Trestle Table Leg Mortice

My flight back on Friday ended up being delayed 2 hours so I got home after midnight.  As a result, Saturday was a bit of a wash woodworking wise but progress was made on Sunday.

For cutting the tenons on the verticle components, my Moxon vise raises the height just enough to make the cross cutting easier. 
One leg assembly is ready for final fitting and smoothing (the bridle joint for the cross piece will wait until smithing is done).  The main joint is complete for the second assembly but the half lap socket still needs to be cut.

Harvey Ellis Saw Till – Part 7 – Assembly Cont.

It was a productive weekend despite not getting many hours in the shop. Because I am using cheap pine dimensional pine from the hardware store, I decided to use the back panels to ensure that each of the horizontal pieces (the top, bottom, and divider) would stay flat by gluing one back panel to each horizontal to act a brace. Since each panel is only glued to one horizontal piece there should be no wood movement issues and this is a long grain to long grain glue joint which should hold well.


While the bottom panel dried, it was time to get the divider ready for glue up. I set me marking gauge to 1/8th of an inch and marked the sides and end of each through tenon;then I used my sharpest chisel to bevel each edge to the lines; and used a back saw to split each tenon for the wedges.

IMG_0611  IMG_0613 IMG_0614

Once the divider was clamped into place I hammed in the wedges (pre-made pine shims from the hardware store).


Once the glue had set up I removed the clamps, sawed of the excess wedge, and paired down the ends with a sharp chisel. The dovetail pins were supposed to get the same bevel treatment but I realized too late that I forgot to add an additional 1/8th of an inch to their length when I cut them.

IMG_0618 IMG_0619

Next I ripped and planned the material for the vertical pieces of the back and added grooves down each long edge using the same plow plan settings as the back panels. I think I am starting to get better at planning square and flat surfaces on smaller parts.

IMG_0616 IMG_0617

Originally I planned to use stub tenons which would sit in the same groove as the panel but I decided to use a mortise for the center one to keep it from moving around. I placed both of the upper back panels together and marked the center point and the ends of my mortise, I decided to go with a 3/4 inch mortise/tenon. I then used my ¼ inch mortise chisel to chop out both mortises in line with the groove and used by back-saw to cut the tenon. A bit of pairing with a chisel resulted in a pretty decent fit, though for the other end I will use the router plane to make sure tenon is parallel with the faces.

IMG_0621 IMG_0622 IMG_0625 IMG_0626

I still need to cut the tenon on the other side and then do the same with the other two vertical dividers.  I really should cut mortises and tenons for the other two as well but unfortunately I don’t think they are quite long enough so doing so would mean making new pieces.

Harvey Ellis Saw Till – Part 6 – Assembly Begins

Last night I started the assembly process of the saw till so the primary focus was on getting the joinery tight on the bottom half of the case. After some test fitting I identified some dovetails and through tenons that did not close fully and that the back panel in the drawer compartment was not sitting square with the sides. First I squared up the tenons on the back panel and undercut the shoulders slightly with my shoulder plane until I got a tight fit.


Next it was time to tackle the dovetails and through tenons. A quick diagnosis with a square showed that a few areas had not been undercut properly. A small sharp chisel made quick work of this and solved the problem.

Notice the middle is higher than the edge.
Notice the middle is higher than the edge.
Both edges are the high points.
Both edges are the high points.

Because the through tenons are going to stand proud of the sides, I needed to plane the sides to their final finish. I sharpened up the blade in my #4 (it’s amazing how long a PMV-11 blade will hold a usable edge but finish planning pine needs a sharp blade) and after a couple of test cuts realized that my sole was not quite flat any more. I used my diamond plates to flatten it up a bit for now but I probably need to spend and day flattening my soles.


Nice fluffy shavings
Nice fluffy shavings

Next it was time to make a glue block by chopping out space for the pins (I saw this on the Woodwright shop), it is important to bevel the edges of the cut out to avoid leaving hard imprint edges on the sides.


A bit of liquid hide glue and I called it a night.

Nice and tight.
Nice and tight.
As I mentioned, I need more clamps.
As I mentioned, I need more clamps.

Harvey Ellis saw till part 4 – Through Tenons Cont.

After chopping out the remaining five mortises it was time for the through tenons. I clamped the divider in place using the back panel to ensure that the grooves were lined up and marked the mortises using a mechanical pencil. These lines were then transferred down the faced using a tri-square.

IMG_0565 IMG_0566

Next it was into the Moxon Vise where the tenons were cut using a back saw and the waste was hogged out with a coping saw. Because I made the Moxon Vise so large I was then able to turn the divider on its side and cut out the end waste.


Then it’s time for the chisels to pare down to the line, it just so happened that the gap between the tenons was exactly the same width as Big Bertha (which is the name I have given my vintage two inch chisel) so I used it two chop the main base line before undercutting with some smaller chisels. I purposely made the mortises slightly smaller than the thickness of the divider and lined up the bottom of the divider with the bottom of the mortise, this meant I needed to slightly shave down the top of each tenon. This means there is a bit more margin for error as any gaps would not be visible from inside the saw till.

IMG_0568 IMG_0569

For the final fitting of the tenons, I used a dovetail trick from Christian Becksvoort and marked the inside of the mortise with pencil lead before test fitting. Then after pulling the tenon out, any places that rub have a black mark that you then shave off with a chisel, file, or float. Repeated test fittings result in a tight fit (though you can still screw up).


The first set came out the best, but overall I am happy with the results. This pine is a bit brittle and I found that stropping the chisel after each mortise helped quite a bit and I re-honed between each set. This is just pine so this would probably not be necessary if I had a nicer set of chisels.

Side One
Side Two
Side Two

Harvey Ellis saw till part 4 – through tenons

This is my first post from the mobile app so apologies for any errors.   Last night I started cutting the through tenons for the divider between the drawer and the saw till.  First I placed the two sides together and marked the top and bottom of the divider on both front edges at once; then I scribed the top and bottom edges on both in the inside and outside faces using a marking knife and a combination square.  Then I marked the  edges of the mortise using a wheel cutting gauge from both the front and back edge, ensuring everything was centered.

Next I drilled out the center of each mortice with a half inch auger bit, starting on the outside face until the screw just barely broke through (10 full revolutions for me).

Then flip the board over and finish the holes from the other side to avoid blowout.


Then I chopped halfway through the mortice then flipped it over and finished the other side.  
Not bad, just five more to go.