Wednesday, 28 May 2008

One of the best planemaking lessons...

... happens at the bench using the tools you’ve made.

I have been working away on the kitchen doors these last few days, and was reminded of why I started making planes in the first place. I have spent several hours taking the final finishing passes on all the 27 door frames. It only took a few minutes of planing for me to forget about the plane as an object and focus on the plane as a working tool. I stopped thinking about the infill wood, the choice of sidewall material, the stainless steel lever cap. All I cared about was the quality of the shaving, the comfort of the handle, the balance point of the plane and where I had placed the candle butt to wax the sole. For a few blissful hours - I felt like a furniture maker.

I have been collecting quarter sawn wood for years - and it really paid off for the kitchen. All the door frames are QS walnut. In a few cases, I had entire boards that were quarter sawn - but I also dipped into my stash of really wide walnut planks to get the quarter sawn wood from the edges. It worked out perfectly because the planks were wide enough to get two 2" wide frames off each edge and still have enough material in the middle to get the single board panels I wanted.

Most of the panels were resawn from 5/4 stock to yield two 7/16" thick panels. I wanted to keep the weight down as much as possible, plus this also allowed me to bookmatch all the panels. There is a large floor to ceiling pantry where I used 5/8" thick panels. I left them a little thicker so I could put a raised panel on the inside as well.

Below are two shots of all the freshly planed frames before assembly.

To really geek out for a minute - here are some technical specs. I re-honed the blade in the A5ss 6 times without going to the grinding wheel to hollow grind.

The above photo is an attempt to show the surface reflection of the last rail I planed (click on it to enlarge). This is the type of surface on all the frames. On average, it took two sets of two overlapping passes to remove all the jointer and thickness planer marks.

The mortises were cut with a bench top hollow chisel mortiser. With over 100 mortises - this felt like an appropriate tool. The haunched tenons are 1-1/2" long and were cut on the table saw using a dado set. Again - 100+ tenons... .

I pre-finished all the raised panels. There is nothing worse than that unfinished line and ridge of dried finish that appears in the dead of winter when the panels shrink.

I am hoping to assemble all the doors over the weekend and start fitting them. Once they are fit, I can apply the finish to the frames.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well nobody can accuse you of being a "one trick pony", you are obviously skilled in more than the discipline of plane making. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product(s)and thenyou can come to my house and help me re-do my kitchen!
Great work as always.


29 May 2008 at 10:13  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Michael,

I am hoping to have the kitchen completed before the 4th anniversary of starting it:) Jill is the most patient person in the world for putting up with my speed.


29 May 2008 at 10:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Konrad,

I appreciate the patience it takes to accomplish milling these doors, the wood all comes together at just the right time. I can not wait to see the final assembly.

take care,
Jim Shaver

29 May 2008 at 20:29  
Blogger Jon Fiant said...

It's wonderful to have such a patient wife! I have one of them too! But I can also add that she is going to have one of the finest kitchens around. This is my first blog entry ever, and I appreciate you "letting us into your world" so to speak. Amazing work in everthing you do! Thanks for sharing.

29 May 2008 at 20:30  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks. I have 15 doors hung now - what a transformation! There are 8 pieces of beveled glass being made so it will be a while yet before it is all done. Not to mention swaping the Robertson pulls for the real ones:)


29 May 2008 at 21:34  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jon,

Thanks for the kind comments - and glad to see you jumping into the blog. We are both lucky to have patient spouses. I don't think any of this would have happened if not for her support.

Best wishes,

29 May 2008 at 21:42  
Blogger Norman Pirollo said...

Great work Konrad.

I enjoy your posts.

Question, how did you manage to keep all the shavings on the bench, mine tend to fall to the floor :)

Just kidding,

30 May 2008 at 09:38  
Blogger Konrad said...

Norm... 12 years directing photoshoots will do that to a guy:)


30 May 2008 at 10:50  
Blogger Dorje said...

You described your methods of mortise making and tenon it safe to assume you ploughed the grooves and cut the rabbets on the panels on the table saw too, or did you use handwork there?

These door parts are looking great. You're certainly looking like a furniture maker through the lense I'm looking through!


31 May 2008 at 00:07  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jon Fiant,

I have received both your emails and for some reason my responses are bouncing back. Sorry to use this obscure area to get back to you - but I don't know how else to do it. I would be happy to call to give you some material specs and help with your infill project.


4 June 2008 at 22:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How goes the cabinets? Curious how far you have come since this post.

They look great so far.

2 July 2008 at 14:56  

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