I spent some time the other day scratching my head as I was ready to begin cutting joints for the cupboard project. Up first are the 4 deep (or tall, depending on how you look at it) side rails in the lower case. These rails are a distinctive feature of this cupboard and several of the related ones. Here, they are 7 1/2″ high – with integral moldings run on their faces and applied moldings too. But first, the mortises.
I started with a basic question – how best to hold the rails for chopping the mortises. You can see that it’s thinner on one edge than the other. Naturally, I want the mortises in the thicker (1 1/4″) edge. So it needs to sit up on its thin edge, which might be closer to 7/8″ – 1″.
Often when mortising I grab the stock in the double-bench-screw (aka Moxon vise these days) and use a holdfast to secure it against the planing stop/bench hook. (the photo below is a mock-up, I didn’t shove it against the bench hook…but it gives you the sense of the setup.)
My holdfasts aren’t long enough to reach up & grab the rail itself, so I wasn’t entirely sold on this idea. Another disadvantage is the height of that rail means I’m mortising into something that’s about 40″ high. A bit uncomfortable for little ol’ me. Then I remembered a photo of our friend Rob Tarule pictured in Scott Landis’ The Workbench Book. Rob had a bearing strip or ledger fastened to the front legs of his Roubo bench and sat his workpiece on that. So I clipped that idea.
I didn’t have any hardwood over 6′ long, so just used a crappy piece of framing lumber. It sits on the holdfast on our left, is pinched by the one on the far right. The middle & left holdfasts are fixing the rail against the bench’s edge. Now the mortising happens just higher than the bench. The wooden fixture with the screw (the bench screw) just stops any forward movement. Much better. Below is a detail. This was the tail end of yesterday, and I didn’t work in the shop today. So tomorrow I’ll get the other three to this point, then it’s on to cutting double tenons on each end.
Scott Landis’ book was just republished by (who else?) Lost Art Press https://lostartpress.com/collections/all-books/products/the-workbench-book – if you’re not familiar with it, you might like it. Benches of all sorts, historical and otherwise. Rob Tarule made a Roubo bench long before we knew who Chris Schwarz was…there’s also a chapter on green woodworking fixtures too, featuring Jennie Alexander, Drew Langsner & Daniel O’Hagan – three people who had a huge impact on me. As did Tarule, but that was later. And I’ve known Scott since he & I (& Alexander) were in Curtis Buchanan’s first windsor chair class in 1987. Oh no, I sound like I’m on the porch of the old folks’ home – I’ll stop now.
(pt 8 Essex County cupboard project 2021)
4 thoughts on “One problem solved”
Hi. Following along watching you figure out how to make this has made my weeks tolerable. All I do is sit at my desk and practice law. I’d much rather be practicing with an axe.
Hope all is well with you and your family. Best personal regards,
David S. Handsman, Esq.
Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP
900 Third Avenue New York, New York 10022 Tel: 212-508-6786
“I’d much rather be practicing with an axe. ”
Perhaps getting into mergers and acquisitions would better suit you.
I assume your double-tongued tenon has a set-back shallow tenon in-between the projecting long tenons. This structure is rare in 17C English work (or Anglo-American) but does appear in 17C Dutch cradles, where the sides of the kiddy compartment have 90 degree joints while the ends have severely battered joints. The four posts contnue up to turned baluster rocking handgrips. Eighteenth-century furniture scholars never remark that this double-tiongued tenon reappears as the way to frame the sides and sometimes the rear of the lower cases of Queen Anne and Chippendale high chests!!!!
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