Surface Prep, Fitting and Assembly

The last of the miter glue-ups is done. Here you can see one half of the veneer edge band miter at the corner of the top book panel for the Jeffersonian Book Stand. Now, with all the panels completed, it is time to get to the surface preparation and joinery.

My shop-made wooden jointer plane is the perfect tool for planing the edges of the base panel. After fine tuning the rabbet that runs around the interior of the stand, I carefully begin planing the edge of the base to fit as neatly as possible against the side of the rabbet.

In its final position, the base is just proud of the stand.

Next up is the internal carousel that will spin above the base. I've bored all the dowel holes that will be used to join the carousel top and bottom to the vertical support panels. The large hole in the bottom panel on the right (below) is for the vertical post that will extend from the base up through the carousel. The large, shallow hole in the top panel on the left (below) is to house the thrust bearing that will ride on the top of the post.

The photo above shows the carousel panels flat, but with band saw marks still remaining from cutting the veneers out of the plank. Below, the underside of the carousel top is just about ready for finish to be applied.

An afternoon of hand planing these panels reminds me of why I do this work... The steady rhythm of the plane makes the usual whispering sound with each pass over the panel. I can tell the iron is sharp from the ease with which it cuts the wood. The shavings curl as they find their way up through the throat of the plane and onto the floor. They are very thin. You can see right through them. My teacher once said that a good shaving is only about "a half a thou". Taking a thin shaving produces the finest surface. I stop for a moment and remember my days at school and get to wondering. "How thick are the shavings I'm making right now?" I just had to check it out, so I pulled out my trusty old digital caliper. The shavings were measuring at 0.0005". Ooh, half a thou. Sweet.

And to think I could be sanding these panels; not my idea of a good time. I'll do anything to avoid dust and noise. It's still hard to believe that hand planing, while a far more enjoyable a process, also gives the best results. I do confess that I bring out the sandpaper from time to time. But for this yellow birch I'll probably only be using 1000 grit sandpaper, and that won't start until after the first or second coat of shellac.

The vertical supports for the carousel are also cut to size and bored for dowels.

It's a lot easier to see progress with the assembly now under way. Each step brings about change that is a lot more visible. The many hours of careful work done to create the complex panels may be almost forgotten, but still remains the bulk of the entire project.

The glue-up of the carousel will be happening this week, as well as progress on the center post and top panel. Lots more to show. I hope you enjoy seeing and reading about the Jeffersonian Book Stand and that you'll stay tuned. Feel free to post comments or questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Hej då... and happy shavings!