A Time for Fixes

With a three-day Bank Holiday weekend already underway, I’m hoping to have this desk very close to completion by Monday night. I made it back in to the workshop yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours, after two-days of thought and reflection. As it turned out, un-jamming the belt sander wasn’t too difficult. I started by trying to remove the outer casing, before realising that it wasn’t going to budge. Turning it over again, I realised that you can remove a black plate from one side that exposes the rollers. Then, the front roller just slides out (don’t lose the spring!) and everything was freed with absolute ease.

By the way, yes, ‘un-jamming’ is in fact the technical term for this! 🙂

Rather than going straight back in to those frame I messed up last time, I decided I would start this session by trimming the top to length using my circular saw. I set the board up on a quad of Bench Cookies and, using a straight edge set to the correct offset (yes, one of those ‘tapering’ frames!), I made each cut.

Masking tape was used to reduce breakout (chipout) on the upper surface, due to the direction of the blade’s rotation on these saws and, it worked very well. I was using a 40t blade from Summit Saws which left a very clean cut.

I really must make myself a proper cross-cutting jig for narrow (450mm) widths of board like this. I did find the blade (or saw) wanting to pull away from the straight edge but, I guess this could be down to my technique and lack of practice. I’ve had the same thing with my larger Hitachi saw (although, buying a new blade seemed to fix that).

Despite my best efforts and, using my most accurate (6in engineer’s) square to set the guide in place, my top was measuring at 5mm longer than the desired 860mm, but only along the one edge. Both edges were ‘square’ to the other edge, which I used as a reference so, I guess that my £5-square isn’t quite perfect. I should really look in to making a dead-accurate wooden one, some day…

So, in order to compensate for this, I stood the board up in my vice and shot the end-grain carefully using my no.5 Jack plane and a series of stopped shavings, until it measured 860mm along both edges. You can just see the position of a home-made bench dog in this photo, fitted in to the deep bottom rail of my bench.

I wanted to radius and round-off the two front corners for comfort and found that a tub of ProtecTool Wax gave me what I was looking for.

To help keep the otherwise-unsupported top flat and to reduce the risk of cupping, I have these 16mm thick cleats, on to which I bevelled the front ends at a 15° angle. Okay so, they’re not all that thick and they may not help all that much. They may help to give the top a ‘thicker’ appearance, from certain angles.

I also drilled these cleats with a series of elongated, countersunk holes; cut very carefully on my pillar drill, using a slow and steady feed rate. They’ll allow for expansion and contraction.

After fixing the cleats to the underside (I’ve cut those shorter ones for the ‘back’ portion of the top, which is already fixed to two legs so, I’m not sure if I’ll actually use them), I returned my attention to those two frames…

It was 20.30 by the time I left the workshop, after a second brief stint yesterday. My mood wasn’t good! I started making cut-outs along the bottom edge which would allow them to sit comfortably on uneven floors but, after making the second cut, I realised I’d actually cut in to the top edge on one of the frames! This is an easy fix though; I’ll just cut both ends of both frames to match. With the cleats in position, the cut-outs on top shouldn’t be visible anyway.

If you look really close, you’ll see that, on the left-hand frame, I fixed the hinge to the wrong edge as well! All I should need to do though, is to turn it around and re-attach it to the same edge, which should also hide the screw holes. If not, I should only have to offset it by 5mm or so. I can live with having the other face of the frame on show. It’s only a ‘prototype’ desk, after all.

This weekend, although I’m busy tomorrow, I aim to get everything sanded ready for finishing. I still need to apply coats of knotting before hand and, I do need to check that it all hinges , swings and fits together nicely. It might take a few days before the next update but, I hope that this next one will be the last on this project. 🙂

Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “A Time for Fixes

  1. It’s just a thought but sometimes mistakes are a blessing in disguise. Cutting the top edge of the frame looked very effective and could prove to serve a very useful purpose. The curve could allow hand access and could be used as a means of opening and closing the frames which will keep the edges clean and free from handles.


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