Thursday, February 27, 2014

Magic Stick

A lot of our box type joinery is made using a doweling jig. Because we make the jig out of a piece of hardwood lying in our scrap piles, it seems like they're nothing special. But they really are.  In my coffee table, I have a row of five drawers that need six dividers, square and parallel.  Since the drawers will be running through both sides of the drawer box, I can't slip the dividers in from the back using splines.  Dowels are my only choice.  Thanks Jim Budlong for that idea!

When I first made the necessary 208 holes and they lined up perfectly top to bottom, along with being square, I couldn't help but be amazed at how easily that little stick can do the job.  As a former teacher, I could never get my students to line up so perfectly!  And my apologies to boring every person who passed my bench that day.  I was so ecstatic, I kept telling anyone I could snag "I got square!"

The next day my bubble was burst, as it naturally is in this work, when I had to put all the dowels in and check for square and parallel.  Not so square anymore and the sides were definitely not parallel.  That was a very quiet day.  Most of my time was spent sliding a piece of plywood back and forth through the bottom of the drawer box, checking for wobble and tightness, planing carefully where it needed.

Toward the end of the day, it was looking futile and I was back to my whiny old self thinking of ways to get around this parallel business, wanting to change up the design.  But then Daniel Zenefski came by, a second year student.  His offering:  stick to the plan of parallel drawers because "we do Bad Ass work here".

Daniel Zenefski

Daniel's 1st year projects: side board and box

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