Tool of the Week – Callipers

Once you start working on fine joinery, you realize very quickly that success and failure is measured in 1000th’s of an inch.  And how do you make such a measurement?  With a pair of callipers.  While accuracy to this degree may seem unnecessary in woodworking, if you are trying to join two pieces of hard wood (like maple) together and you are more than a 1000th’s off, it’s not going to work.  I found that callipers with a dial on it make it easier to read and it saves you trying to count the little scribed lines.  I bought mine at a surplus tool store, no need for one of the million dollar ones from Starret.

Rosewood Studio, Week 4 – Joinery

We studied various types of wood joinery this week.  All were mechanical joints which are held together by their design, although we did glue them as a final step.  The strength that is achievable through some of these joints is truly amazing.

Joints we covered included: dovetail, half blind dove tail, sliding tapered dovetail, mortise and tenon, through tenon, split wedge tenon, fox tail tenon (demo only), bridle joint, dowel joint, and a few others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.  We also made a small raised panel door, similar to what you would see in kitchen cabinets.  The technique used to cut the joints varied from machines (horizontal mortiser, table saw, tenoning jig, router + jig, bandsaw) as well as hand tools (dovetail saw, chisels, hand planes).  Overall I had a fair bit of success with the joints, although I did manage to glue one part of my panel door on backwards.  It looks fine, but the panel is slightly off centre because of the backwards part.

We also spent some time making a shooting board as well as a bench hook.  The bench hook was nothing fancy, however the shooting board (for planing end grain) was made with a removable 45 degree fence so that I could also shoot mitres.  It added a bit of complexity to the build but we had extra time so decided to do it.

As the week wrapped up I also cut the piece of birds eye maple to be used for the drawer front of my shaker table.  It’s a pretty spectacular piece of wood, can’t wait for next week where I get to build my drawer for it!