My ultimate goal is to make hardwood chairs 100% on the ShopBot CNC router, but for the ShopBotChair version 1.0 I need to do a few things by hand while I refine my process.
After cutting the legs out, I sanded off the tabs that I set to hold the pieces down while they were being cut. Then I cut to length the four pieces of wood that were to be the side and front aprons.
I learned how to use TechShop’s Tenon Jig and cut out the tenons to the size of my mortise pockets in the legs. I definitely learned a lot in this process and if I have to do tenons by hand again they will come out much better.
I don’t have pictures of me cutting the tenons, but that’s a tenon jig that holds the wood vertically over the SawStop table saw.
Once the tenons were done I set out to learn the mortising machine, which is a drill press with more leverage and uses a round bit in a square pointed sheath. It makes square holes, it’s hard to imagine, so here’s a picture of a mortising bit!
And here’s a mortising machine:
They came out pretty well and cleaned up nicely with some hand chisels. For ShopBot Chair v2.0 these mortise pockets will (or should hopefully) be done on the ShopBot. The difficulty is that the ShopBot can only make vertical cuts, so the pieces with top and side mortise pockets will need to be ShopBot mortised, ShopBot cut out, then turned by me and re-secured to the table. Then, another custom toolpath will be run to cut out the mortise pocket.
A finished mortise on the axis the ShopBot couldn’t touch.
As you can see, I’ve been using digital calipers constantly and checking my work along the way. I’ve had to make tons of adjustments on the fly, I won’t go into them all, but I’ve spent a few hours reworking files and approaches when “what’s on paper” differs from “what’s real life.”
This project has encompassed many of the machines in the TechShop woodshop and it will touch on everything except maybe the wood lathe by the time I’m done. It’s given me a much better understanding and confidence using so many machines. I know there is still a lot to learn, but I’m excited about what’s to come.
Stay tuned for part 3 where I will either be writing about how I used the Jointer and glued together wood for the seat OR how I used my just-ordered-today ball nose endmill to cut the relief “U” shape on the seat backs.