I am still working on the prototype doors for the Krenov-inspired cabinet. I know – when will I get this done? Soon, I hope. Took some time out to fix the slop in the tenoning jig on the table saw; then I was unable to machine square mortises on the rails using the Delta hollow chisel mortising machine. It was one thing after another, and then the weekend arrived.
Weekends are a time to relax and to get the body batteries recharged. I took care of recharging mine this weekend, but maybe not fully.
Something was nagging me, subconsciously and, at times, very conscioulsy. On Friday I was unable to get the stiles perfectly aligned to the rails, using mortise and tenon joinery. Friday night I left the shop after cutting the first set of mortises on the rails, and the tenons on the stiles. A little background: For this cabinet I reversed things – the rails extend all the way to the edges of the doors. And it looks terrible when the edges of the stiles are not perfectly aligned to the edges of the rails, especially since I have designed the stiles to be inset about 0.030″ on the outside of the doors, to provide a shadow line.
Nagging… Something had changed with this machine, and I could not figure out what. Time to step away. Late Friday afternoon is not the time to start fooling around trying to solve this.
- Remove the riser block, and start with the column on the table, as shipped from the factory several years ago.
- Check that the chisels are square to the base. And check that the alignment does not change as the chisel height changes.
- Check that the table is flat.
- Check that the fence is flat, and square to the table.
- Check and double-check all bolts, to make sure nothing moves when plunging the chisel into the workpiece.
I had (just about) exhausted all possibilities, so this afternoon I went to work on THE LIST. The riser block came off, and I replaced the column back on the table. The chisels were perfectly square to the table on all sides. The table was flat. Both sides of the fence were flat. But Edges 1 and 2 were not aligned perfectly! BINGO!!! Sliding the workpiece left to right was smooth; when I was sliding it right to left, the edge of the workpiece “caught” Edge #1 – son of a gun!!! Had something happened to the fence, and now it was not perfectly flat? More importantly, WHAT to do to fix the problem?
Solution: Install a sub-fence that straddles both sides of the fence.
Cutt-off rack to the rescue: I had a piece of red oak the same width as the prototype rails and stiles, so I simply screwed this to the fence. Delta has thoughtfully provided one hole at each end of the fence – or maybe THIS was the reason for the holes, i.e., to allow installation of a sub-fence, to correct misalignment problems? I probably will never know.
I do know one thing: My rails and stiles ARE perfectly aligned now. I don’t have to sweat THE LIST any more. Problem solved. Now, to build the cabinet. But, finish the prototype doors first, to make sure the dimensions look alright in this cabinet. THEN build the real thing. I guess I just prefer to build prototypes, to work out the kinks in the joinery, etc. But, recently, I have had to work out more kinks in my machinery than in anything else.
I promised myself there will be no more kinks this week. I hope I can keep this promise.