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Chapter 2. Active Deskchop: > The Build - Pg. 37

MAKE: PROJECTS Eccentric Cubicle to accurately set up your tools and use them to spec. Do not take an angle for granted. Check your work. Put it together properly. The right bits in the right spot. Check your angles. Use clamps. 6. Know when you're right. Errors happen. Check your work against the drawing, check the drawing against common sense. Go with the right decision. 7. Plan ahead. Understand the sequence of events. Optimize it. This makes #8 easier. 8. Be patient. With the right attitude, it's all just measuring, cutting, and gluing. Just like kindergarten. Now hit the shop and build a guillotine. Figure 02.02: Tablesaw, featherboard and white maple. (Coming soon: sawdust.) Leave your blade guard and kerf splitter in place, first, remember? The Build We'll work through this one subassembly at a time, starting with the main trestle structure. I'm using maple that I milled out of a shipping pallette. "Skid wood" is a time-honored material source for improvisational fabrication. The base-level quality has gone downhill in recent years, but if you pay attention, you can recover a lot of good quality local hardwood lumber from skids you pull out of dumpsters. Notice the term "local hardwood." It's amazing what they make skids out of in other countries. Besides the ubiquitous maple, 2 I've had oak, birch, some tropical variant of walnut, and Brazilian cherrywood (aka Jabota) come through the shop in the past six months -- well worth the time and effort spent in disassembly, nail pulling, and milling. If you're using premilled stock, you lucky devil, this is the fun you're missing. If you buy planked lumber, say, 1" x 5" white maple, at a retail outlet, the first thing you'll notice is that it's not actually 1" x 5". That's right: the guy at the lumberyard lied to you. Or maybe the idiot at the mill that sawed it couldn't use a tape measure. Either way, you got screwed, and dammit, you're gonna sue! No, not really. The wood was 1" x 5" when they milled the plank green out of a recently-deceased-and-still-drippin'- 2 As a citizen of the Great White North, I am legally mandated to cite recognized Canadian Cultural Identity Icons at intervals proscribed by the Ministry of Trade, Culture, and Northern Affairs. Coming up this hour: Back Bacon, Hockey, and the drummer from Rush. with-sap maple tree. By the time that it kiln-dries down to 6­12% water content, it's shrunk a tad. There are different standard dimensions (both nominal and actual) for hard and soft woods, which adds further confusion, and the residual moisture content (and shrinkage/expansion factor from nominal) in the chunk of wood you're holding in your hand is directly related to the local environmental conditions. Cutting to the chase, the moral of the story is "measure twice, cut once, and your chunk of wood is likely 4 3 / 4 " x 7 / 8 " x 43 1 / 2 " long with neither edge being particularly well dressed." If you're using a table saw, I assume you've done an accurate setup on it for blade and fence angle, fence gauge accuracy, and miter gauge accuracy. If you haven't done that yet, go do it now. But first, let's talk about glue. You've got some, and you're gonna use it. You specifically acquired wood glue -- real carpenters' wood glue. Not "glue-all," not rubber cement, not "Kray-Z Gloo," not mucilage, not paste. Not anything that is not specifically wood glue. Got it? Now take some time to learn about it. Test the glue on scraps of your stock. Try different quantities of glue and different grain orientations, and clamp them up properly. When you're tightening the clamps, watch to see if the joint "skates" out of alignment on the glue as it disperses. Some glues are better than others at avoiding this, and old glue that's thickened a bit from 26