Monthly Archives: September 2013

Time flies . . .

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a been over a month since I’ve posted.  I’ve been very busy with work and had little time in the shop.

After the near catastrophe with the glue up of the gate, I took a week or so off to plan how to recover from the setback.  There were two issues that I needed to figure out how to solve:

  1. What type of lumber to use to remake the board that broke, and
  2. How to layout square ends to on this 2″ x 12″ board.

The first issue was fairly easy to solve.  I quickly decided to use Southern Yellow Pine for this component.  SPY is heavier than I would have liked to use, but the strength of the lumber is more than adequate.

The issue of how to layout the square ends was more of an issue.  A little background may be useful here.  About a year ago, I bought a 12″ square at Woodcraft.  The problem is that the square isn’t really square (the angle is slightly less than 90°).  I don’t know if this was because of a manufacturing defect, or because of the square falling off my workbench (either reason could be a cause).  The square also wouldn’t span a 2″ x 12″ (the blade of the square is 12″, but the reference leg of the square takes up about 2″ if that).

To solve the layout problem, I decided to make an English layout square ala Chris Schwartz.  This project ended up taking a couple of weeks to finish, because I had to be out of town for work work for the better part of two weeks (it should be a weekend project at most).  Here is a photo of the square right after I put a second coat of Danish Oil on it.

English Layout Square

English Layout Square

I decided to make my square out of cherry.  The two legs are around 18″ long.  I don’t really know the exact number because I based the length on the the distance from the crease of my elbow to the tip of my middle finger (I prefer not to use standard measurements if I can help it; a preference made much stronger by by George Walker and Jim Tolpin in “By Hand and Eye“).  The thickness of the square is a little over 5/16”.

I am so glad that I decided to make this square.  With it, laying out the ends of the board was a piece of cake.  Last weekend (labor-day weekend in the U.S.) I was able to remake the broken component of the gate finished the final assembly.

Dry fit.

Finished gate before paint.

On Sunday, I was able to finish painting.  All that needs to be done now is to take it to our friends house and hang it.

Finished gate - painted

Finished gate – painted

My wonderful wife, Amy, has been working on getting our basement cleaned up and ready to start the remodel we’ve been planning for about a year.  The reason for the remodel is mostly to provide me dedicated (although small) shop space.  Currently, my shop space is right in the living area of our basement.  I don’t expect to get much woodworking done until the remodel is finished, but I may make a few small shop projects.  I’ll post updates about the remodel and any projects as they happen.

Until next time . . .