Sunday 7 July 2013

Screen doors & panel planes

It all started with this - the ‘error’ that is. The above photo is a test piece of the frame for the storm window. Looks harmless I know - but it represents a very early mistake I made which continued to bite me in the posterior over and over again as this project wore on. 

I had purchased some really nice 8/4 quarter sawn white oak about a year ago. They were all 12' long and were all from the same tree - perfect for a project like this. I needed 1-9/16"thick material as dictated by the existing door frame... seemed like an awful waste to remove so much material. I also wanted to add thermal glass panels to the side storms and the 3 above the door - we lose a fair amount of heat through the original single panes so a thermal unit seemed like the right idea. The company that was making them reccommeded a 5/8" thick unit at a minimum - 1/8" tempered glass on each side and Argon between. In what felt like a stroke of genius at the time, I figured I could reduce the amount of waste in the stock if I integrated the molding which would allow me to increase the overall height giving me a bit more room for the thermal pane. I made the test piece and was feeling pretty proud of myself - saved a bit of wood from the cyclone and eliminated the step of having to apply (and make) a separate molding. 

In the words of Lucas - epic blunder.

This early decision created so much additional work - it is embarrassing. I underestimated the additional time fitting each mitred corner compounded by the fact that the tenons were not the same thickness as the rebates and dados for the thermal panes.

There are 2 frames that fit into the screen door - one that holds screen and the other that will hold the thermal glass. These 2 frames are removable - which is nice... but it meant a pile more additional work cutting all the mitres - and white oak is not known for its ‘squish factor’. 


I also decided to use Ebony drawbore pegs for the screen door. The tenons are live tenons and are about 3" long so there was lots of room for pegs. There are 2 different sizes of pegs for the screen door - 3/8" and 1/4" square - and of course I had to arrange them in a way that each one was in a unique position. I  used a single 1/4" square peg for the side and upper storms.

(the Ebony peg layout)

Here is a shot of the edge of one of the side storms. You can see the twin tenons for the center rail and the gaps to allow for expansion and contraction.  

The pegs were all left 1/16" proud of the surface. I taped everything off and used a chisel and then a padded piece of sandpaper to dome them over. 

(testing the layout for the raised panels) 

The raised panel for the side storms is a little unconventional - the shoulder is not perpendicular to the field - it is angled to match the molding. I ended up cutting a square shoulder and used a shoulder plane to make the angle.


(the fully assembled side storm ready for finish)


Here are a few shots of the storms and screen door in place. I am still waiting for the glass units to be completed and I will make the screen frames at the same time.

In hindsight - everything worked out very well and we are pleased with how things turned out. It is amazing to me how this one stupid choice to reduce waste added so much extra effort and work - yet another learning experience of what not to do! These blunders are painful at the time, but I really do believe they are an important part of the learning process. 

I have also been busy working on several planes - two traditional panel planes. This first one is 18-1/2" long, infilled with Desert Ironwood and has a bed angle of 55 degrees. There was some re-design required to allow for the higher bed angle, but overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out. Here are a few photos. 

The top of the handle has the most amazing bit of color in it. In the sunlight - it looks like it is on fire. 

The second plane is a 14-3/4" long, A1 panel plane infilled with Rosewood. It was a lot of fun to work on this plane - it has been some time since building a more traditional panel plane.


It was also great to work with such fine timber.

A little bit of curl in the top of the handle - a rare find in Rosewood.

This project is coming along too... slowly - but coming along. Dare I say I hope to have them done for my birthday at the end of October? Did I just jinx it by saying it? I guess I will find out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Crap!

You're making a guitar!

Left handed?

7 July 2013 at 13:57  
Blogger Richard Wile said...

I will be attending your first gig with that Les Paul you know?

7 July 2013 at 19:33  
Blogger Tim Raleigh said...

Storm doors look great. Nice addition. Should help keep the cold out.

10 July 2013 at 10:59  
Blogger Chris Bame said...

Awesome Planemaker, accomplished woodworker, and you can play guitar? ...that you build yourself.
Now I'm really impressed

15 July 2013 at 20:32  
Blogger Unknown said...

What finish did you use on the doors & sidelites? The color on the white oak looks great, panel detail and ebony plug add nice design details. Do you get direct sunlight exposure - do you anticipate having to touch up the finish every season or so?

18 July 2013 at 16:17  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Ric,

yeah - working on 2 left-handed guitars. It has been a busy summer - all good, but just getting back into the swing of things... and the blog.


25 August 2013 at 20:32  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Richard,

you are on. I think Ironman is a good first song... Lucas played it for months:)


25 August 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Chris,

Part of the reason for making the guitars is so I can learn to play. Lessons are all lined up... just gotta finish the instruments now.


25 August 2013 at 20:34  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Nathan,

I though a lot about the finish. The door faces north with a 12' deep front porch so there is very good sun and weather protection. I used a blend of varnish and oil - P&L 38 and about 1/6 double boiled linseed oil thinned with a bit of mineral spirits. I hope I don't need to touch it up too often - time will tell though.


25 August 2013 at 20:36  

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