Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Shinto temple, er, table.

The time has come,  the Walrus said, to make a table to support my grinders. I have two of them. I have far too much space in my hallway for a computer. It is currently held up by a door on sawhorses. Far too wide. So I decided to shorten it up and stick in a table wide enough to hold my wet and dry grinders. I had originally decided to use power tools on it. And of course I am using other people's offcuts, i.e. scrap. This means so-called "2x4 lumber." A few moments with a ruler will convice you that modern 2x4 are nowhere near that dimension. This is a way the lumber companies can get a little more lumber out of a log, at your expense. The modern 2x4 is something like 39mm x 88 mm give or take a whole millimeter. Convert it yourself if you want; I don't use RGU. But its not even a 2:1 aspect ratio.

Now my bandsaw will not take the 88mm width -- it is 3" or about  77mm. In retrospect there is a way around this; I could have "housed"  the joints -- but at that point I decided to build this thing by hand tools only. I am glad I did. I learned a great deal. Not the least, how to operate a Japanese ripsaw correctly. I am grateful to Roy Underhill on for some very useful tips. But I can now rip to within a half-millimiter over a 90 mm length. I could not do that when I started this project. Unfortunately I did not document it. I thought it was going to be a one-morning knockout project. I will have to do a future post on how to do these joints, this is really timber framing and a useful art to acquire. This is a lot like building a Shinto Temple. This is an art which requires master carpenters. No master, I, but at least I  learned something. I cut whole thing together piece by piece. When all was done I put it together. And it fit together.

Layout is 90% of the problem in timber framing. For this you need a very acccurate pencil. The Japanese use a bamboo brush, or sumisashi. I found out that a "Sharpie" thin marker works very well indeed, as long as you hold it properly against the square.The tip of the Sharpie is less than 1 mm wide.

I am really glad I did this the hard way, and I hope to do a post on how to cut these particular joints in the future -- since I did not document this project. Today I pegged these joints; hopefully I'll cover that in the future.

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