I always want to get a little more done before I show progress pictures. It’s probably the same thing I say when it’s time for dinner or bed – I just want to get a little more done. I resisted tonight. I spent yesterday and today at Richard Grell’s shop for the local SAPFM chapter meeting. It was good to see some others working on projects and with the same passions.
The base is moving along actually. The basic box bottom and sides are simply dovetailed together. I’ve struggled with how to handle the front. If you consider grain direction – which we must – you immediately realize there’s potential for a cross-grain condition. If the grain of the bottom goes left to right and the sides go up and down they are lined up right. But now we add the front which can either be parallel with the sides or the bottom, but not both. The choices are several: make a frame and floating panel (not right for the veneered design); use plywood (commercial not even a consideration but I guess I could make my own); use MDF (uhhhh….NO); or use plain solid wood and let it split if it so chooses. I struggled and decided on the latter in a modified form. The solid wood runs left to right. I laid up the front panel with cross-grain veneer (vertical)before fitting into a groove. I hope that the cross-grain veneer will help balance it out and slow or prevent the panel from seasonal movement. We’ll know if I’m right in a few years.
There’s also a rebate in the back for the back panel board. A fair number of glue blocks are on the inside to keep it together and maybe also keep the wood from moving so much. It will probably be a losing battle but even the 5-figure $ antiques are split in this area so it’s a common problem.
Next it was time to remember how to hammer veneer. I won’t go into specifics about hammering veneer but it’s the traditional method of laying down veneer using hot hide glue and a veneer hammer (more like a squeegee than a hammer really). First I had to flatten the veneer (mahogany burls and crotches) because the wild grain tends to cause the burl to have waves and bumps. It’s just what it does as it dries out. I laid down the sides first and trimmed them up.
Next I had to preps some parts for the front (And go out of town a few times). The center of the face is crotch, with sand shaded fans in the corners. A banding is run around that. I had to make that too – I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would look like – so many options. I came up with a fairly bold walnut and maple alternating pattern with black dyed and birch edging. It should look OK. Finally the large border is cross-banded with mahogany. It doesn’t look pretty yet because its covered in glue and a little veneer tape but you can start to see where it’s heading.
I need to trim up the front veneer, scrape and then I will add a small edging band along the edge. That will be the end of veneering. Then on to making the lower mouldings and the bracket feet. So a way to go.