I cut the six pieces that are to be the front and rear bearers to length. Then I surfaced planed all of them to remove any machining marks. Notice I said nothing about cutting them to width. I designed this piece to use off the shelf sizes from the big box stores and built in some tolerance for slight variances. After the surface planing I marked them all for length between the posts. After this I focused my attention on the rear bearers. These I marked for the tenon and bridle joint arrangement using my purpose built gauge. I then proceeded to cut and chop all of the joinery in those pieces. I took a chance which these and sawed all of the joints to the line. Leaving no “meat” for fitting. A bit risky, but it was time to give it a try. I set those pieces aside and cut the dados in the posts. If you remember, I had chopped all of the mortises in the posts but left the dado portion until I knew the finished thickness of the bearer pieces. Once these were all completed it was “moment of truth” time. Would all six joints fit straight off the saw? Would they be so loose as to be useless?
I began the test fitting by first chamfering the leading edges of all the tenons. Then it was time to try the first joint. I’ll be damned, it seated perfectly with a little gentle persuasion from the mallet. Each and every one of the five remaining joints went exactly the same way.
After this I added the grooves to these three rear bearers. Then reassembled the rear bearers into the posts and installed the top and bottom rails to complete the rear frame dry assembly. All that is left for the rear frame is to fit a panel and glue it all together.
All in all not too bad for just and hour and a half of work in the shop. Hopefully I’ll get to work on the front bearers tomorrow evening. These will be a little more challenging due to the exposed bird beak detail, but they should go just as smoothly, maybe.
I designed this project in hopes of creating a quick method of joinery for assembling case work. So far things are working out as I had planned. Plus I may actually be getting the hang of this woodworking thing.