Case Glue-up Difficulties

You will notice that even though I have more clamps I still need more.

Just once I would like a large glue-up to go off without a hitch.

Last night I glued the top and back panel into place and it was a mess.  After a dry fitting that went together fine I took everything apart, made some clamping blocks, and laid out the readjusted clamps on my bench.  Then I brushed liquid hide glue on each piece and assembled the back and slid it into place (by badly cut dovetails in this corner as what allowed me to assemble it in this manner).  I start hammering and clamping joints closed and realize that top piece of the back panel wont seat with the side (right by the red WoodPecker angle piece).  Fist I try a mallet, no luck, then I try to clamp it which resulted in damage to the tongue (and cursing, thank goodness my son was asleep).

I finally give-up and take the whole assembly apart (score one for the long open time of liquid hide glue) and trip down the Douglas fir panel with a hand plane and the joint goes together with no problem.

Okay, add a bit more glue and put it all back together; wont go together again in the same spot.  At this point, I am livid and decide this joint is going together even if it breaks something.  I find a scrap piece with a groove in it that matched the tongue and release ever clamp except the one right over the joint and I crank it down, HARD.  It finally goes together, thank goodness, and I tighten every clamp down.  The back corner is a bit out of alignment but the front edge is square so I can live with that.

Sharpening a rip saw

For once, I blamed the tool and was actually right.  Those of you who read my resawing post saw the mess I made using a modern disposable saw.  As a result, on Saturday I decided to sharpen my Disston D8 rip saw.

I acquired this saw from the same collector I bought Big Bertha from and according to the Disstonian Institute medallion directory it was manufactured between 1895 and 1917 meaning it is likely around the same age as our house.  It has around 5.5 TPI and is dull as a hammer but the previous owner had removed the visible rust.


I made my Moxon vise large enough to hold a full size saw plate (though the leather is about 2 inches short) so I removed the handle and placed it in the vise and followed the sharpening  method described in the Heritage School of Woodworking video.

After two rounds of jointing and shaping I checked the tooth set (it was more than I needed) and then did a final sharpening pass with my 7 slim taper file.  A few passes with a medium and fine rust eraser removed the rust and grime than had been hidden under the handle.

The handle was sanded with 220 and 320 then was wet sanded with BLO and 400 grit paper.  I left a bit of the old patina and the BLO showed a bit of curly Apple which was a nice surprise.  Two coats of spray shellac and a coat of wax left a nice surface.  The brass was sanded, buffed with steel wool and waxed.

still need to remove the layout fluid but looks pretty nice

If you will remember, after an hour with the disposable saw I had made very little progress resawing the board and the progress I did make was a mess.  After my son went to bed I waxed the handle, cleaned the brass, reassembled the and finished splitting the board.  All told I was done in hour, so it was the tool that made the difference.  It saw amazingly easy to follow my marked lines and the saw actually stay within the defined saw kerfs, something the modern saw refused to do (I suspect it is due to the hybrid teeth and large set).

The Results were not to shabby though the ends that were started with the new saw were a mangled mess, luckily I was able to cut most of the bad parts off and smooth up the remaining marks with my number 6.

Harvey Ellis Saw Till – Part 9 – Resawing

With the lumber rack finally complete I was able to focus on the saw till again. The two ready back panels were cut down to size and then received a rabbit (rebate) around the edges using my Stanley 45 and Veritas medium shoulder plane. A quick test fit showed that things went together well though I may need to trim the vertical dividers a bit.

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Next it was time to resaw another piece of the Douglas fir to make the remaining back panels. I marked out where I wanted the saw kerf to go and started the end grain cuts with the board vertical before moving to the saw horse to cut the side kerfs. You will notice I am using a the same modern disposable saw that I used for the strand board; my rip saw was very dull when I purchased it and I have never sharped a saw before so I figured I would try with the Husky. I have never resawn by hand before but I think this may have been a mistake as the cutting was very slow and it kept jumping the kerf I had made (hard to tell if this is just a lack of skill or the set of the saw). After an hour my hands were sick of the handle and my body was worn out; I had made it through less than 20% of the board.

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My next post will likely be related to sharpening a rip saw.

Lumber Rack – Finished

The contractors took over most of the garage (they found a rotten subfloor and joists in the bathroom when they ripped up the floor; the joys of 100 year old houses) so I didn’t get much work done during the week but I spent Saturday finally finishing up the lumber rack.  I used some strand board that was left over from an old crate (my pack rat tendencies paid off once again) and since it was cheap processed material I picked up a cheap modern disposable saw and cut it into strips.     While cutting out the pieces I noticed this odd bump in the strand board which I decided to cut around since it looked like a screw inside the board (bulge looked the same on each side) but when when I split it open there was nothing. Using some leftover drywall screws as clamps I glued the strand board to the 2×4 pieces.   In order to make sure the braces are all the same height I used a 6 foot pipe and some clamps.  It’s not clear but each of these angle up a few degrees, hopefully this will keep the boards in place during minor quakes.   My new Douglas fir got some stickers while it acclimatizes to my shop.  The garage looks a lot less cluttered.

A trip to the sawmill

Today I made a trip out to the east bay and visited the Green Waste Recycle Yard which is a green waste disposal site that also operates a small scale saw mill.  They take trees that are removed for a variety of reasons and create lumber.

I contacted them a couple of weeks ago to see if they had and pine or fir and as luck would have it they just had a large order for flat saw Douglas fir floor planks.  I offered to buy the unwanted quatersawn boards and not I have 60 board feet of kiln dried SVG Douglas fir for future projects.

Now I need to build a lumber rack.

Harvey Ellis Saw Till – Part 8 – The Back cont.

Between a sick kid and the sick parents that followed, last night was the first shop time in quite a while.


In addition to finishing the repair to the tenon that ended up to thin, I cut the two remaining tenons for the back dividers and made sure everything matched in size. I used a chisel to create a saw wall at the shoulder and I was amazed how well it worked. I also finally realized I am a moron since I have been battling with clamps to saw the tenon cheeks when I have a perfectly good Moxon vise. If you are a hand tool person and you don’t have a Moxon vise buy or build one, they are awesome.

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Rather than cutting these tenons down to tiny stubs I decided to chop two more mortises in the upper back panel which will also help to keep things in place. After a test fitting and some minor adjustments it was time to glue the middle divider to its corresponding back panel. Tonight the top of the carcass will get the same treatment.

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