The Holtzapffel Workbench – Day 21-22

(Part 11 of a series)

Well, I had thought I’d be getting ready to put some dog holes in right about now, but I moved to Cherrapunji by mistake this month. It has rained every single day in August if I’m not mistaken, and it’s rained by a pretty good amount. I’m not buying the official rainfall totals I’m seeing either. It’s the wettest August I can think of in over 15 years. It’s rained so much I had to move up a project of cleaning and putting covers on the gutters at the back of my house. An early September project morphed into an early August project, so that took up some of my time this week.

The other thing that has taken up my time recently is that I bought a new phone, and in the process switched from Apple to Android. This wouldn’t be a big deal, but I had to clean up a huge file problem that iTunes created (over 50GB of duplicate files and lots of tag errors), and that took up most of my free time this week.

Finally on Friday, after putting the gutters in, I got a chance to get back into the workshop and make some more progress on this project. I had been out to check on my boards earlier in the week, and noticed one finished board pretty curved, which wasn’t good. Unfortunately, by the time I was done Saturday, it was only one of many. On Friday I took four cut, but unprocessed boards and ran them through the jointer and planer to get them down to final dimensions and prep the surface enough for gluing. After expending so much time and energy on the gutters, I only felt like doing four boards Friday. After I was done getting them into decent shape, it was time to undertake the first glue-up of the top. I selected the best four boards that I had processed thus far and set up five of my parallel clamps under them. I oriented the boards on their sides, after I determined the best side to have in the ‘up’ position on all of their edges. I used quite a bit of Titebond II and my Rockler glue brush and got every single inch of each board covered in a thin layer of the yellow glue. I then turned the boards on edge and positioned them together, making sure that at least one end was fairly close to even.

And here is where I started seeing problems.

The boards, after being prepped and being stored appropriately, started curving anyway. I noticed how bad it was when I got to the other end of the glue-up and noticed one board hanging down an inch lower than the other ones, even though most of the rest of the board was even. I’m not sure what I’m going to do here. I don’t know if it’s my process, or the obscene amount of moisture that has entered our area. I attempted to even out the curve as best I could, but there’s still a decent bit of curve there. boards have very little evenness.  I assume I will be able to get a nice slab out of them, but how much will I have to take off? I started out with 3.5″, and I’m sure I’m closer to 3.25″ after a couple trips on the jointer. If I start getting into the 2.5″ range, I’m not sure that’s thick enough. Three inches? I could live with that. Anything less starts seriously compromising the design, IMO.

On Saturday I processed six more boards, but worryingly I found 2-3 more boards that weren’t even worth messing with. If I needed parts of these boards, I could work with them, but I need the whole length. I do have one 6′ full board that I can saw up, plus two unprocessed boards that can look at, but I think I may have to acquire replacements. I checked the glue-up I did on Friday, and at least it’s solid – all the boards have good adhesion to each other and there’s no separation. Running it over the jointer and then the planer, I should be able to get a nice square lamination. Should. I will look at that once I get more groups together.

Of the six boards I processed on Saturday I again chose the best four and glued them up. I had told myself to only do three, to be more confident of my setup time, but I forgot and did four boards again anyway. There is quite the large open knot on the underside, and I hope it doesn’t cause me problems. I could fill it, or cut it out, but I’m leaving it for the time being. I think if it causes me any problems, it will be far enough down the road that I’ll be able to build it’s replacement in my replacement shop. Should.

So three weeks in, I have the legs 95% done, the stretchers 95% done, and the top about 10% done. I figure tuning up the shoulders and putting the dog holes in the legs accounts for that 5%, and if these two top glue-ups turn out okay, that’s 10″ of the 24″ wide top, with everything related to the top yet to do. I figure I’m two weeks out, if I get steady shop time. If I don’t, I’m looking at possibly end of September. I’m finding it better to be slow and prudent than try to rush things. If I don’t want to work on it on a given day, I’m not going to force myself. Tomorrow I should be able to remove the #2 glue-up from the clamps and put #3 in there. Then this week I will try to figure out if I need to make an additional trip for more material.

When this is over, I’ll have a post where I’ll share what I would have done differently. So if you aren’t in any hurry to start on this yourself, that would be a post well worth the wait.


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