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Building the frame

It always seems to take longer than I planned. I planned to complete the doors over the weekend. Hah! At least I think I solved one issue that had been preoccupying me for weeks.

Last time out I completed the curved rails of one of the doors. Today I completed the rails of the other door.

Actually, I built three … I managed to bust one.

Too much downforce with too much rail extended from the vise. A lesson learned.

I also found a short cut. After the mortice gauge …

instead of chopping into the lines to deepen them, it was easier to knife them instead. Support the knife with a finger as a fence.

After grooving the rails, we now have two sets of doors that look like this …

So what was the issue that was giving me sleepless nights?

Joining the rails and stiles is not a straightforward matter. Firstly, The grain in the rails is diagonal at the curved ends. A traditional tenon will be too weak and break. Secondly, the frame is slimline by design, but the reality is that the pieces are 30mm wide and 20mm deep. Will the frame be strong and rigid enough to hold up a heavy-ish solid wood panel? What type of hinges will work best?

I decided that the strongest connection would be a loose tenon joint. This would enable the tenon to be made of the same Karri/Jarrah (whatever it is) but with straight-grained pieces.

I began by cutting one end of the rails square. Both rails were cut together on the tablesaw since they must match angles to avoid any twist occurring.

Here is what one looks like.

Note that I plan to have a 1/16” gap between the end of the panel and the rail and stile. Any comments on this? With a view to expansion, that is. This Karri/Jarrah is not expected to move much. It is old, hard and Perth has low humidity.

Below is the offending grain direction …

Making the loose tenon joint. First mark out the width of the mortice (same as the ¼” wide groove) …

I have left 1/8” below the groove and a ¼” at the outer wall, which will reduce to 1/8” as 1/8” is required at the outer edge to recess the hinge (see later). Currently, this leaves a ¾” wide tenon.

It is important to ensure that the tenon is square and consistent so that the stile does not twist. I decided to drill out the waste first, and used my Stanley #59 doweling guide first …

before chiselling out the remainder.

There is a time for power tools, and now was it. The stiles needed blind grooves. I have done this before with hand tools but today it was much easier to do with a router … no, not my favourite Veritas, but one of my vintage Elus!

It made sense that the mortices could be made at the same time. They were squared off (in the picture below, one is and one is yet to be).

Of course there is a long way to go, and I have run out of time this weekend, but I could not just leave it without a look. So I cut a temporary loose tenon to try out the fit …

then pushed two sides together …

I think it is going to work ..

But will it be strong enough?

Hinges? At this time I am considering Brusso Offset Pivot Hinges (these are for flush mounted doors).

These will provide a clean look but also support the doors from the underside, perhaps avoiding the shear stresses of butt hinges.

What do you think?

Regards from Perth


July 2010