Smaller and smaller

Yesterday I got more shop time than I’ve had in the last few weeks. I was able to make some good headway on dimensioning the boards for 2 boxes.

Sometimes it makes me feel a bit insane the amount of time I spend making big boards into smaller boards. For instance, this project requires sides that are 1/2 thick, 2″x12″. The ends 2″ x 5″ (or thereabouts). I live in the Dominican Republic, and there are no big box stores that sell s2s, s4s, or any other type of pre-dimensioned stock. I searched through the lumberyards – nada. Even finding pine of decent quality pine required a few trips. I may end up foregoing pine for some of the relatively inexpensive hardwoods available here.

Anyway, the point being that whenever I want to do anything, I start with pretty large, thick boards. In this case, the boxes are starting from 8′ of 3/4″ x 9″ lumber. I’d managed to saw to rough lengths, and I’d left them wide so that I could flatten and dimension the bigger boards before making the final cuts. So, 2 sides to a board, 4 ends to a board, you get the idea. I find that much easier to work with then thin boards when planing them down.

ready to rip
Pine boards cut to rough length, planed to thickness, ready to rip

I could bitch and moan about the time spent dimensioning the wood, but in the end it is a good skill. I’m getting much better at it. I only find it aggravating because I want to practice things like dovetails, but the more I focus on this as a worthwhile skill per se, the better I feel. It is also an opportunity to practice sawing and planing, among other things. In the grand scheme of things it’s pretty damn worthwhile. Now if I can just keep reminding myself of that.

Ripped and jointed boards alongside my make-do contraption

One think I really do like complaining about, however, is jointing. F**k me, I kind of suck at it. Doing it freehand, I am constantly getting almost square, when a single pass seems to throw it out of whack. I’ve practiced enough that sometimes I get it. Other times, fugazi. So, I went and bought me Veritas’ jointer fence. What a difference, and what a time saver. While I want to get to the point that I can do without it, I also don’t want to spend half a day getting a single piece square. Of course, after rip cutting, I was left with boards with one squared edge and one jagged edge and 2″ wide. The fence is just a bit wider, and so I couldn’t finish them in the vise. It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out the work-around (above). It worked, but man, my hands.

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