Friday, February 27, 2009

Played around in the shop last night

I got a rare, mid-week chance to get in the shop. I've been obsessed with this idea of late for a system of tool holders for my walls. Right now I've got my chisels sitting on a shelf in the wall cabinet I got from my brother-in-law. That is way less-than-ideal. My idea, which I was starting to test out last night, is to make a basic frame that will hang on the wall with french cleats. Attached to this frame will be more french cleats in regular rows down the length of the frame. I could then use these cleats to hang various configurations and sizes of tool holders that would sit on one or more of the cleats depending on how long they were. I could create anything from chisel racks to saw holders.

What I'm shooting for is flexibility in design, and the ability to reconfigure when I need to. I got the idea from a couple of places. I remember seeing a store shelving system years ago where they put in a wall of slotted wooden panels. They used metal pegs of varying lengths to hang displays or shelves from. It looked nice and was very flexible. I also saw a photo from a recent issue of Dwell that showed the interior of some woodworking shop and the wall of hand tools used by this person. A friend gave it to me, so I don't know the details of whose shop it was etc. They used a system of furring strips with horizontal tool holders screwed to these strips running vertically down the wall. It looked cool and easy to access the tools, but anytime you'd want to change things you'd be unscrewing and screwing in these horizontal holders.

So, yesterday afternoon I stopped by a local building supply place and picked up some 1x4 southern yellow pine. I found some nice pieces where the grain ran almost straight up and down between the two faces. Nice and stable and not cupped or warped at all.

Last evening was spent cutting to size, and then working to make the M&T joints for the frame. This is 3/4" stuff and so the joint turns into a wide and thin tenon. I was going to cut them as through tenons but I realized my tenon saw is not quite large enough to cut a 3.75" tenon cheek. I need a bigger tenon saw. :-) I ended up making the tenon smaller, not full depth, so I could cut it with my tenon saw.

I also tried cutting this mortise by hand. I still need work on this skill. I can get it to a certain depth, not quite half-way through, and then can't seem to figure out how to get more depth. Perhaps I get impatient, but most likely I just need more practice. I think I'm going to have to go with drilling the mortises with my brace and bit like I did when I made all the same-sized mortises for my tv table.

It was fun getting back in the shop, and I felt I needed this little refresher since I'm heading over to Roy's new school for a class this Sunday, and M&T joints in on the curriculum! It's also good to experiment to figure out if this is really the way I want to connect the frames together, or if perhaps a half-lap will be better. I still have some playing around to do. Yipee!

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