HB Tansu #2-Progress 5

hbt2-6I’ve just about fully recovered from my rough day in the shop on Saturday.  Over the past few evenings I’ve been able to cut, fit and groove the side bearers and the handle rails.  This completes the outer carcass framing and finally has this tansu to a stage where it’s starting to look like something.

I utilize compression fit joinery in these projects.  Essentially, this means that the end grain portions of the joints are very tight.  The long grain portions are fitted snug as per usual.  For the cherry, I cut the mortises 1mm shorter than I cut the tenons, .5mm on each end.  In the pine tansu I went 2mm shorter, but cherry doesn’t compress as much as pine.  COMPRESSION_JOINTOne of the tricks for fitting this type of joinery is to pre compress the tenon by tapping with a hammer.  This makes testing the fit easier.  The tenon will swell slightly when the glue is added and the tenon absorbs water from the glue.  This technique works great and results in tight fitting joints.  I picked this little tidbit up from Toshio Odate’s book.

The next stage is to size, fit and groove all of the internal front to rear bearers.  Nothing difficult, just repetitive.  All of the panels need to be fitted as well.  That is if I had any birch ply.  One of the lingering effects of my terrible Saturday was that I completely forgot to place an order for birch plywood.  I may run up to Woodcraft tomorrow after work and have the store order what I need.  Which seems a little silly since the shipping warehouse is about three miles from the store.  In the good old days I could just go directly to the warehouse and get anything I needed.  Sadly, those days are long gone.  So it will take two trips, one to place the order and one to pick it up.

So progress on HB Tabsu #2 is marching forward, just a little slower than I would like.  Maybe I can turn the tide once the carcass is glued up.

Greg Merritt

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8 Responses to HB Tansu #2-Progress 5

  1. Are you putting 1/4″ Birch ply on the top? Or you putting a solid wood panel there?

    • gman3555 says:

      1/4″ birch ply for the top. There is a method to my madness for this. I plan to make a removable tray for this tansu that nests in the void of the top. I also plan to make a future version that is stackable. In that version there will be an indexing ring that nests in this void. I’m trying to develop a flexible system for these tansu. We’ll have to see how it pans out.


  2. Brianj says:

    Great vision you are developing on these Greg. How do you like working with cherry by the way? Lol….

  3. joemcglynn says:

    Greg — that’s just spectacular. The joinery on the case is crisp and tight, and this is a very complex arrangement. The overall design is nicely balanced too. I’m sure this is going to be stunning when completed. Are you still toying with the idea of veneering the birch ply?

    On another note, I’ve never heard of compression joinery, the “conventional wisdom” I’ve always heard was that mortises should be deeper than the tenons to leave a place for glue to pool (which as I type that “out loud” just sounds sloppy). I’m still in the phase where square shoulders are exciting 🙂

    • gman3555 says:

      Thanks Joe! I’m still looking at veneer options. On this one I’m going to do something a little different and will reveal what it is soon.

      Compression fit joinery is a Japanese idea. I think my explanation is a little confusing though and I’ve added a sketch to try and clear up the idea. There is a video on Popular Woodworking’s store by Jay Van Arsdale. In that video he explains and then demonstrates the compression fit joinery method.


      • joemcglynn says:

        I saw a tansu video where they heated an iron plate red hot and then slid it slowly over the surface of the wood to char it. I’ve had a few projects where fire seemed like the best possible finish 🙂

        I’m drawn to interesting surface treatments I guess. Google “eggshell veneer” — I’d like to incorporate that in something one day. Something small.

        • gman3555 says:

          I seen a video on the charring process. Fascinating to watch and it’s beautiful, but I can’t help but think the smell would never go away. I’ve also had several projects that were completed with the flame process. No evidence, no crime.

          I googled the eggshell veneer and I like the look. Not sure about the pieces done entirely with the process, but as an accent panel or similar it’s a very nice treatment. I tend to lean towards the simple finishes and decorations for my projects. Not sure why. Maybe it’s just my practical nature.

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