Wednesday, November 18, 2009


A builder in China has considered his options for a leg set for his R2: do-it-yourself layered plywood, styrene, aluminum, etc., and he's decided to have me build him a set. So I've begun the process. I'll be layering up 5 pieces of high cabinet grade Baltic birch plywood with glue and screws between each layer. The basic cuts will be made on the table saw and bandsaw, with curves and finishing on the belt sander. I'm fortunate to have a full wood working shop from years of cabinet and furniture building. I'll try to give a clear account here of the process. Victor Franco, guided by club founder Mike Senna, has a very detailed account of a method for building legs on his blog. (See link at right). They cut their pieces with a router and a template. I find I can get very good results with a tuned up table saw, a freshly sharpened edge on a high end tablesaw blade. Today I got the plywood and cut the blanks for Lee's legs.

It pays to get a good blade for your saw. This one ran me over $100 and I have it sharpened several times a year. Before cutting, it's also important to get the saw tuned up. Put the blade all the way up and check to see that it's square with the table.

It's also important to get the fence adjusted so that it's exactly parallel to the blade. I put my good ruler against the blade and slide the fence over close and check the clearance from front to back. A good fence will have some microadjustments to tweak it into alignment. With the blade running square and parallel to the fence you can get clean, accurate cuts that require a minimum of sanding later.

There are lots of grades of plywood, of course. This stuff is the best that I've ever found. 12 plies, with Baltic birch on the outsides. It's stable, straight, and has no voids.

I'm cutting blanks out of 7/16" and 11/16" sheets today. Then I'll start laying out the cuts for the leg shapes and building these up.

No comments: