Slightly distracted but a usable day


The dog Churchill made his last pick-up ride late yesterday afternoon: He was thirteen (old for a large dog), and had been immobile and unhappy for some time. We postponed the inevitable decision until Christmas and the old year were over, and his whole (almost) family had made a last visit and said goodbye. 

Understandably I was perhaps a little distrait today, but did manage a decent amount of work on F.'s desk/dining table. (Perhaps we could just call it a "dining desk"?)

First up was to finish the drawers, which was slow and fiddly. Here they are, assembled minus the bottoms and the rosewood pulls:


The final big job is to finish the top, which today means a quick leveling session with a jack-plane, a preliminary sanding with the belt sander and 100 grit, and then inserting a one-eighth inch walnut inlay line parallel to the edge. 
First the position of the line is marked in with a pencil gauge to check out the visual appeal or otherwise; usually this line is pencilled in and erased several times before it seems OK. This one seemed right the first time:


The router is set up with a one-eighth carbide bit and a guide fence. The pencil line can also be seen. The line also serves to mark the limit of the router cut at the corners.

After routing the groove for the inlay, the inlay strips must be cut. (These are always fitted to the groove - unless I'm using a scratch stock, which allows some variation in the groove width.) Slightly oversized strips are cut with the table saw from a straight grained piece of suitable wood (in this case walnut).  These are then run through my crude but quite efficient thickness sander, checking carefully for a tight fit in the prepared groove.


The sander is simply a laminated cylinder, turned between centres on the lathe. A 60 grit 24" sanding belt is wound around the "drum" and stapled on at either end.
A piece of wood is bolted to the tool rest, and forms a bed for the sander. Adjustment in this case is made by tilting the toolrest and the board.


Individual strips of stringing are best cut on the bandsaw.  Here a false plywood table has been clamped to the metal table underneath after running it through the saw; a fence is also clamped to the table, about an eighth away from the blade. Strips of inlay can then be safely cut with a minimum of waste.


The final thickness adjustment is made on a simple hand-thicknesser. (The design for this taken from a very useful book entitled "Woodworking Aids and Devices".) One advantage of this tool is that the inlay strip can be given a very slight taper by tilting the blade.


Finally glue is run into the recess (useful syringe!), and the inlay strip tapped in with a hammer. A Warrington hammer is useful for this, as the cross pein can be used to rub down the inlay to make sure that it's fully inserted.

Tomorrow morning: sand the inlay, and scrape the entire top in preparation for the final sanding.