Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stop-Splayed Undersquinted and Tabled with Wedges

Making a joint like this takes time.  During the process, that time, gives you the opportunity to just lean back and let it all soak in. Like eating a pancake covered in Maple syrup you made yourself. Doesn't get any better than this.
I must admit that at first glance this joint looked extremely complicated to me. I am sure that anyone that has ever made one of these will agree they are not!  The design and layout is very basic and straight forward. Maybe that is why authors that write about these just seem to skip over the "basic" details of layout that would be most helpful to beginners like me. 

The key for me was to realize that I could simply use a 1.5" or 2" parallel strip to layout the tables and wedge location on each piece. Study the pictures above and below. See if you can visualize the lines that need to be drawn along the parallel strip.

The "X"s mark the waste wood to be removed from the piece. I choose to squint my ends a few more degrees but using just the 90 degree end of the parallel would have done the job. Having a parallel that was 24 inches long one could locate the center and mark back 1/2 the width of the wedge opening too.
I'll bet that years ago every timber framer had one of these parallel layout sticks in their tool box.

After some work with the saws, chisel and jack plane here we are. Ready for the wedge and test fit.

Here again what must seem obvious to the more experienced framer was an awakening to me! In my brain I was thinking how I would get just the right taper cut into the oak wedge I had planned on making. Then it dawned on me that cutting my single piece into two pieces would solve any and all wedge  problems! Perfect fit up. So basic. So straight forward.

With the wedges driven in, the joint is clamped and the kerf sawn up to make the squints full contact and a nice fit tight. If you want to have some serious fun try laying out one of these joints on paper. Cut them out and check your fit. Pretty cool!

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