The post about making the pins for drawbored mortise & tenon joints brought a couple of comments, and a couple of questions. First & foremost, the moisture content of the pins – bone dry…gotta be. I shave mine dry. I split excess straight-grained oak into pin blanks and then store it around the shop. They are small-cross-sections, so dry quickly…but in any event, I always have several piles of them around – from green to dry.
They do have to fit the holes, but the taper in their length makes this easy enough to acheive. It doesn’t hurt to have a piece of scrap stock with a test-hole bored in it, and check your first dozen or so pins in that hole…typically beginners make the pins too stout.
Alexander points out that using a shaving horse & drawknife to make them makes the taper easier to achieve. But JA is working from stock that is easily 3 times the length I use. It’s a trade-off. As far as my method requiring experience and skill, well…I am reminded of a quote I once heard the folksinger Claudia Schmidt repeat:
“Good judgement is the result of experience. Experience is the result of poor judgement.”
(I figured it’s from Yip Harburg [If I Only had a Brain] but on the web I’ve seen it attributed to Twain. Don’t think it’s him…but maybe need to look at Puddn’head Wilson again)
Hmm. I adopted this method of shaving pins when I saw it in a sixteenth-century woodcut. I find it really works, and splitting the stock is very easy in such short lengths. You can often split it down to nearly the size you need. I say make your pins that way, and you’ll get good at ‘em. Shaving them from long stock with a drawknife will get you good at shaving them from long stock with a drawknife…either way, make them dry, make them tapered.
It is not a wet/dry joint like in Alexander’s post & rung chairs. The action of the drawboring is what makes the joint work, not a moisture content differential. for more on the drawboring, see http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=drawboring
(on the right-hand side of this blog is a search button, way down towards the bottom. Let’s see if the above link works to get readers to the previous entries on the subject.)
I do use drawbore pins to pull the joint together first, this allows me to check the joints and make sure everthing is as it should be, before I put any wooden pins in. Some folks think these steel pins will wreck the drawbore, but I’ve never had a problem with them. Alexander found these pins at Sears many years ago, and handled them for me. Cheap & effective.
I also often use a numbering system for making certain that the correct tenon is in the mortise. Here just the mortise chisel chops Roman numerals to ID the joint.
Here’s the inside of a recent stool showing the trimmed pins, the fore plane surface on the inside face of the rail; and the inner shoulder of the rail not quite hitting the stile. Also these pins are staggered in height, so as to not interfere with each other.