Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mortise and Tenion Lathe Stand

Home Hobbyshopper rides again. I might have mentioned the vintage wood lathe I picked up this summer. To get it off the floor of the garage, so I can get the car into the garage before snow falls, and so it can be used, I needed a stand to put it on. Lathes are long and narrow, and, should the workpiece not be round and balanced, they shake a lot. The work piece only gets round and balanced after the lathe chisels round it off. Begin turning a workpiece they can shake hard. So a stout stand is required. Being a cheapskate, and having time for home projects I'm making it.
Back in the lumber rack I have a piece of 2*12 to make the top of the stand, and enough 2*4 to make the legs. I put 2*4 "runners" on the bottom of the legs and did mortise and tenon joints, mortise in the runner, tenon on the legs. Do the mortises first, and then cut and fit the tenons to the mortises. I was clever enough to number the legs (1,2,3,4) and the mortises, (1,2,3,4) so as to fit each leg into one and only one mortise. This is all hand work, parts are NOT interchangable. Leg 1 will be cut, planed and sanded to fit mortise 1, and it will not necessarily fit mortise 2 or 3 or 4.
I lack a mortising rig for the drill press, and mortising 4 inches thru a 2*4 is far beyond my humble router, so I did it the old fashioned way. Drill a row of half inch holes with the drill press and clean it out with hand chisels. I have a mess of hand chisels collected over the years. Some cut better than others, something magic in the steel, it either takes a better edge or holds a better edge or elvish smiths worked an enchantment, or who knows. My best chisel is an old all steel Craftsman my father gave me as a gift when I was a child. Working in construction grade pine, the mortises all cleaned up without much trouble.
Tenons I cut with the radial arm saw (RAS for short). Cross cut the tenon cheeks and swing the blade horizontal to cut the faces. Cut them just hair over size and then do a trial fit. Trim them down bit by bit until they fit hand tight. Turn the blade height crank 45 degrees to move the blade up or down by 1/64 of an inch.
Next time I will do tenons with the dado set. The 10 inch blade bends just a skosh on the face cuts resulting in a slight taper over the length of the four inch tenon. The blade gives a smoother tenon than the dado set, but I'd rather have a dead straight tenon that needs some clean up with a file than a slight taper which ruins the fit.
So, all fits, and the glue is drying. I still need to make some lengthwise stretchers, cut the top to size and make a shelf, but project is moving forward.

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