The space between projects is always an interesting one. There’s a sense of disorientation, for me at least, and a little bit of loss. When you’ve been focused on the provess and goal for a long time, being without that focus can be disorienting. Since finishing the nail cabinet, I decided to work on some essential hand woodworking layout and reference tools to fill the gap between larger projects. The first up was a short straight edge from a scrap of maple I had lying around from my moxon vise build. I decided to make a couple of thumbnail ends and an ogee-like shape at the top for a finger hold.
I cut these with a coping saw and then used a couple of rasps to clean up the shape. I have a nicholson rat-tail and a Narex half-round. Both of which work fine and aren’t that expensive. I did further cleanup with some metal files. The endgrain of this maple responded really well to the file. Since this straightedge is only 1/4 inch wide you would think a 1/2 chisel would be enough to clean up the long sides. However, I had the best luck with my 2 in wide chisel. I think it let me feel if I was tilting and it also let me skew cut along the length.
After the profile was shaped, I cut a finger recess with a gouge. This worked OK, but it wasn’t very straight or even. I used a curved scraper to straigten and smooth the groove. This was super critical because I couldn’t cut the groove with the gouge without tearing out. Curved scrapers are awesome and can be made from straight scapers with some judicious grinding.
The next item was some winding sticks. I made these from quartersawn sapele that I picked up at woodcraft. Not a cheap way to do it, but I wanted some dark wood. The sticks are frequently triangle shaped because, I think, they are cut from one piece of wood. That’s how sellers approached his. My wood wasn’t thick enough to do that, so I cut it in half and the ripped the angle.
I cleaned up the cut on my sticking board, which let me run an angled jointer over this thin stick of wood. If you haven’t made a sticking board, do it. It’s an incredibly useful piece of kit.
Then came the inlay of a couple of lighter wood strips. I chose some quartersawn maple for a nice understated ray fleck. I defined the inlay recess with marking knives and a cutting gauge and then cleaned out the recess with a sharp chisel. A small router plane might have helped a lot here. At least made the process faster.
The inlay material was again cut from the moxon leftovers and then planed down to about 3/32 or so just using my smoothing plane and the bench stop. It was kinda scary planing at the toothed hook with a very thin piece, but as long as you press down hard before planing forward the part stays put. I then glued it into the 1/16 in-deep inlay recess and planed it flush with my block plane after the glue dried.
There are some gaps, but overall I am pretty stoked with my first inlay attempt. One down side was that the sapele warped a little after gluing. I think the water in the glue caused this and I am hoping it will die down over time. The warp is along the length and doesn’t appear to impair use. Just looks bad.
This was a lot of fun and a nice exercise in precision planing. Highly recommended.