I’ve commented, previously, that a Forum is defined by the skills and mentoring-willingness of its active members. And, there is the other side of that coin, that other members need to be asking the provocative questions to draw-out and provide a context for the active members. I have no idea if others agree with me; but I’ll take a stab at something…
I’m calling on this Forum’s members to discuss what they do well (not a time to be bashful); and to discuss what they need help with: for me, I need help with Finishing and Sharpening; while I do OK with Layout and creating jigs & fixtures to safely and repetitively cut sculpted pieces. I’ve developed a decent skill on the Bandsaw; and don’t particularly relish processing small pieces on the router table. And, I’m very much a newbie when it comes to hand-planing.
For example – my comments on Layout:
I rely on Woodpeckers and Incra layout tools – not many: maybe 4 or 5 well-used squares and rulers – metric (this is by choice, not mandate); as well as a Wixey angle gauge and a 6" digital caliper. The Paoloni Ruler is my go-to mark-up tool. With these tools, I square and true-up all of my machines at the end of – and re-check at the start of – each project.
I use one tape measure (if you use 2, they will be different).
I sweat the details – depending on the subject, 1mm (1/25th") is about as large as I’ll go; for Maloof/Taylor joints, I’m at 10ths of 1mm.
My projects start on an Excel file: every part is numbered; every part is dimensioned; parts that will become a composite are summed; and, that sum has to equal overall dimensions that I specify within the Excel file. The parts schedules follow me to the shop, and are referenced throughout the build. Certainly, there are many nominal dimensions; and it is crucial that you keep track of finished dimensions as you progress through the processing stages. Often, I spread a piece of brown Kraft paper across my workbench, and draw the layout(s) 1:1 scale. Within Excel, I’ll prepare a rudimentary cut-plan.
“Good Enough’ is when the parts fit naturally against each other… I don’t rely on glue or clamps to close gaps, unless there is a specific reason to do so (a board that slightly cups during the build process might be one reason…).
i make jigs that allow me to reference hard surfaces and fine-tune cuts; and, actively work at letting my machines do the cutting, rather then me forcing the bandsaw blade or expecting too much from a sander.
Within all of this are my not-so-professional skills (at using good tools, and jigs, and fixtures); and, the steep learning curve of efficient and effective cut sequences – keeping reference surfaces intact during the build. And, while I’m sweating the small stuff, I can be found cutting the wrong piece; and reversing top & bottom, if I’m doing a Domino operating.
So, I’ll the active members to participate in what they do well… and are glad to share with others who may be struggling in an area.
Thanks for reading…