This is going to be a brief summary of the past week or so of woodworking for me.
Most of the work I did for my first project, a table, was compressed really into about one day. The first step was joining together some pinewood boards together to create the table top. The center was joined with what are called “biscuits” (football shaped compressed wood pieces that when glued expand inside a specially cut hole). The outer boards were joined together using pocket screws, and I gained my first experience using a power drill.
Meanwhile, while we were waiting for the glue to dry, the next step me and the other guy took was to start cutting the legs. The initial lengths for the table legs were cut in a miter saw to make them nice and straight. Normally we would proceed right after that to make the tenons, but pinewood has a nasty habit of crimping up and deforming, so we had to run the edges through a table saw to cut some of it off to straighten it out. This caused the legs to not be perfectly square, and they were marked as such so we could adjust the future mortise’s (holes) accordingly.
The step after this involved creating the actual tenon’s. Two separate jigs (jig = a type of tool) are used to create a tenon on a table saw. One elevates the wood to a certain height while it is laid horizontally and run across the saw. Another jig is used for a similar purpose, but vertically. Since you have to clamp in the wood there, this process is considerably slower. Once this was done it was just back to hand chiseling holes in the table top to serve as the mortises. I actually did quite a fine job at making tight joints, though I ended up ripping up a lot of the wood in making the mortises. The table is nearly complete now, it just requires some wood now to serve as the “stringers” (supports on the legs that prevent wobbling).
The entire process lasted about three hours. I took away several important tips that might be of use to you:
- When using most saws, do not change the direction of the wood while you are cutting. This can cause the wood to jam up the saw and fly right back at you. In general, cut in a straight line.
- If some part of the wood (such as a knot) is getting stuck in the saw, do not force it in. Again, this can fly right back at you.
- When using a table saw, only raise the saw height to barely above the height you need to cut, so as to minimize potential injury. If your saw is protruding high out of the wood, you are doing something wrong.
- In general, don’t run an already made cut back through the saw. If you do, do it slowly.
- Of course, always wear hearing and eye protection.
- Pay attention, of course, always look at the work space when using a saw.
On advice of the guy I am working with, since I have limited space, I went ahead and bought a jigsaw for about 24 dollars. Typically a jigsaw is usually used to make rounded cuts, but it can also be used for more general cutting tasks on wood, especially in a situation like mine where I have limited space. Once I have a workbench and have a project I can do at home, I will probably post some thoughts on using a jigsaw, as well as photos of my future projects.
That closes out this installment of WCR’s Woodworking Journal.