Single-Slab Cherry Coffee Table, Part I

This weekend, I am demonstrating Festool power tools at Lee Valley Tools Ltd. in Coquitlam. To generate interest and demonstrate what can be done with the tools, I am turning this seven-foot-long slab of cherry into a coffee table.

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By the end of Thursday, I had made some good progress. To make the legs, I used the TS75 track saw to cut the ends of the slab from table top and bevel the ends at 45 degrees.

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I used the DF700 Domino XL to cut mortises in the bevelled ends of one joint and inserted 14mm Domino tenons to provide strength and alignment.

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On Friday, I cut the joints for the other two legs. I glued them before lunch, then did some careful layout to determine how to cut the legs so the table sat flat. I performed the cuts with the TS75 track saw in a somewhat dramatic fashion.

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After that, I removed the chainsaw marks from the outside surfaces of the legs. I was able to power through this task quickly with 80-grit Rubin 2 abrasive paper on the mighty RO150 Rotex sander.

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At the end of day two, the table stood on its own (and I could stand – and jump – on it).

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So far, this project has been a good test of what the Festool equipment can do and it has attracted a lot of attention from customers, whether they were woodworkers or not. Many wanted to see it finished and asked if the table would be on display upon completion (the answer was, yes).

Tomorrow, I will continue work by surfacing the top. I may also inset some dovetail keys in the top, and perhaps down one leg to visually reinforce the split.

I Can Do That with Festool and Flair

Last week, I worked at the Coquitlam showroom of Lee Valley Tools Ltd. demonstrating the Festool power tools.  I was given a stack of pine and a set of plans for Megan Fitzpatrick’s Shaker-inspired Step Stool which appeared in Popular Woodworking’s column, I Can Do That.  Over the three days, I had time to build two stools.

Festool Stepstool

The design was simple – too simple.  It needed something else to elevate the project to the next level.

After some deliberation, I decided to carve some paw prints into the stool’s treads.  From the Animal Tracks guide I selected a paw print and asked another Lee Valley staff member (hi, June!) to sketch the shape proportionate to the width of the treads.  I positioned photocopies of her sketch on the treads, then taped them in place with packing tape.

To carve the design, I installed a 1/2″ core box bit in Festool’s mid-sized plunge router, the OF1400.  A smaller router would have been more agile, but I liked the idea of the additional mass which I thought would give me more control.  I set the plunge depth to about 3/16″ and routed a test piece (which you can see under the bottom step in the picture below with the photocopy still attached).

I found that I had good control plunging the bit to the full depth and moving the router around with two hands on its base.   I focused on the perimeter first, then removed the waste from the centre area.

Happy with the setup, I routed the three treads, working up to the lines of the sketch.  Then, I removed the photocopies.

Festool Stepstool 2

I wasn’t concerned with following the lines exactly, but wanted each paw print to look similar.  The shape of the core box bit didn’t leave a flat surface which I preferred.

Footprint

I found it amusing that during the course of three days demonstrating Festool products, the largest crowd I attracted was while carving these paw prints with the router, which is, perhaps, the loudest of all the tools.


In other news, I wrote two sidebars which appeared in the latest issue of Canadian Woodworking (issue #84 – June/July).  Find them on pages 12 and 30.

How and Why I’m Buying a Festool Domino XL (DF-700)

I learned in Session 9 of the Maple Trestle Table Build that using a router to cut mortises was slow and tiring, and required me to wrestle the heavy slabs into a vertical position.  I certainly didn’t want to bring the wood to a stationary machine such as a hollow chisel mortiser or slot mortiser – even if I got it into position, it would want to tip the whole machine!  A biscuit joiner would have been about as useful as duct tape.  Pocket holes?  Not for this type of project!  A dowelling jig wouldn’t have allowed any lateral expansion so that wouldn’t work either.

Mortised Slabs with Floating Tenons

Yesterday I ordered a Domino XL, which I believe is the best tool for my application.  (If you can think of a better tool, please let me know!)  I wanted the ability to use different thicknesses of tenons so I looked at the options for buying tenons and bits.

To accompany the Domino XL, Festool put together two packages of pre-cut Domino tenons and the appropriate bit(s), all neatly contained Systainers.  One Tenon Assortment comes with 8mm/10mm bits and 8mm/10mm Domino tenons in various lengths while the other comes with a 14mm bit and 12mm/14mm Domino tenons, again in various lengths (a 12mm bit comes with the Domino XL).

The purpose of the Systainers was to keep tools and accessories organized, especially onsite.  Some woodworkers I have talked with like having them in the workshop but I have never found them particularly helpful.

I anticipated using mostly the larger sizes.  With the release of the DF-700, Festool also released 750mm lengths of milled Domino tenon stock which the end user could then cut to whichever length was needed.

I wanted long tenons and the matching bits but not the Systainer.  I sat down and put together a spreadsheet in pretty Festool green and blue or printer-friendly black and white (the far-right column is interesting as it shows the extra cost of pre-cut tenons over the 750mm lengths).  It showed me that for 80% of the cost of the two Tenon Assortments I could order the individual bits and packages of 750mm tenon stock and get 105% more tenon stock.  However, I would not get the two Systainers and would need to cut the tenons myself.  That did not concern me in the least, so that’s what I did.

The Domino XL and accessories arrive June 1, 2012.

Maple Trestle Table, Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top; and
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL).

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks The rain’s coming down hard in Port Moody and I’m back in the shop working on the trestle table. Follow along as I start the base! #flairww -12:13 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m laying out the base components on these four pieces of maple. #flairww -12:22 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve been looking at this leg I roughly cut, trying to decide if it looks too big. #flairww -12:47 PM May 1st, 2012

ravinheart @FlairWoodworks first impressions … my vote is Not too big #flairww -12:56 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks So I cut the legs and they still feel lacking. I think I need curved legs instead of straight legs. #flairww -1:12 PM May 1st, 2012

ravinheart @FlairWoodworks yup … curvy legs are always good :) #flairww -1:13 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’d describe what I want to do, but it will be easier and more clear if I just do it. #flairww -1:15 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks The hose feels like it’s fighting me so I’m going to reattach it to the ceiling. #flairww -1:33 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I had taken the hose down from the ceiling so that I could reach all the way across the shop when I cut the edges of the table top. #flairww -1:33 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks That’s better. #flairww -1:37 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Dust collection on the Festool Trion jigsaw is not great, even with the dust shroud in place. #flairww -1:39 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks However, the orbital feature is terrific. Cuts are very quick when the saw is set to a full orbital stroke. #flairww -1:40 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s what I want to do. #flairww -1:49 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I scribed a line along the leg where I need to cut the curved brace. What’s the easiest way to do the cut? #flairww -1:52 PM May 1st, 2012

ravinheart @FlairWoodworks Start on the Bandsaw or by hand ? #flairww -1:54 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is how I’d make the cut. #flairww -1:54 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Perfect! #flairww -1:56 PM May 1st, 2012

ravinheart @FlairWoodworks Oh ya you got the slider … nice #flairww -1:57 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I also need to make a cut square to the last. This could not be more simple. #flairww -1:57 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks @ravinheart The sliding table saw makes this stuff TOO EASY. #flairww -2:00 PM May 1st, 2012

Tooltutor @FlairWoodworks That’s a sweet slider! -2:01 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is the basic idea. #flairww -2:02 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I love having it! #flairww RT @Tooltutor: @FlairWoodworks That’s a sweet slider! -2:02 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Anybody out there have a track saw? How easy would it be to make these two cuts perfectly square in 2-1/2″ thick maple? #flairww -2:04 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I could also lean it over like this. Any thoughts? #flairww -2:07 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yay – it’s sunny outside now! #flairww -2:12 PM May 1st, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks I have a track saw, but I’d leave that cut to my miter or table saws. -2:12 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Why? #flairww RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks I have a track saw, but I’d leave that cut to my miter or table saws. -2:12 PM May 1st, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks I like [the lean]. -2:12 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ha! Now I need to find another piece of maple with curved grain! #flairww -2:15 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I broke another blade. After breaking the first blade, I backed off the side guides a little. What gives? #flairww -2:21 PM May 1st, 2012

Tooltutor @FlairWoodworks u could do it with a track saw with the accuracy of your square though I’d def prefer a table or miter if it fits -2:27 PM May 1st, 2012

Tooltutor @FlairWoodworks you’re getting too buff man-handling those bigass slabs, snapping blades like toothpicks -2:30 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tooltutor Yeah, that’s the problem :) #flairww -2:33 PM May 1st, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks Easier to determine right angles, less setup and greater depth of cut. -2:35 PM May 1st, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks yes, I do [like the leaning leg design]. -2:35 PM May 1st, 2012

Tooltutor @DyamiPlotke @flairwoodworks seconded  -2:36 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Before installing a third blade, I decided to see if I could find some more information on the set up of the jigsaw guides. #flairww -2:36 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Unfortunately, the written instructions for the @FestoolUSA Trion Jigsaw are not very comprehensive. #flairww -2:37 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks But I did find a good video by @FestoolUSA on Festool Owners Group.  I did not know to pull the arbor shaft down (1:20). #flairww -2:38 PM May 1st, 2012

Tbdi0629 @FlairWoodworks I totally use my track saw for cutting slabs.-2:45 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Did you see my application?  #flairwwRT @Tbdi0629: @FlairWoodworks I totally use my track saw for cutting slabs.-2:47 PM May 1st, 2012

Tbdi0629 @FlairWoodworks yep, that’s a slick way to do it if you have that option. -2:50 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I noticed that one of the dust extraction ports in the jigsaw’s shoe is clogged. I’ve had this before. #flairww -2:58 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Would it be as easy with a track saw? #flairww RT @Tbdi0629: @FlairWoodworks yep, that’s a slick way to do it if you have that option. -3:00 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I was unable to clear the blockage just by digging at it with a pencil, as I’ve done in the past. #flairww -3:01 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I removed the shoe to expose the blockage. #flairww -3:04 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I picked up an assortment pack of bits a number of years ago which included hex and Torx drivers. Very useful. #flairww -3:08 PM May 1st, 2012

Tbdi0629 @FlairWoodworks That’s a great debate evoking question! :) but I would say yes. -3:19 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here are the two legs roughly positioned. I’m going with the lean. #flairww -3:26 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks What would be the argument for “no”? #flairww RT@Tbdi0629: @FlairWoodworks That’s a great debate evoking question! :) but I would say yes. -3:27 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Lunch time. #flairww -3:30 PM May 1st, 2012

Tbdi0629 @FlairWoodworks I’m not sure, maybe someone would rather rig up a jig for their tablesaw or bandsaw or etc. but me… I prefer my festool [track saw]. -3:33 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tbdi0629 The trouble is, a typical 10″ tablesaw has a capacity of about 2-1/2″ and a jig reduces that. #flairww -3:35 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tbdi0629 And a bandsaw doesn’t give the same quality of cut. #flairww -3:35 PM May 1st, 2012

Tbdi0629 @FlairWoodworks yep, my thoughts exactly. -3:40 PM May 1st, 2012

Tumblewood: YES!!! The White Trash Boom Arm!! RT @FlairWoodworks: The hose feels like its fighting me so I’m going to reattach it to the ceiling. #flairww -4:03 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ah, and there’s the inventor! #flairww RT @Tumblewood: YES!!! The White Trash Boom Arm!! -4:08 PM May 1st, 2012

Tumblewood The table is looking awesome, Chris! RT @FlairWoodworks: Ah, and there’s the inventor! #flairww RT @Tumblewood: YES!!! The White Trash Boom Arm!! -4:09 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, Vic! I’m enjoying the creative process building the base! RT @Tumblewood: The table is looking awesome, Chris! #flairww -4:10 PM May 1st, 2012

kring_l:@FlairWoodworks good call with the lean are you matching both sides or opposing? -4:26 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks They lean in opposing directions. #flairww RT @kring_l:@FlairWoodworks good call with the lean are you matching both sides or opposing? -4:30 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks @kring_l Remember the spin match I used for the top? I’d like to match that. #flairww -4:31 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks My lunch break is done! I need to figure out how much the legs should lean, then join the braces and cut the tops flat. #flairww -4:33 PM May 1st, 2012

Black_SheepWW @Tumblewood @FlairWoodworks Did you have to extend the length of the hose for this? I’m fighting mine when sanding. Needs to be hanging. -4:33 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Black_SheepWW Definitely. I have a 36mm hose, then a 27mm hose off of that. Each are 3m long, I think. #flairww -4:34 PM May 1st, 2012

Tumblewood Dental picks!! RT @FlairWoodworks: I was unable to clear the blockage just by digging at it with a pencil, as I’ve done in the past. #flairww -4:41 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ha! I’d never used this square since I bought it 4 years ago and was thinking of “Overflowing” it. #flairww -4:43 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks It turns out to be the perfect tool for this! #flairww -4:43 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks My next step is to joint one face flat and plane the other parallel. #flairww -4:45 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I still don’t have a Domino XL (or even @tumblewood’s M600). Fortunately, 50mm x 10mm Domino tenons will work. #flairww -4:57 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Before cutting joinery, I need to fair the inside edge. #flairww -4:59 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my #3 bench plane, which affords a more comfortable two-handed grip than my block plane. #flairww -5:06 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks There’s some pretty figure on this edge. Too bad that it’s one of the least visible parts. #flairww -5:10 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I put a pencil line across the joint where I want the Domino tenons. #flairww -5:21 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got the mortises bored. Time for a dry-fit. #flairww -5:38 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay, I’m going for the glue-up now. #flairww -5:39 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks But first, I need to get the joint apart and remove the Domino tenons… #flairww -5:41 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I bought these Extractor pliers for pulling nails. I use them for pulling Domino tenons. #flairww -5:44 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Angles are always a challenge to clamp. Here’s the caul I used. #flairww -6:00 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now I’ll work on the second leg. #flairww -6:04 PM May 1st, 2012

Tbdi0629 @FlairWoodworks I have a set of “test” dominos I have sanded down, to use in my test fits. I marked them black. -6:08 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got the parts for the second leg surfaced. Now I need to lay out and cut the joinery. #flairww -6:15 PM May 1st, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks I use pliers to pull Dominos too. -6:21 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Just like on the other leg, the inside curve has beautiful grain. And it’s hidden. #flairww -6:25 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time for another dry fit. I don’t put Domino tenons in the oversized mortises for the dry run. #flairww -6:34 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve laid out another angled caul for the other leg. #flairww -6:39 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay, time for the second glue-up session! #flairww -6:44 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Another successful glue-up with the right amount of glue squeeze-out. #flairww -6:53 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I kept glue away from the left side of the joint near the inside corner so I wouldn’t have to clean it up later. #flairww -6:54 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time to clean up the workshop a bit. #flairww -6:59 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Fun fact: I had considered using metal legs like these#flairww -7:11 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time to go make dinner. #flairww -7:12 PM May 1st, 2012

Tumblewood @FlairWoodworks I can see that shape for the legs, but would prefer them from wood. #flairww -7:40 PM May 1st, 2012

kring_l @FlairWoodworks I agree with @Tumblewood the metal would take away from all the work you put into the top -7:51 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks It wasn’t that much work. Okay, it was. #flairww RT @kring_l the metal would take away from all the work you put into the top @Tumblewood -9:02 PM May 1st, 2012

Tumblewood A nice piece will have people crawling to check it out. The detail will not be in vain. RT @FlairWoodworks: Just like on the other leg, the inside curve has beautiful grain. And it’s hidden. #flairww

FlairWoodworks Okay… I’m back in the shop after dinner. I’ll start by unclamping the legs and cleaning off the excess glue. #flairww -10:09 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks It seems Twitter on my phone won’t post tweets with pictures after 8pm. Here comes a backlog of Tweets… #flairww -10:39 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is how I’m laying out the top and bottom cuts to ensure the leg is centred on the foot. #flairww -10:40 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks The arm looks overly heavy and I’ll probably trim it down a little. I’m not sure how yet, though. #flairww -10:41 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is how it will look installed, only the leg will be on the batten, not behind it. #flairww -10:42 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using my spokeshave to refine the curve of the arm.#flairww -10:42 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks The curve of this section is too severe for my flat spokeshave. I don’t have a convex spokeshave. #flairww -10:44 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I can, however, cheat a little by extending the spokeshave’s blade out a little further. #flairww -10:44 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve switched to carving gouges to blend the arm into the leg.#flairww -10:52 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I worked across the grain with three gouges of different sweeps to begin blending the arm into the leg. #flairww -10:58 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m working on the second leg where the same things need to be done. #flairww -11:20 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks With the opposing angles of the legs, attaching the stretcher will be interesting, to say the least. #flairww -11:37 PM May 1st, 2012

luggermatt @FlairWoodworks Certainly looks fun :-) -11:38 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hmmm. I’ll let you know if it was when I’m finished! #flairww RT@luggermatt: @FlairWoodworks Certainly looks fun :-) -11:38 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks If only I could twist the stretcher… #flairww -11:39 PM May 1st, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay, that’s a good place to stop tonight. To be continued…#flairww -11:50 PM May 1st, 2012

Morton @Tbdi0629 @flairwoodworks hahah – I have the exact same [test dominos], with the exact same black markings ;) heh. -4:06 AM May 2nd, 2012

Tbdi0629 @Morton That’s funny! But then again, what’s the saying about minds that think alike….hmmm :) -7:09 AM May 2nd, 2012

McPhersonDoug @FlairWoodworks Really enjoying following ur VERY cool table build. Thanks for tweeting your progress. Great stuff. #woodchat -6:19 AM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tbdi0629 @Morton I had a set of Dominos that I’d sanded down too. I dyed my set red. #flairww -9:38 AM May 2nd, 2012

In Session 11, I did more work on the legs and began work on the stretcher-to-leg joinery.

Maple Trestle Table, Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL)

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside; and
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks I haven’t worked on the table for four days and I’m finally getting a chance to get back at it today! Follow along with #flairww. -2:24 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When I left off, I had just finished flattening the table top. Joinery between the two slabs comes next. #flairww -2:26 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve laid out on the faces where I want the mortises to be located. There will be three 3″-long mortises. #flairww -2:38 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Since I can use the same layout for the other side, I put pencil marks on my aluminum ruler. #flairww -2:41 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The layout of the second half was ridiculously easy. Now I need to flip over the top and separate the two halves. #flairww -2:44 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Maybe I should clean up some of these plane shavings first… #flairww  -2:48 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Two bags of shavings! #flairww -2:55 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks In the shavings, I found the transfer punch I’d used when I installed the battens. #flairww -2:57 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Well, that was kind of exciting. I didn’t break a horse, but I did knock over one. #flairww -3:02 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using a socket adapter in my drill to quicky remove the lag bolts. #flairww -3:05 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks They’re free! #flairww -3:09 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll be using a plunge router to cut the mortises. This is easiest with the surface being mortised in the horizontal position (and the slab vertical). #flairww -3:13 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Had I been able to get a @FestoolUSA Domino XL, I could have easily cut the mortises with the slabs in the horizontal position. #flairww -3:14 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I cannot imagine using a stationary machine such as a horizontal boring machine/slot mortiser to mortise these slabs. #flairww -3:15 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I want really deep mortises and my Milwaukee plunge router has a greater plunge capacity than my Porter Cable. #flairww -3:17 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my saddle square to transfer the layout lines from the face to the edge. #flairww -3:21 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use a large X to clearly mark which sections receive mortises. #flairww  -3:22 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I clamped a straight piece of wood to the router’s base to act as a fence. #flairww -3:25 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Why? I’m not positive that the slabs are of even thickness so I am using the face as a reference surface. #flairww -3:26 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s the distance from the face to the mortise that is important. I used the CS-2 because I’d like them to be roughly centred.#flairww -3:27 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks THAT’S where my CS-2 went! :-P Nice build; I’m having popcorn playing with Domizilla thinking how useful it would be #flairww -3:27 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy Thanks :) I hope @BridgeCityTools makes you a new CS-2 soon! #flairww -3:28 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Because of the live edge, I moved the edge of one mortise. #flairww -3:40 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks I like how you Xed out the X for the mortise. Is that a woodworking double negative? #flairww -3:53 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks More seriously, are you going to use the router horizontally or have you mounted the slab vertically like you did before? #flairww-3:53 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy I’ve got the slab clamped vertically to a sawhorse. #flairww -3:59 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve routed the first set of mortises. They are 2-1/2″ deep which is the capacity of my router bit. #flairww -4:00 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Unfortunately, my Milwaukee plunge router requires me to hold down a stiff plunge lock lever with my thumb in order to release the plunge lock. #flairww -4:01 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My thumb is quite sore after just three mortises… #flairww -4:01 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It was a fairly slow process to cut a mortise, too. #flairww -4:02 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And now I need to set up to rout the set of mortises on the other end of this slab. #flairww -4:05 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You can smell burnt wood from the friction of the non-fluted shank against the mortise walls. #flairww -4:06 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m using a 1/2″ diameter up-spiral router bit. I wouldn’t want to use a straight bit for deep mortises because they don’t clear chips as well. #flairww -4:07 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It took me over 2 minutes to rout each of the three mortises. #flairww -4:08 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I guess I’ll rout this set of mortises on my knees. #flairww -4:11 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I applied some DriCote to the router bit. It’s supposed to reduce friction and keep the bit clean. #flairww -4:15 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to see if I can defeat the sprung plunge lock on my router. #flairww -4:17 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks There’s the culprit! Remove the spring and I’m a happy woodworker! #flairww -4:19 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I bolted the lever back on, positioned where it is comfortable to operate. Here the plunge is locked. #flairww -4:22 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And I push the lever down to plunge freely! #flairww -4:23 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I might have broken this handle when I knocked over the saw horse. #flairww -4:27 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hmm… when the plunge mechanism is unlocked, there is noticeable play in one column. Before… #flairww -4:32 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks … and after. I don’t know if you can see it, but I can see and feel it. Not good. #flairww -4:33 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My Porter Cable has some wiggle too. It’s not as much but still significant at the end of a bit protruding 2-1/2″ from the collet. #flairww-4:34 PM Apr 30th, 2012

malphrusoxide: if you want a better way to measure runout, chuck up a piece of round stock. less tricky to see/measure than a bit. -4:35 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @malphrusoxide Good idea, but it’s plenty clear when you see it in person. I’m evaluating my options right now. #flairww -4:37 PM Apr 30th, 2012

malphrusoxide @FlairWoodworks gotcha. got very little experience with rebuilding routers, but i know the feeling. good luck! -4:38 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @malphrusoxide I’m thinking upgrade, not rebuild. I don’t think it’s a wear issue becuse it has so little use. Blame tolerances. #flairww -4:39 PM Apr 30th, 2012

malphrusoxide @FlairWoodworks i did the same thing. went from old craftsman to new bosch. = night & day. -4:40 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Nice. #flairww RT @malphrusoxide: @FlairWoodworks i did the same thing. went from old craftsman to new bosch. = night & day. -4:41 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @malphrusoxide I have a Bosch 1617EVS plunge router somewhere… gonna find it and see how it feels. #flairww -4:42 PM Apr 30th, 2012

malphrusoxide @FlairWoodworks cool. forget which model bosch i ended up with. was working against a deadline so i didn’t get to shop around like i prefer. -4:43 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I have no idea where the plunge base is. I never change the Bosch 1617 bases because it is very difficult. #flairww-4:46 PM Apr 30th, 2012

DyamiPlotke: my local tool monger has a number of used 3HP PC plunge routers in stock now if you need a new one. -4:52 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I found the plunge base and managed to swap over the router without any drama. The plunge feels good! #flairww -4:53 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Are they good? #flairww RT @DyamiPlotke: my local tool monger has a number of used 3HP PC plunge routers in stock now if you need a new one. -4:54 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The Bosch 1617EVS plunges about 2-3/8″ so it might work.#flairww -4:56 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This table will be for sale when it is complete. E-mail me if you are interested. #flairww -5:03 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks So far the cost is a Domino XL and OF1400 :) #flairww -5:04 PM Apr 30th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks I have 1 I bought used & like it equal 2 my Festool OF2000 Different feel but both very nice The PC is big & well balanced -5:05 PM Apr 30th, 2012

malphrusoxide @FlairWoodworks dominoXL v. domino… thoughts? worth the extra coin? -5:05 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @malphrusoxide Totally different applications. For me, the XL makes more sense. But I already have the DF-500. #flairww -5:08 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @malphrusoxide So for me, yes. #flairww -5:08 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To ensure the fence is positioned the same on my Bosch router, I first plunged the bit into an existing mortise. #flairww -5:16 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ok… my Bosch router is now set up. Next question: does the switch work? #flairww -5:18 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yes, it does work. #flairww -5:21 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here goes… mortise set 2… #flairww -5:23 PM Apr 30th, 2012

This video showed how I routed the mortises.  In this real-time video, I routed one of three mortises in this end of the slab.  There were 12 mortises in total.  (Duration – 3:07)

woodshaver101 @FlairWoodworks routing bits limit depth,but are precise,I tend to cut deep mortises with a mortise chisel. good luck -5:31 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks … and… done that set of mortises! #flairww -5:34 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @woodshaver101 How long would a 3″ long, 1/2″ wide, and 2-1/2″ deep take you to chop by hand? #flairww -5:36 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks So the second set of mortises took 10 minutes… about 30% longer than the first set. #flairww -5:38 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Before routing this mortise, I should check that it won’t go into this cavity. #flairww -5:43 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I moved the mortise in by 3/4″ to be safe. #flairww -5:48 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Since these pieces are a little awkward to turn upside-down to knock the sawdust out of the mortises, I’m using a stick to scoop chips towards the vacuum hose. #flairww -6:02 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s the third set of mortises done. I added a 1/2″ deep haunch and will do the same with the others. #flairww -6:06 PM Apr 30th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks I have that same set up. Do you have problems getting the motor into the bases? Is the side of your motor all scratched up? -6:06 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster Yes and yes! I took some fine wet/dry paper (dry) and sanded the body smooth. It’s better but not great. #flairww -6:07 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The last mortise has been routed. Now I need to clear out the mortises and make floating tenons! #flairww -6:40 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My crevice nozzle, very conveniently, is a friction fit in the 1/2″ wide mortises. #flairww -6:41 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks So the mortises I cut with my Milwaukee were 2-1/2″ deep and the mortises cut with my Bosch were only 2-1/8″ deep. #flairww -6:50 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to extend the bit further out of the collet (still with a full 1″ in the collet) and make the mortises deeper. #flairww -6:51 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay, NOW the routing is done. #flairww -7:05 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Like my Milwaukee, my Bosch also has a spring-loaded plunge lock. It’s not as stiff as the Milwaukee, but my thumb’s still sore.#flairww -7:06 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I found some maple for the floating tenons. The next step is to plane it to the correct thickness. #flairww -7:12 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To ensure the floating tenons were the right thickness, I planed a test piece ahead of the good stock. #flairww -7:59 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I then used the bandsaw to define the tenons. I’ll use a fret saw to finish the job. #flairww -8:00 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks But first… dinner! #flairww -8:00 PM Apr 30th, 2012

woodshaver101 @FlairWoodworks that should hold good.  -8:32 PM Apr 30th, 2012

woodshaver101 @FlairWoodworks about 5 min I’m a mortise cutting mad man -8:33 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks That is really fast! Can you take a video? RT @woodshaver101: @FlairWoodworks about 5 min I’m a mortise cutting mad man -8:38 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m back in the shop finishing off the floating, haunched tenons. #flairww -9:04 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here is one tenon complete and partially dry-fit. It’s a friction fit and will be a struggle to remove. #flairww -9:24 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got the second floating haunched tenon cut as well. I think they need to be a bit thinner though. #flairww -9:39 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I ran the tenons through the thickness sander a few times to get it to the perfect thickness. #flairww -9:55 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks That’s a big tenon! It makes XL Dominos look diminutive.#flairww -10:03 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now I get to put the two halves back together for a dry fit with the tenons! This is EXCITING! #flairww -10:07 PM Apr 30th, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks I always like dry fitting time – it’s when you really get to see if it’s going to work and what it will look like. #flairww -10:09 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan I’m excited and nervous. Will my deadblow hammer be seeing a lot of work? #flairww -10:11 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks you even make tenons outta slabs! :) nah no heavy work with the deadblow… you’ve thought of everything (I think :) #flairww -10:13 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy Hey – this isn’t doll furniture! #flairww -10:15 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The deadblow hammer is for scale. If this doesn’t impress you, I want to see what you do! #flairww -10:17 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The first joint went together easily…. #flairww -10:19 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The second side is going to need some clamping pressure.#flairww -10:21 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I wish I had some really big clamps right now. #flairww -10:23 PM Apr 30th, 2012

luggermatt @FlairWoodworks Ratchet strap around the end? -10:24 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If it comes to that, maybe… #flairww RT @luggermatt:@FlairWoodworks Ratchet strap around the end? -10:25 PM Apr 30th, 2012

luggermatt @FlairWoodworks I use them a lot on the boat. Good for ‘encouraging’ big joints into place ;-) -10:26 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks With one slab butted against my workbench which was butted against the wall, I was able to use my deadblow to close the joint. – 10:29 PM Apr 30, 2012

FlairWoodworks Next, the countertop connectors are installed and tightened.#flairww -10:35 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Then the battens are reinstalled… #flairww -10:40 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I feel like a kid on Christmas day! #flairww -10:40 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The dry-fit tenons worked brilliantly. There’s no more than a paper’s thickness in deviation between the two slabs on the surface. #flairww-10:45 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now… should I glue it? #flairww -10:45 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to clean up the shop while I ponder that. #flairww-10:46 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks yes :) #flairww -10:46 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You’re probably right. Might be an intense glue-up! I’ll have to get some slow-cure glue. RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks yes :)#flairww -10:47 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Oh definitely a slow cure; do you have a slow-cure epoxy? #flairww -10:48 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks 5-minute? Um… no. RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks Oh definitely a slow cure; do you have a slow-cure epoxy? #flairww -10:49 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Glue the tenons into one slab then you can take your time to get the other in position; wet w/glue slab 2s mortises #flairww-10:56 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks once in position but before pushing together, apply glue to the tenons then push like hell, man! #flairww -10:56 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy That’s definitely how I’d do it! #flairww -10:58 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks I hear my neighbors chanting ‘Chris!’ ‘Chris!’ ‘Chris!’ I think they want to see glue-up. Man up. :) #flairww -10:59 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy Oh, you…. #flairww -10:59 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks It was either that or a Canucks joke… #flairww-11:00 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy I don’t think I actually need a slow-curing glue, thought it could make it less stressful if I have trouble. #flairww -11:01 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks On edge, the table is up to my chest! #flairww -11:03 PM Apr 30th, 2012

luggermatt @FlairWoodworks Jolly good :-) -11:03 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Then do your other idea and mix your own TB Extended; first slab do as usual; second wet mortises with TB-Ex #flairww -11:03 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks When you wet the tenons just before pushing it together, use normal TB; home-brew extended wont skin in the mortise#flairww -11:04 PM Apr 30th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Get your brother to snap a pic of the table on edge with you behind it or peeking through the center #flairww -11:04 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s not so easy to get this spring-loaded plunge-lock lever back reinstalled! #flairww -11:34 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay, it wasn’t that hard – it just took some lateral thinking.#flairww -11:36 PM Apr 30th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m done in the shop for the night. Now for some video and blog editing. #flairww -11:45 PM Apr 30th, 2012

The top is nearing completion.  The legs and feet have yet to be started.  What’s next?  In Session 10, I began work on the legs!

I would be delighted if you left a comment.

Maple Trestle Table, Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring; and
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks I’m back in the shop! #flairww -10:39 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I swept the shavings from my surfacing session into a pile.#flairww -11:09 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I started laying out possible feet for the trestle table, but I need to first determine the width of the top. #flairww -11:24 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s no fun lifting the slabs onto sawhorses by myself so I cleared the floor. #flairww -11:28 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I laid down strips of wood on which to lay the slabs and allow clearance for my fingers! #flairww -11:29 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I must be crazy to be building such a large table in my shop.#flairww -11:33 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I need to cut the pieces to join them together so they look something like this. #flairww -11:39 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks As much as I like the continuation of the main bole, it would make seating awkward. #flairww -11:43 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The drawing bow is a great tool. The strap holds the curvature. I just wish I had a longer one. #flairww -11:44 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I hold down the drawing bow with one hand and transfer its shape with a pencil in the other. #flairww -11:47 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I work one short section at a time to avoid flexing the drawing bow with pressure from the pencil. #flairww -11:48 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A pencil line can be hard to see so I draw a squiggly line on the waste side using the drawing bow as a stop. #flairww -11:49 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Standard jigsaw blades aren’t long enough to cut these 2-1/2″-thick slabs so I bought longer blades. #flairww -11:56 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The black blade is about 1/4″ too short. I have to use the loooong blade which is 6-3/4″ long overall. #flairww -11:59 AM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I elevated the slab using I-beams (H-beams if you’re French) to provide clearance for the blade. #flairww -12:05 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I got the idea of I-beams from my buddy Serge. He’s said to be the most prolific tipster! Serge’s blog#flairww -12:07 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m not sue why, but I’m a little nervous about this cut. Here goes! #flairww -12:10 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I decided to redraw the cut line with a black marker before making the cut. I feel a little less nervous now. #flairww -12:16 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One cut down… #flairww -12:24 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I pretty much ignored my layout lines and just cut a smooth curve. #flairww -12:27 PM Apr 19th, 2012

(I recorded this video to show what a cut in 2-1/4″ thick Western maple is like.  I used a Festool Trion PS 300 EQ Jigsaw which draws 6 amps with a Trion S145/4FSG blade set for a maximum orbital stroke for a quick cut.  Duration – 0:55)

FlairWoodworks This is the bade after one cut. The teeth at the very top are a little blue from heat build up. #flairww -12:30 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The saw seemed to cut more slowly with it set for a full orbital stroke than none at all. #flairww -12:32 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My curve was pretty even except for this bump. #flairww -12:35 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It was at the bump that my cut was the most out of square. I’m not sure what happened there. #flairww -12:37 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I broke a blade. I have no idea why I broke. The cut seemed to be going fine. Any ideas? #flairww -12:55 PM Apr 19th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks your lucky you have a festool jigsaw, if you had a normal one that “out of square” would have looked like a 30 degree bevel! -12:50 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster My old jigsaw didn’t even have enough power to cut 2″ maple. #flairww -12:57 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ha ha ha!! I take back my comment about the saw cutting more slowly on full orbital than none… I read the scale backwards. #flairww-12:59 PM Apr 19th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks heat weakened metal? -1:05 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t think so. It didn’t bend, it broke. It’s still as straight as an arrow. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks heat weakened metal? -1:06 PM Apr 19th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks why does it look so black right above the break -1:08 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I believe that is from the carbide guides. #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks why does it look so black right above the break -1:09 PM Apr 19th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks ohhhh… then I’m clueless -1:11 PM Apr 19th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks so does this mean your S.O.L until you get a new one? -1:12 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I bought a pack of 5 for $30. #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks so does this mean your S.O.L until you get a new one? -1:16 PM Apr 19th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks Im that Guy that would only buy 1 and then be running back out after it broke #lame -1:20 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I got interrupted by a half-hour phone call. Back at work now.#flairww -1:40 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is coming along nicely! #flairww -1:48 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m working on designing and building a jig to cut the joints. The plywood pieces will serve as the guides. #flairww -2:03 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Pretty nice-looking for a quick and dirty jig. #flairww -2:15 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m set up to joint the first mating surface of this slab.#flairww -2:35 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is a better angle at which to work. #flairww -2:37 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Oops. I forgot that I had planned to use the jig and a template bit in a router to joint the mating surfaces. #flairww -2:49 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My biggest template bit isn’t long enough to make the cut in one pass. #flairww -2:56 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is as far as I can work with the router. I’ll finish by hand. #flairww -3:02 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I could remove the plywood to gain more depth, but it is my reference surface and the angle of the router might change without it. #flairww -3:03 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I forgot to close the drawer before routing. I also “forgot” to use a Festool router with dust collection. #flairww -3:05 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using a chisel to pare away the waste. The routed area provides solid registration. #flairww -3:09 PM Apr 19th, 2012

HighRockWW @FlairWoodworks I can laugh only because I have done the same thing before… -3:12 PM Apr 19th, 2012 RT FlairWoodworks I forgot to close the drawer before routing.

FlairWoodworks One surface done. #flairww -3:15 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The second surface is now jointed as well. #flairww -3:26 PM Apr 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Lunch time! #flairww -3:27 PM Apr 19th, 2012

Keep reading!  Session 4 is the next instalment.

Review of the Mirka CEROS

Background

I have had the 6″ Mirka CEROS (Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander) for about a year.  Although I have not used it in a production shop environment, I used it extensively for sanding sculptural work and, to a lesser degree, for flat surfaces.  I have had absolutely no issues with it.

When I purchased the Mirka CEROS, it was only available as a 5″ or 6″ sander with a 5 mm orbit.  The 5 mm orbit is for general work.  Since then, Mirka has released two more 6″ CEROS models – one with a 2.5 mm stroke for finish sanding and one with an 8 mm stroke for more aggressive sanding.  I do not believe these are currently available in North America.

Mirka CEROS in Systainer

Details

The sanding action is very smooth and the DC motor is powerful and reasonably quiet (68 dB, which is similar to a piano practice).  It is lightweight and well-balanced, making it comfortable to use with either one hand or two.  The power cord is quite flexible and permanently attached to the sander.  Mirka sells a hose for the sanders, which is more flexible and lighter (for improved ergonomics) than the Festool Anti-Static D27 hose.  The Mirka CEROS has a round dust port with female threads to accept a 1-1/4″ diameter threaded hose.

Although the Mirka sanders closely resemble pneumatic ones, they are powered by a maintenance-free, brushless DC motor and do not require a large air compressor.  The sanders have a 14′-long power cord that plugs into one end of a 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ x 3-1/4″ transformer.  A 6′-long power cord runs from the other end of the transformer into a standard AC outlet.

Mirka CEROS Package

Sizes

The Mirka CEROS is available with either a 125mm (5″) or 150mm (6″) diameter pad.  The smaller sander weighs 870 grams (1.9 pounds) and the larger weighs 920 grams (2 pounds).  I think the 6″ version is more practical not only because it can sand a larger area more quickly, but because the larger pad has a greater distance between the edge of the pad and its body which is useful when working in tight quarters.

5″ and 6″ Mirka CEROSs

Speed Control

The speed of the sanding pad can be adjusted from 4,000-10,000 RPM in 1,000 RPM increments using the buttons on the top-rear of the sander.  Between the speed control buttons is a power button for safety to prevent the sander from starting accidentally.  The paddle switch on top is pressed and held down to operate the tool.  By feathering the paddle, you can control the speed as well but it is very sensitive and not a very reliable way to run the sander at a lower speed.  Instead, it functions as a soft-start feature, of sorts.

Mirka CEROS, Top View

Critique

One addition that I would like to see is a pad brake.  After releasing the paddle switch with the pad turning at 10,000 RPM, the pad continues to spin for about 19 seconds.

Video Review

This first video explains and demonstrates some of the features of the Mirka CEROS.  (Duration: 10:19.)

(Note:  Since recording this video, a reader has pointed out that the CEROS set to run at the lowest speed will indeed draw enough current when under moderate load to run a Festool Dust Extractor set to auto-start.)

In these two posts, you can read more about how I:

  1. combined the Mirka CEROS’s transformer with my Festool CT26 Dust Extractor; and
  2. modified the Festool D27 hose’s tool end to fit the Mirka CEROS’s dust collection port.

Video Demonstration

This second video is a demonstration of the Mirka CEROS.  In the first part, I sand the flat top of a bench with 80, 120, 180, 220, and 320-grit Abranet discs.  In the latter part of the video, I demonstrate how I sand contoured parts with and without the foam interface pad.  (Duration: 13:43.)

Summary

Consider this sander because it:

  1. is powerful and easy to control;
  2. runs quietly and smoothly;
  3. feels good because it is compact and well-balanced;
  4. requires very little maintenance because it has few wearing components; and
  5. does not require a large air compressor to run (as a pneumatic sander does).

Warranty

The Mirka CEROS comes with a 3-year warranty.  You can download the warranty information as well as manual from the Mirka CEROS website.

Accessories

Also, check out the Abranet abrasive discs made by Mirka.  The discs last a long time and don’t require alignment of any dust collection holes.  I would recommend getting the 80-, 120-, and 180-grit sanding discs as well as a Pad Saver (I called it a platen protector in the video).  If you work with non-flat surface, I would also recommend looking at the 10 mm (3/8″) Multi Interface Pads

Suppliers

(I do not receive any compensation for what I write and the list of suppliers is by no means an exhaustive one; I’ve simply listed some to get you started.)

Mirka Part Numbers

*Some dealers sell these parts individually.
**8295610111     150 mm (6″) 67-Hole Pad Savers, Pkg of 5 work with the 150 mm CEROS as well.

Adapting a Porter Cable 890-Series Plunge Router to fit a Festool D27 Dust Extraction Hose

Porter Cable 890 Plunge Router with Dust Collection Hose

Since I don’t yet own a Festool router, my Porter-Cable 890 Plunge Router showed the most promise of containing the mess.  Dust and chips were drawn into the port built into the base (located behind the depth stop turret) and up through the column.  My only shop vacuum/dust extractor was a Festool CT26 and I had a D27 (27mm diameter) hose attached to it so I set out to make the two work together.  (I also had a high-volume dust collector that is used with my stationary machinery.)

Point of Dust Collection

The Festool D27 hose stretched a little to fit over the very top of the column but it was far from secure and could very easily come free.

Festool D27 Hose and Router's Dust Collection Port

I found a plastic pipe fitting that fit inside the D27 hose nicely and turned a round tenon to fit inside the router’s column.  I chamfered the bottom inside edge to allow the chips and dust to pass through easily.

The adapter press-fits into the top of the column.

Adapter inserted into dust collection column

The D27 hose fit nicely over the adapter.

Hose over adapter

For the most secure fit, I pressed the hose end all the way down onto the top of the router’s column.

Hose fully seated over adapter and dust collection column

Since the Porter-Cable didn’t use the Plug-It system, I used the same Velcro straps that held the Plug-It cord to the D27 hose to hold the cord back and out of the way.

Plug-It Cord tied back

Hand-Carving Threads (to Connect a Mirka CEROS to a Festool 27mm Hose)

To see how I installed the CEROS transformer on my Festool CT26 dust extractor, click here.

This article shows how to layout and carve threads in a rubber hose end-piece.  However, the same techniques can be used to carve male threads in wood or another material.

Mirka CEROS (Photo from Ultimate Tools)

The Mirka CEROS (Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander) has a dust extraction port with internal threads that screw directly onto the end of a Festool 27mm hose to prevent it from dislodging accidentally.  However, that means the tapered rubber connector on the end of the hose needs to be removed.  This is not a difficult procedure but it is not something I want to do every time I switch between the sander and another tool.

Photo by Matthew Schenker

I know of four solutions to avoid having to install or remove the connector when using it with the CEROS:

  1. Jam the connector in and hope it stays;
  2. Buy another hose and dedicate it to the CEROS;
  3. Make an adapter using a short length of 27mm hose and some fittings; or
  4. Cut threads on the connector.
For the first few months of use, I simply jammed the connector into the dust collection port of the CEROS.  I tapered the end to make it easier to insert. However, it would pop out occasionally.  I couldn’t justify buying another hose and didn’t like the adapter.

Tired of fighting to get it to stay connected with just a press-fit, I decided to carve threads on the adapter to secure it into the port.  I used two carving tools, a rule (double square) and black electrical tape.

The first critical step was layout.  I wrapped tape around the connector, ensuring that the distance from the edge of the previous layer to that of the next layer matched the pitch of the port’s internal threads (which also matched the external threads of the 27mm hose).  I double-checked that the spacing was consistent and that I’d laid out the thread with the correct direction of rotation.

Next, I used a V-shaped carving gouge (#12 sweep, 2mm wide) along the edges of the tape to transfer the layout lines through to the connector.  Then I peeled off the tape so I could better see the V-cuts.

Following the V-cuts, I used a veining tool (#11 sweep, 3mm wide) to cut the threads.

Finally, I tried to thread the connector into the port.  When simply press fit, there was 7/8″ of exposed connector between the first shoulder and port.

Once threaded in fully, only 1/2″ of the connector was exposed between the first shoulder and port.  The threads mated very well and there was no chance of the hose disconnecting accidentally.  And I was able to still use the hose with other tools without a problem.

Combining a Mirka CEROS with a Festool CT26

To see how I connected the Festool D27 hose to the CEROS, click here.

The Mirka CEROS (compact electric random orbital sander) is different from most electric sanders because it is powered by a brushless DC motor and requires a transformer.  The sander, transformer and cord come packed in a Systainer 2 (2 refers to the size).  Systainers make transporting tools and accessories easy but they are not as helpful for someone who doesn’t work on-site.  In fact, they are actually somewhat of a hinderance as they take a while to set up and repack.

This was what I did to make the sander more convenient for use in my shop.

I always used the CEROS with the Festool CT26 E HEPA Dust Extractor so it made sense to keep them together.  I wanted to store the transformer onboard the vacuüm but there was no room so I decided that the best place for the transformer was on the back of the vacuüm.

First, I unscrewed the stock cord storage bracket from the back of the vacuüm.

To secure the transformer, I milled tongues on two clamping blocks.  The tongues slipped into the bottom grooves in the transformer.  The transformer’s bottom rested against the backer board which was fastened to the back of the vacuüm with the screws from the cord storage bracket.

I made the upper clamping block large so that I could also carve a trough into it to hold the vacuüm’s power cord.  Then I made a lower cord wrap block and fastened it to the lower half of the vacuum using a pair of nuts and bolts.

All hooked up, the presence of the rear-mounted transformer is hardly noticeable.  This modification makes the overall length of the vacuüm only two inches longer and ensures the sander is always ready to go within seconds.