Saturday, 14 July 2012

Weren't we having a drought??

With rainy days being the order of the day for the past week or so, I've managed a few more stints in the shed working on the detail for the cottage. I seem to spend the evenings with my head buried in the volumes of books I have on Shaker furniture and following days dodging rain and putting those references into practice.

In doing so I sometimes find that I get caught up in the finer detail and have to rein in my want for absolute reproduction and instead make a compromise. Some of it is governed by time and some by material.

For instance I'd love the luxury of being able to pull out some of the lovely old Moseley moulding planes I have and cut some detail in the doors by hand. I'd also like to be using beautiful quarter sawn American Cherry for my doors, drawer fronts and face frames, but lets face it, that's a whole lot of Cherry and at the price we pay for Cherry here in Oz, more than I can justify ( or afford! )

But, London Plane ( Sycamore for my U.S. friends ) 'aint such a bad compromise and I have to say it's a very satisfying feeling walking around the back of the shed and picking boards from the rack that you have milled yourself. The face frame is the same hardwood ( Vic. Ash, Tassie Oak - call it what you will ) stock that I am using for the architraves, skirting boards and peg rails for the entire house. I feel they compliment each other quite well actually.

Although I have quite a few boards of Plane, few were thick enough for door frame stock, so the ability to play with the grain was limited. The drawer fronts however allowed for a little more scope, with the exception of the two bottom drawers which just scraped in height wise. In fact the bottom drawer was a little undersize. ( ... I have to admit I did indulge and flatten that board with the hand plane, it was too wide for my thicknesser! ) I'll leave in situ for a day or so and if the gap continues to bother me, then I guess I'll cut up and flatten another board.

Another trip to the wood rack and some of the first Poplar boards I had milled, walked the plank into the shed. I had been told once by someone who considered himself a bit of an expert on the matter, that the Poplar species that grew here in Australia were sub-standard to U.S. Poplar. I've now used both and spent a good deal of money importing the U.S stuff to boot, in order to do so. And I have to say there is not an ounce of difference between the two. As they say about 'experts'..... X is an unknown quantity, and a 'spirt' is a drip under pressure.

Drawer sides for the four drawers ready for marking out and dovetailing. As well as being graduated in size all the sides and backs are also graduated in thickness. Nothing worse than a thick drawer I say. OK, there may be a few things worse, but you know what I mean.......

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