Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Aurora Nightstand - Gluing Up the Shelf and Top

I guess I've always used sheet goods in the past when I needed a wide board, because other than the tongue and groove panels for these rustic cabinets, I don't ever remember edge gluing a bunch of boards together.  Likewise, I can't say I've ever tried to flatten a board that's wider than my planer.  So making the shelf and the top for the nightstand was a bit of a minor adventure for me.

Gluing up the panels was easy enough.  I had a big thick chunk of particle board that provided a good reference surface for the glue up.  I loosely clamped the boards to the particle board to keep them aligned and flat.  then used a few bar clamps to close up the joints.  That worked great.  Just like in the movies.

Flattening the panels turned out to be more of a good news, bad news story.  To wit:

Good News: I had a shiny new Veritas low-angle jack plane in the drawer that I'm sure I heard calling, "Use me, use me!  I can do it.  I know I can."

Bad News: The very first swipe of the shiny new Veritas low-angle jack plane tore a big chunk out of the edge of the shelf panel.  Actually, I sort of expected this.  The blade that came with the plane is ground at 25 degrees, which is supposed to be more suited for end grain work and well behaved wood.  But this mahogany has all kinds of swirly, interlocked grain that's anything but well behaved.  Hence the nasty tear-out.

Good News: Several days earlier, I had ordered the optional high-angle blades for the shiny new Veritas low-angle jack plane, expecting the blade with the 50 degree bevel, as promised by Veritas, "to eliminate tear-out on even the most difficult grain patterns." So rather than completely destroy the shelf panel, I decided to psotpone the second and subsequent swipes until the new blades arrived.

More Good News: Sure enough, the 50 degree blade did the trick.  After a bit of fiddling around, I had it taking the proverbial wispy shavings from the mahogany, without even a hint of tear-out.  I managed to get one side of the shelf smooth and flat.  The other side is also beautifully smooth, but not nearly as flat as the first.  For this reason, the second side will be known forever hereafter as "the bottom".


Vic Hubbard said...

Oh, how I love the look of mahogany!! But, yes it is a shrew!! I'm glad the high angle blade worked so well.

Paul-Marcel said...

Glad the blade worked, too. Also, you really hid the panel joints well, very well.

rmac said...

Thanks, P-M. I am starting to see why people fall in love with their planes.

Rob said...

Good info. Have that beauty myself and will add the 50* blade to the tool list.

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