Sunday, July 17, 2011

Aurora Nightstand - Yet Another Router Jig

Still no ebony.

When it finally shows up, I figure I'll want to make the biggest ebony pieces first. That way, if I mess them up, I may be able to make some of the smaller parts out of the ruined material.

So the biggest ebony parts are the decorative splines in the table top. Darrell's article suggests forming these by gluing the blank into the slot in the top, routing the profile in two steps with a flush bit and a couple of oversized bearings, and then rounding the corners over by hand with sandpaper to get the pillowing effect.

Yikes!  I don't like that idea at all, for lots of reasons:
  1. I don't have the necessary oversized bearings.
  2. With the splines glued in the slot in the top, I can't see how I would ever be able to round over their corners without marring the top itself.
  3. There'd be no way to polish the splines on a buffing wheel.
  4. If I messed something up, it might be really difficult to remove the glued-in spline without messing up the top in the process.
So I figured, why not rout the profile on the spline using a jig similar to the ones that were used to make the arched parts?  That way I can do the pillowing and buffing before gluing the spline into the top, and if I mess up a spline, I can just toss it and make another one.

So I tried it. The picture shows the jig, which clamps the part securely against a template with the required profile. After temporarily clamping the blank into the jig, I marked the curve on the blank and then cut away most of the waste using the bandsaw. Then I remounted the blank in the jig and routed the profile in one pass.

The picture also shows the result of the first test. The jig worked perfectly, but I didn't do the best job of getting the pillowing even, especially where the spline makes the little jog between the top and the breadboard end. I think I'll make another little scraper tool to help with that.

For the record, the test spline is made of ebonized mesquite, which means that I smeared some india ink on it, followed by a coat of gloss polyurethane.


Torch02 said...

It must be the age of the article, because in Darrell's class a few months ago, we definitely cut those splines in a jig similar to what you have. I think he lays out the jig specifics in his book, but if this is one is working for you - run with it.

rmac said...

Marc Spagnuolo's blog from another one of Darrell's classes shows a picture of a jig that's probably similar to one you're talking about. However, the procedure in Darrell's book is the same as described in the article. Just goes to show there's a thousand ways to do this stuff.

Paul-Marcel said...

Like the look of that in the table; makes it look like it's getting there.

Much prefer your method to the one in the article; the jig would let you do so much work to the spline without the worry.

Maybe stick to the Mesquite!

rmac said...

I wanted to use the mesquite, because it grows wild in my front yard. But although it looks good in the photo, somehow the color wasn't quite right, and the grain showed through a little bit. My dad kept trying to get me to use Delrin. I thought that was going a little too far.

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