...and sometimes you're the bug.
Today, I was the bug. Mostly.
The act of being the bug started first thing yesterday morning on a job site in Kirkwood; I was rushing to open a set of metal sawhorses so the other guys on the crew had a place to set some quasi-heavy walnut butcher block counter tops they were unloading from the truck, and in the process I sliced my index finger pretty good. Like, REAL good. If you check out my instagram feed you'll see a picture of me doing some chisel work today with a big hunk of blue painter's tape around a finger...that's the band-aid holding my finger together, and it makes doing detail work - like chiseling - a little tricky.
Today, after another round of gluing up parts of the trestle table I'm working on intermittently, I figured I'd sharpen the chisels and start working on the mortises and tenons. Each trestle frame (there are 2, 1 on either end of the table) is made of 3 parts, and all 3 get joined together with mortise and tenon joints. The individual parts are all too big to use the table saw for cutting tenons, and because I'm using reclaimed wood, which has relatively imperfect surfaces, there's no real sense in using the router to cut the tenons. So...after using some other power tools (drill press & circular saw) to hog out the bulk of the material that has to be removed...it becomes a hand tool (chisels and planes) game. And the sharper the hand tools, the better they work.
Anyways...after sharpening the chisels, which is an exercise I don't particularly enjoy, I promptly got to work and within maybe all of 4 minutes, managed to smash my biggest and most favorite (and useful) chisel directly across a giant nail that had been buried in one of the boards. Chisels don't like nails, and I had to go sharpen the chisel again.
This subsequently happened like 3 more times today. Not cool.
Still, I managed to get 3 mortises cut in the bottom rail of one of the trestle frames.
Feeling a bit victorious (but tired of chiseling), I figured I'd take that bottom rail over to the band saw and cut all the curves and whatnot the plans call for that dress the bottom rail up a bit. So I went ahead and printed out the plans with all the dimensions, transferred them to a scrap of plywood, and cut it out so I'd be able to trace that onto each end of the bottom rail and forgo having to measure and draw everything out on both bottom rails.
Now that I'm looking at all of it, it occurs to me that the bottom rail is sort of shaped like a giant, old-timey/hipster mustache.
Anyhow...with the template transferred onto the bottom rail, I was ready to do some cutting. I was also about the be the bug...again.
I knew that with the size of the chunk of wood I was going to attempt to cut, my bandsaw was going to be tested. Significantly. But, I had high hopes.
Well, I had hopes. Maybe not "high" hopes, but hopes nonetheless.
The bottom rail stands 4.5" tall and is 4" thick, with the 4" dimension being what would go through the bandsaw. That's a lot of meat for a 10" bandsaw, but theoretically...doable. Or so I thought.
I got one side of the bottom rail - let's call it the left side of the mustache - cut without a lot of trouble. I didn't cut as close to my line as I could have but with this easily being the biggest chunk of lumber I've ever run through the bandsaw, I was aiming for halfway close and no screw-ups, and a real quick learning curve. More wood can always be removed, but it's very difficult to put it back once it's been cut off.
Unfortunately, the right side of the mustache would not be so cooperative. Once again, I ran into another nail buried in one of the boards, although I didn't realize it until I'd attempted the same cut about 28 times without being able to figure out why the blade kept getting hung up. I felt a lot like the guy that hit my car, twice; the first time he hit it he thought the car wouldn't go any further in reverse because of a transmission issue, so he pulled forward, then reversed again, hit my car AGAIN, and then decided to, I guess, take off his blindfold and he realized that it wasn't a transmission issue...it was another-car-is-parked-and-you-just-hit-it-twice-without-looking-becauese-you're-an-idiot issue.
I felt like that idiot, because I ruined the blade - the only blade I had - and because the saw takes a stupid unique blade size, I had to run out to St. Peters to buy more. And for those of you keeping track at home, St. Peters is negative amounts of convenient for me to get to, let alone at 6:30 on a Friday night.
But I got 3 more blades. Know what I did when I got back to the shop and got a new blade installed?
I hit another nail, and ruined another blade.
Know what I did after I put a 2nd new blade on the saw?
I hit another nail, and ruined another blade.
The 3rd new blade I got was pretty large, too large to make the curved cuts I needed to make, so...I abandoned the bandsaw operation for the evening. Frustration had gotten the best of me.
But I didn't want to call it a night on a sour note, so I took the middle part of one of the trestle ends (the part that gets the tenons that go into the mortises I previously cut in the bottom rail) over to the table saw and rough cut the tenons. Then, after a lengthy amount of measuring and chiseling, and measuring and chiseling, and measuring and chiseling, and dry-fitting, and chiseling some more, and beating on things with a rubber mallet, and chiseling some more...victory. The 3 tenons fit perfectly into the 3 mortises, and exactly how I wanted everything to fit.
Tomorrow is a new day, and with it comes another chance for success. The upper rails are glued up, the mortises in the other bottom rail are already cut, and provided I figure out how to make the bandsaw cooperate (and by "cooperate" I mean use it the way it was meant to be used, and stop trying to cut through nails)...I ought to be able to get both trestle frames successfully assembled.