Author Topic: There has to be a better way  (Read 2718 times)

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Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 720
There has to be a better way
« on: May 14, 2018, 08:04 PM »
I'm working on building 3 night stands that will include rustic hickory elements and match in with some existing craftsman furniture.  The legs and lower shelf on each night stand will be hickory and the top casework, including a drawer, will be in QSWO dyed/stained to match the other craftsman furniture in the room.  As shown in the photo I need to cut a notch out of each piece of hickory that will be a leg of the night stand.  This notch will then attach to a corner of the upper casework (as shown in the slightly blurry photo).

My question is this.  I am trying to cut the notch with a Vecturo.  It is very slow going.  The blade really doesn't want to cut through the hard hickory very well and it produces a lot of smoke (as hickory will do when exposed to friction from a fast moving blade).  After the notch is cut there is a decent amount of handwork to clean it up.

Is there a better way to cut this notch?  Many of the standard ways I would attack this just don't seem to be practical because the natural shape of a hickory branch doesn't lend itself to woodworking in the same way a piece of dimensioned lumber does.

Also, I had to have the hickory shipped in by freight from Tennessee; which was quite expensive.  I purchased a little spare wood in case of a mistake but I really can't afford to make any on this project as ordering replacement wood with another freight charge will be cost prohibitive.

Thanks in advance for the help.

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Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 636
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 08:25 PM »
Clamp it to a board (jig) and run it thru the table saw. Set up a stop so you don't cut too far. Finish the corner with a saw, chisel, or the Vecturo.

Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 720
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 08:58 PM »
Thanks @Peter_C.  I thought about that but the notch is only 5" log and 11/16" deep.  The curvature of a 10" table saw blade means I'm just not cutting away very much. 

I thought about trying to setup a table above the hickory log and cutting it with compact circular saw (4 1/2" blade).  That would seem to cut more of the hickory than a table saw with the larger diameter blade and, since I'm working from the top, I can see what I'm doing vs just having to trust my stop on the table saw.  I don't own one of these compact saws and don't have any experience with one.  Just not really sure if I'm trading one set of problems for another.

Thanks again

Offline shanegrilah

  • Posts: 24
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 09:20 PM »
If the ends are square to the notch, could you make a router jig with a leg on it that could be screwed to the end or clamped across the ends? Using a plunge router with a pattern bit that would ride on the edge of a slot to cut one edge of the notch. Other end of the jig could have a mounted v-block that is shimmed to compensate for the odd shape then clamped. Sorry for the crude description.

Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 720
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 09:43 PM »
Thanks @shanegrilah.  I appreciate the idea.  If this were a normal work piece I would run a router down it in a second with a stop block.  But nothing is really square.  The end are flat but what can you say they are square to when the work piece goes in various directions and every one is different. 

Everything I ever learned about wood working was all about doing your prep properly so that you work pieces were straight and square.  This is just crazy stuff to work with. 

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 636
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 10:54 PM »
Another option might be to use the router, but in a custom table that is super short with a homemade fence. Think of buying or making a plate and having the plate as the edge. The short edge of the plate. A fence could be a 2x4" or 4x4" with clamps. Work in stages doing all 4 legs per stage. May still need a jig to hold it as they look rough and might grab on the table edge as you try to feed them into the bit.

Again with a stop. You can also got further down the log and cut the ends later to length.

Hopefully you have plenty of trees laying around to practice on...

Others will probably have some good ideas too. Interesting project :)

Edit: FWIW I often use a 7 1/4" blade in my table saw for cutting aluminum as it slows the blades speed down over a 10". Still a viable option as the important part that people see would be cut by the table saw blade.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 12:22 AM by Peter_C »

Online Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 430
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 08:02 AM »
Perhaps a multi tool?

Secure either the lumber or the tool and slowly dig into da wood.


You learn everyday, I just realized what the Vecturo is.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 09:18 AM by Mario Turcot »
Mario

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 66
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 08:31 AM »
Maybe a band saw?  Even a small benchtop unit might do it for you.

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2472
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 09:11 AM »
I like the idea of the rough hickory legs  with the finished  piece...

Here's a simple drawing to explain how I would cut them...

Make a 1/2" base to hold the leg that you can move through your router table.  Perhaps 8" wide by 14" long or so.

Leave the leg long and use a screw through the base (in red) to anchor one end of the leg.  I might use a drywall screw to capture the end of the leg offset from your needed dado to clear the bit..  Use super glue to mount the pivot base in place and use a simple 1/2" clamping piece with a  carriage bolt and nut and washer to clamp the leg in place with the red screw as your pivot point to align the leg to the cut you want based on any bow, thickness changes, etc.

Run the jig against your router table fence (in green) with a stop block at the length of cut you want to inset the dado.  I assumed a 3/4 router bit (in purple), but it could be a 1/4" bit to take out less material.  Shift the router table fence and run again to do a repeat cut until you get the size dado you need in the corner.

Use the Vecturo or a chisel to clean up the inset corner at the bottom as needed. 

Once cut, trim the leg length to cut out the screw hole you used as a pivot point.

Repeat for each leg.  This should be safe and repeatable and give you a square cut for the corner relief.

Hope this is clear -


neil

« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 10:07 AM by neilc »

Offline TomGadwa1

  • Posts: 396
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 09:51 AM »
If you are good with one I would use a chain saw as it is the perfect shape for the task you are trying to do! Also it is the tool most suited to working with the wood in its natural state. Two quick longitudinal cuts and then finish off the small work at the end with the vecturo! A simple and efficient way to go!
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Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3394
Re: There has to be a better w
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 09:51 AM »
Since it’s a rustic style why not do it the way a rustic carpenter would?

First redesign the location of the metered apron to pass through the middle of the leg (instead of the leg being attached to the outside corner of the apron like a decorative application).

Then remove the waste with a drill and clean up with a chisel.

Use dowels as cross-pins to secure the leg to the apron.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3394
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2018, 09:53 AM »
Tom’s chain saw solution is what a modern rustic carpenter would do.

Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 720
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2018, 10:51 AM »
Thanks All.  I'm going to look into the router sled solution

@neilc - the drawing was awesome.  I wish I was that good with autocad/sketchup type sofware

The challenge is securing the work pieces properly.  The logs are covered in bark and you have to be very careful not to damage it.  I currently use a big chain vise with the chain inside a piece of vinyl tubing and the work piece wrapped in pieces of a yoga mat.  This works great when, for example, cutting tenons on the end of logs but wouldn't work at all for a router jig.  The padding needed to keep from damaging the bark keeps the work piece from really being 100% secure; which I feel is really needed if you are running the work piece through a router bit. 

I'll have to try some things to see how well I can secure the work piece. 

Thanks again everyone for all the ideas!

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4696
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2018, 11:47 AM »
I'd use a Sawzall with an 8" or an 11" Milwaukee AX blade or similar. The AX blades are .080" thick so they flex a lot less than a standard blade. It'll give you a nice straight cut that can be cleaned up with a chisel if needed. Make sure you bore a hole at the end of where each cut will be so that the Sawzall blade has some end clearance.

Mount the hickory securely in a vise and start off real slow. The first order of business is to get a track started in the hickory so the Sawzall blade will follow it easily. Once a track is cut you can pick up the pace with the Sawzall.

Offline Z48LT1

  • Posts: 77
  • My excuse is I never expected to be caught.
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 11:52 AM »
There are a number of special tools and blades for use with angle grinders, for instance, that are demonstrated on YouTube.  Search on "wood carving power tools" and check out videos with Arbortech brand cutters.  YouTube's rabbit hole style guidance may steer you to other solutions.

Good luck - Gary

Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 720
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2018, 12:53 PM »
Interesting.  I've seen a jig that allowed you to tenons in logs but hadn't considered other uses of an angle grinder.

Thanks @Z48LT1

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2472
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2018, 01:10 PM »

The challenge is securing the work pieces properly.  The logs are covered in bark and you have to be very careful not to damage it.  I currently use a big chain vise with the chain inside a piece of vinyl tubing and the work piece wrapped in pieces of a yoga mat.  This works great when, for example, cutting tenons on the end of logs but wouldn't work at all for a router jig.  The padding needed to keep from damaging the bark keeps the work piece from really being 100% secure; which I feel is really needed if you are running the work piece through a router bit. 

Try the router jig with a couple of kitchen sponges double stick taped above and below the bark piece.  I think it would hold it securely and not damage the bark.  My reason for the drywall screw was to secure the piece at one end and then clamp from the other.  I don't think you will see movement if you take small bites with the router bit.

Offline Koamolly

  • Posts: 43
Re: There has to be a better way
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2018, 02:15 PM »
Maybe lagging all four legs standing, as they will be constructed, referenced to each other, to a piece of plywood.  Then making a simple guide for router that is screwed to ply next to each leg.