Multitasking... 1,2,3

Around the photography activity this past week, I've been multitasking my way through several parts of the Jeffersonian Book Stand.

Cutting the veneers revealed a very consistent quality to the wood throughout the depth of the planks. This was encouraging and will make things simpler when it comes time to lay out and join the individual pieces of parquetry.

Each veneer is just under 3/32" thick. I'm leaving enough thickness to allow for hand planing the surfaces after gluing the veneers to the substrates. I don't expect the Baltic birch core material to be perfectly flat, so the veneer thickness will play a key role as I refine the flatness of the built-up panels.

Ahh... the stacks of veneers. All ready for the parquetry. Just a few sheets extra, so not a lot of room for slip-ups.

Meanwhile, one at a time, the substrates are curing in the vacuum press. They consist of multiple sheets of Baltic birch plywood. Symmetrical layering of the plywood, alternating the orientation of the grain direction, and paying close attention to the flatness of each piece will help to maximize the stability of each panel.

With the substrates on the go, I turn to the largest solid wood portion of the project... the stand.

Using a chipboard template, I make sure that the grain of the wood aligns with each part. At IP we referred to this topic as grain graphics. This is a key step that is normally ignored in the manufacturing environment. Who wants to sit quietly and study the grain on hundreds of chairs per day? In manufactured furniture, processess are engineered for efficiency. That's fine and dandy, but for me it just doesn't work as a core value. In a small fine furniture studio, well, in this studio anyway, I choose processes because they are safe, provide exceptional results, and most importantly, because they are enjoyable to do. The enjoyment part may seem a bit self-serving at first, but after you get to know the work, it becomes apparent how directly the mindset of the craftsman will impact the outcome; in particular, the quality and aesthetics of the piece. If you favor planned obsolescence and a friendly price tag, great, but if you are looking for a truly enduring piece of furniture, find a maker who enjoys their work... making one piece at a time.

Here are the four stretchers ready to be cut to length.

The legs need some extra work to ensure the grain is 45° to the profile. You'll see the results of this move later in the process.

Work continued on the legs... taking all four legs from a single short piece of the yellow birch.

After making sure the grain was aligned, and the stretchers and legs were cut to the right dimensions, I began to layout the mortise and tenon joinery. I'll be using loose tenons, meaning that mortises will be cut in both parts and a separate tenon will be used to join them together.

I hope you enjoy seeing a bit of the work here on the blog. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

'Til next time,

Craig