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Planing the wood for the back

November 9, 2010

I decided to start planing the wood for the back even though I haven’t decided on an outline or made a template, yet.  I’m still waiting to get my Strad poster in the mail so I can compare my options for the outline.  In the meantime, I’m anxious to get started.  :)

Planing a normal board would be pretty straight-forward.  This was trickier, I think, because you’re starting with a wedge-shaped piece of wood, only roughly cut.

The wedge came split down the middle (with a saw), but still attached at one corner.  (I uploaded a picture of that, in a previous post.)  First I had to finish splitting the two pieces apart.  I did that with a coping saw, but I think my hand-miter saw would have been a better idea.  Silly me.  I forgot I had one.  :)

So once it’s split, you need to think about which sides to join together when you book-match it.  This is complicated by the fact that you’re dealing with two wedges, instead of one square/rectangular board.  At first, you’d think that you would want to join them by simply “opening” them up and laying them down.  That is true in the end, but in the meantime, your two edges don’t join squarely while the boards are laying on the table.  You need to plane the edges to be perpendicular with the table before you can glue the boards together.

Here’s a picture of what I mean.  Start in the middle bottom (the picture of the tree with the wedge superimposed inside it) and follow the pictures clockwise.

imageThe edges in the picture are marked with letters to help you follow what I mean.  Hopefully it’s not too confusing.

So that’s WHAT a person needs to do.  But HOW?  At first I thought I could clamp the two wedges together in a vice and plane the edge.  But the vice wasn’t going to hold the boards because they weren’t square/flat.  And how can you trust yourself to “freehand” a perfect 90 degree angle?  And even if you had some way of making sure your plane was flat (thus creating the 90 degree angle), you also have to think of a way to keep the boards clamped together in the vice.

So I came up with a different solution, which you can see below:


Here I am changing the angle of the edge labeled “B” in the picture at the top of this blog entry.

Luckily the block plane I’m using was pretty seriously constructed, so it had perfectly flat sides that I could turn the plane on and still have it lay solidly on my little workbench (without wobbling, I mean).  I figured I could trust it to be a true 90 degree angle, so I propped one of my wedges up on another board (so the blade could get to it), and started planing.  It worked really well.  :)

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