This makes more efficient use of materials than standard Boulle. The alternative, piece-by-piece, requires hyper-accurate cutting as each piece is cut independently from the others.
So, what’s the final verdict?
First, next time I take a class I’m leaving my sell phone in the trunk so I can’t possibly get calls from work. That’s just ridiculous that I have to be worrying about who is going to get laid off while I’m on vacation.
The class provided lots of seat time learning how to saw marquetry packets on a Chevalet. I knew that going in. It also provided in-depth instruction in mixing and using hot hide glue, applying french polish and designing marquetry projects, from the drawings through assembling the packet and keeping track of the parts.
I think the self portrait I did actually came out nice, we laminated that onto a piece of plywood yesterday and removed the kraft paper today. I’ll put some finish on them when I get home, I’m happy with that one. The other two projects with the crazy curly-Qs I’m officially calling for a do-over.
I’m going to build a Chevalet when I get home and re-do the coasters. Maybe the square project too, but at least the coasters because everyone needs a nice set of marquetry coasters, right?
We hit the ground running at about 9 this morning with the review of Boulle-work, and then assembled packets for the first sawing exercise, whose only real function was to get newcomers comfortable with the tool and technique of sawing at this scale. Boullework is essentially a fret-sawing technique, and I started everyone off with a copy of their initial to saw in three parts; copper, pewter, and tordonshell.
The first step was to cut all the pieces in the packet the same size,
then score one face of the metal pieces to serve as a cleaner gluing surface. This meant that all the work was being done in a mirrored pattern to the final workpiece.
We assembled the packets with 1/8″ plywood as the bottom face, followed by the copper layer, followed by a piece of waxed paper (as a sawing lubricant), then the piece of tordonshell followed by another piece of waxed paper, then the pewter layer and finally another 1/8″ plywood face.
Veneer tape wrapped around the corners held the packet together, and the pattern was glued to the face of the plywood with stick glue.
Everyone used the same type of saw, a traditional German jeweler’s saw, fitted with 6/0 blades.
Getting the teeth in the right orientation was a challenge, given the near-microscopic size of them. I prefer these tiny blades as they allow for more detailed cutting, and leave such a tiny kerf.
A hole drilled with an eggbeater drill gave entre’ for the blade to be inserted through the packet,
and sawing could begin.
The scale of the sawing is tiny, and so is the saw dust.
The results of this introductory exercise was gratifying.
We then made some tordonshell, with everyone getting their hand in the process.
The second, larger packet was assembled, and the sawing began on the more complex pattern.
Here is how far we got today. More tomorrow.
It’s likely on your checklist right alongside tuning up the snow blower, draining the gas from the lawnmower, and getting the winter togs out of the closet. And if stocking up on wood is not on your list, it should be.
Fall is a great time to buy lumber for all your upcoming wintertime projects. It is clearly a more pleasant time of year to haul wood, plus any wood you buy now will have time to acclimate to your shop. Right now there may be another very good reason to “stock up.”
Erasmus said, “When I have a little money I buy books… and if I have any left I buy food and clothes.” Substitute “wood” for “books” and this describes me exactly. Last week I made the first of what will be several trips to my supplier to stock up for winter. On the long drive, I tuned in to an all news station and listened, again, to rosy reports on the economy, a surging stock market, still-lower unemployment numbers, and no inflation. I was emotionally uplifted by the time I arrived, but my delusions were summarily dashed when I realized that lumber prices had shot up since my last visit.
Knowing a bit about supply and demand, and processing the bits of “news” I heard on my drive, I surmised that lumber prices were up due to high demand. “You’re kidding, right?” was the reaction from my trusted wood source. He explained…
“The economy is so bad. No one is building houses around here so there is no demand for high-grade hardwoods for cabinets, fireplace mantels, trim, or anything else. As a result, the price people are paying for timber is so low that everyone has quit selling their trees. No timber, no lumber, and that translates to shortages. Short supply means rising prices.”
Okay, the rules of supply and demand are safe, but the premise under which I was operating was all wrong. There is a shortage of lumber, but not because the demand is high; it is because people who own stands of timber are holding off selling their trees until prices go up… at least around here.
One thing I learned from moving around the country is that all lumber pricing, like all politics, is local. Where you live the economy may be better, and perhaps a surge in construction is driving hardwood lumber prices higher. Whatever the reasons, the consensus (and futures contracts) agree, lumber prices are going up. As we all get ready for a winter of shop time and furniture building, now might be a good time to stock up on the one thing we all need for woodworking… more wood!
Steven Johnson is retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life).
Steven can be reached directly via email at email@example.com.
The post Back in the Shop: Steve Johnson – Wood Truth & News Lies appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
In the above video I show how to cut a very easy Ship Lap joint with woodworking hand tools.
What is a Ship Lap joint? A Ship Lap joint is essentially two opposing rabbet joints that overlap each other to hold panels together. It is used in furniture for drawer bottoms, tool chest bottoms, and the backs of cabinets. It is also commonly found in the construction of barn walls. I like using it for thin drawer bottoms, which are too thin for a tongue & groove joint.
TOOLS THAT YOU’LL NEED
Even though I’ve written a nice hand tool buying guide (here), I’m still often asked for links to the tools that I use in my videos, so here is a list of tools that I used (or mentioned) in this video:WORKBENCH:
- Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge or Veritas Dual Wheel Marking Gauge
- Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil
In the video I use a Large shoulder plane, but you can also use any rabbet plane or a moving fillister plane. I simply use my marking gauge to mark the desired overlap on each board, then cut the first rabbet, using a squared piece of wood as a fence. I hold the fence and board on the workbench with two holdfasts. I cut about half way through the thickness of the board, taking care to keep my shoulder plane vertical. You can also use the marking gauge to scribe a depth line to ensure that you’re cutting vertical. But I find eyeballing works fine.
Then I cut a rabbet on the other board (also using the fence), and when I feel like I’m getting close I’ll hold the first rabbet joint on top of the second rabbet to see my progress. When I’m getting close I will take one or two passes with the shoulder plane, then re-check. When the two pieces fit together with a flush top, then you’re finished!
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Astute readers may have gotten the impression that I’m not having the time of my life this week. Unfortunately, that’s sort of true. It’s has absolutely nothing to do with the class itself. Patrick, His wife Kirsten and his partner Patrice are all amazing. Unfortunately there are some changes going on at work that are deeply troubling and (apparently) couldn’t wait until I was back. That, combined with my own frustrations at not being able to do a better job on the projects, have sort of cast a pall over the experience for me.
But I’m sticking with it, and I’ll figure out the bits that have been frustrating me when I get back.
Today I started out by finishing sawing out the rest of the third project. This one was really tough, and my sawing is a mess. It’s probably not obvious looking at the pictures, but the parts are really inconsistent.
We started assembling the six coasters that will result from this packet, I got three assembled and needed to stop. It’s really hard to keep the parts straight, and intermix the colors properly. I’ll finish this tomorrow, including making a couple of repair pieces that went AWOL.
The other activity was to fill in the saw kerf gaps with “mastic”. We mixed a tiny bit of hot water, a swirl of hot hide glue and enough fine wood dust to make something the consistency of cake frosting. (remember, this is the bace we’re looking at here) This is worked into the gaps and allowed to dry. Any lumps are sanded off the surface, then the pictures are cut free from the assembly board and laminated face up on plywood to make the finished part. We’ll have to scrape off the kraft paper and apply some finish tomorrow too. Sounds like it will be a busy day.
This is the first project we did, a set of three corner details from a Boulle cabinet. This is the backside, before the mastic was worked into the seams.
A friend of mine contacted me a couple days ago asking if I could help him take down some dead and dying trees that were leaning up against his house (and providing bugs with a convenient entry point). So I brought my chainsaw over to see what I could do.
I ended up removing two dead dogwoods and another unidentifiable dead tree. I’m always sorry to see a dogwood go, but I know that if you can get to them before they get rotten or buggy, the wood can be excellent. But it rots in a hurry. One bole was already punky inside, but the other had about 3′ of sound, clear wood in the bole. It’s about 5″ in diameter, but then no dogwood log is ever very big.
With a hewing hatchet, I cut a flat all the way down the log so I could saw it open on the bandsaw. Then I removed the rest of the bark with a drawknife.
You’d think at some point I’d build a decent shaving horse, wouldn’t you?
Yeah, me too.
I resawed the other section so I have one half and two quarters of the log. It has beautifully variegated colors (which this pictures absolutely fails to show) from yellow to cream to almost purple. Dogwood is hard, heavy, and very difficult to split, so large pieces are prized for making carver’s mallets, as well as other things that need to stand up to heavy use.
S0 the larger half of the log I will set aside for mallets. The quarters will probably become spoons–if I can get to it before it dries out. Otherwise, I see some marking gauges and chisel handles in the works.
The ends are sealed now. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this log.
Tagged: dogwood, drawknife, hewing hatchet
Getting ready for tomorrow’s trip to Lie-Nielsen for my very full spoon-carving class, https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/18 I tarted up some of my spoon tools – the excuse is that I will be able to distinguish my tools from others’ tools. I started by cutting rows of gouge-cut patterns on the handles of my knives by Nic Westermann, these handles are ash, so I used a mallet to drive the gouge. Had to be very careful not to bump into the blades, either with my gouge or my hands. One could wrap the blade in duct tape, but I hate trying to get that junk off…I always feel like I’m going to slip & cut myself. I held these in a vise to carve them.
I had been using these knives since the spring, so the handles had some patina to them; once I cut into them, the carved bits came out very bright by comparison. Time will blend it all together.
Next, I decided to make some woven sheaths for the straight knives. I have kept several knives in a canvas roll, but even then they can get banged around. I have one small straight knife by Del Stubbs, and he supplied a nice birch woven sheath with it. His website has a very clear photo essay on making these – to me, more readable than the piece in Wille’s book. http://pinewoodforge.com/sheath.making.html
I made two with some scraps of birch bark, and lashed them with ash splints from my basket work. the dark-handled knife is my first spoon carving knife; late 1980s. Its most recent use is by Daniel, age 8 1/2. (HA! When I went digging for photos I shot the other day, he’s got one of Nic’s knives in his hands – so much for continuity…)
I also made a couple completely from ash, and tried some in hickory bark. The bark had been harvested quickly, and was too thick really. Good hickory bark is great for these things. The material I have in the best supply is ash splints, so I will bring some along in case some students want to take the time to make a sheath for their knives.
While we’re looking at spoon knives, now is a good time to show the hooks I’ve been using most often lately. Here’s three, Robin Wood’s “open” hook, the Nic Westerman one I mentioned, and in the back, a lefty by Hans Karlsson.
Next up after this trip is Columbus Day weekend at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, make a frame & panel in oak – carved. Bob says room for one more. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/bob-van-dyke-doesnt-know-which-end-is-up/
I was originally going to write a post concerning something I read on another woodworking blog about a pencil being “the most important shop tool”, that is until I read just happened to read a tweet from the WoodWhisperer. I just found out that Glen Huey, Chuck Bender, and Robert Lang will soon no longer work for/at Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Those three are the main reason I’ve kept up my subscription in the first place. While I don’t personally know Glen Huey or Robert Lang, I’ve been fortunate enough to take some woodworking classes with Chuck Bender, and I can say that I learned more from him than any other source, be it a class, book, or magazine. I also am a fan of Robert Lang and his love of Arts and Crafts furniture. Though there were some things he wrote that I didn’t always see eye to eye with, I enjoyed nearly every project he built that was featured in the magazine.
While I won’t speculate on why this happened (the last time I did that I was emailed to death by quite a few people), I will say that in my opinion this doesn’t bode well for the future of the magazine. When your entire editorial staff is dismissed-whether or not they quit or were asked to leave I don’t know-I can’t see how it can be spun as a good thing for the publication. I was on the fence about renewing my subscription, so I will wait in see what is in store for the magazine before I make any decisions.
In any event, I sincerely wish all three of those guys the best of luck. I hope that I they don’t disappear from the scene as far as the world of woodworking media is concerned. Wow, maybe woodworking really is dying.
I couldn't help myself when it came to naming this entry. The irony is that in this case, everything below the waist isn't where the real action is.
The case is divided up into three basic parts: The movement case, the pedestal, and the base. The movement case is what it sounds like. The waist separates the movement case from the pedestal, and the pedestal sits in the base. The base gets leveled before everything else goes up. The pedestal sits on the base, and houses the power supply for the clock. The waist is part of the pedestal, and all of the cables that connect the power supply to the movement pass through the waist, and up behind the rear panel in the movement case.
The base is nothing more than a mitered box. There are grooves inside, and a pair of plywood frames that fit into those grooves, to reinforce the base from inside. I also included some blocks for mounting the adjustable leveling feet. The top of the base is rabbeted to receive the pedestal.
The pedestal is actually rabbeted around the bottom edge, because I wanted the joint line to be horizontal. This is intended to be a production case, and this joint will not be glued. So, in the event of any gaps between the base and the pedestal, I didn't want those gaps to be visible. So, the pedestal lips slightly over the base, and seats solidly in.
The pedestal is, at heart, basically a mitered box, too. The panels that miter together to form that box are mitered frame and panel pieces, that all come together to give the appearance of a three-way miter on the top front corners. The panels that fill the frames have book-matched or 4-way matched panels. Like the base, there are internal plywood frames to reinforce the structure from inside. The bottom frame is open to allow access to the adjustable feet in the base, if needed. The top frame is open to allow cables to pass through. The solid wood, mitered top of the pedestal is glued to this frame, and the waist is glued to it, too. Part of the idea here is that, because the frame is glued into a groove that cuts across the vertical members of each panel, the vertical load of the clock will sit on the waist, which sits on top of the frame, which sits, via those grooves, on top of the vertical members. So, while it looks like the miter joints are supporting everything, they're not. There's internal structure.
Below the waist, the case structure is fairly straightforward.
Author's note: I wanted to put more photos in this post, but blogger's being glitchy these days. I'll try to add them in as an after-edit.