Spent some time in the shop this morning, and got the mortises chopped on the Shaker Dog Food Stand. It’s easy to forget just how much work it takes to do different things. Cutting four mortises in the top of this piece probably took, I don’t know for sure, but maybe an hour and a half. I’m sure I could ask my upstairs neighbors and they could tell me exactly how long I was banging away this Saturday morning (I piddled around doing other things before starting in on the mortises at 8 a.m.).
I started out by drilling small holes through at the four corners of each mortise. This step really wasn’t necessary: the tenons are wedged and quick pencil marks measuring the widths would have been good enough. This way though I had a chance to use my new hand drill.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen or read someone talk about doing this, but I always find myself cutting out the outline of my mortises (wide ones like these that are going to visible, anyway). I watch the way the wood splits to the sides of my chisel, and worry about it going past the outline of my mortise. I like to imagine that my cuts stop this from occurring.
Something I don’t know – hopefully in this photo you can see what I’m talking about: is there something I’m doing that causes the wood to rip away inside this joint? It won’t be visible, and the joint is surely strong enough to handle the strain, but I feel like this shouldn’t happen.
I am quickly getting to a point where I can’t imagine working without rasps. I used to get into these mortises with the chisel and make small adjustments so the tenons fit. With the rasp I have much more control over how much material I remove. It’s also much easier to tell if the surface I’m making is actually flat.
There’s still a lot to do yet, but the project is taking shape.