Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
The cases are now glued up which is the majority of the labor in these pieces. They are square to less than a mm difference on the diagonals which will make fitting the drawers easier. There remains a molding around the bottom, feet and a top which is already glued up. My goal is to get these done by the end of January.
It took 4 days of on and off work to complete the walnut piece and 3 for the cherry, which seemed way too long. So where did the time go? I would like to be able to get case pieces done faster. When I did the cherry piece I kept track of the larger blocks of time.
Pick lumber- about a half day to pick lumber and plane for both pieces.
Rough cut parts- didn’t record but about 1-2 hours
Gluing up panels- didn’t record time but that part goes quickly, about an hour
Dovetailing top and bottom panels- 1 hour
Preparing pins on sides- 3 hours
Dovetailing dividers- 3 hours
Runners – half hour
About 8 hours total went into preparing the cases that I accounted for above but in fact I likely spent twice this amount of working time over the course of 3 days. Where are the time wasters?
Mistakes- Something done wrong eats up an amazing amount of time. For example, one of the dividers was rough cut short and didn’t show up until I was dovetailing the ends. Took an hour to make a replacement.
Decisions- I am spending way too much time making decisions and especially decisions that I already made once before on similar pieces. To that end I am recording things in a notebook so I can look up what I decided for a drawer divider width, tail length and the like.
Optimizing design for easier construction- For example: The dovetails that hold the case together were stupidly designed. It is quick to remove waste from the tail board with the band saw, less so in the pin board. Duh! Instead of making equal sized pins and tails the pins should be small and the tails broad. The case whole design is slower than how I normally make a case piece. One side panel twisted after planing to thickness. Instead of three dovetailed strips on the top and just the drawer dividers on the bottom to hold the case together I used a full dovetailed top and bottom to hold the case square.
Efficiently working- When I concentrate on the task I can prepare the tail and chop out a socket for a divider in less than 15 minutes. In fact it took 3 hours to make the 8 of them for this case. I have no idea where the other hour went.
Machines and jigs- The device I devised to make the tails on drawer dividers saves substantial time. It took 6 minutes to prepare the 8 tails on the 4 divider pieces. Because they are all exactly alike it makes chopping the sockets quicker through use of a gauge block to scribe the socket boundary. Using the Festool to fasten runner to dividers saved another large block of time compared to conventionally mortise and tenoning these together. Stop blocks for cutting several parts to length reduces time and increases precision. I use a quick way to lay out and cut tails which saves marking time. Etc. I’m always looking for more ways to save time and likely waste substantial time evaluating new ideas.
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- Cases done *PIC*