Sunday, January 25, 2009

I finished a new framing pony today. I needed a new pony, but I also wanted to try some new things with timber framing. I wanted to use hardwood (Elm) knee braces, cut decorative curves in the braces with a bandsaw, and use a different mortise/tenon style for the braces.

After cutting the tenons on my braces, the first order of business was to layout my brace curves. I used an excellent ruler that my dad gave me which is centered at 0", allowing you to quickly and accurately find centers.

Using a combination square, I marked the deepest point at the center of the curve.

Writing with a pencil on 3/16th" poplar stock that I got from the hardware store, I free-handed one half of the curve and then cut out the curve template with a jigsaw.

By building a template for only half the curve, it was trivial to get the curve to be completely symmetrical.

I bartered some cherry and American elm slabs with a local fine woodworker for time on his bandsaw. The results were nice, as you can see below.

Below, you can see as I start to fit the "timbers" and braces together.

I do not drawbore my joinery. Instead, I use ratchet straps to pull the timbers together so tight that the wood starts to deform. Once this is done, I can then bore the peg holes and drive the pegs in. The pegs will "forever" keep the wood as tight as the ratchet straps did. In my opinion, this is nearly as good as drawboring.

I sanded everything and put a coat of Landark interior penetrating oil finish on everything. This is a 5-species framing pony: Ponderosa pine top, Douglas fir legs, Engelmann Spruce bases, American elm braces, and Locust pegs.

The joinery turned out pretty tight. Much better than my first set of framing ponies!

I routed a decorative 45 degree chamfer on pretty much all edges.

Mmm, wood. This American elm brace does a good job of showing off the color differences between the heartwood and sapwood.

The elm braces turned out better than I could have expected.

I've got timbers already cut to length for two more of these ponies. The braces for them are already finished.

The finished product.


At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I imagine drawboring would better account for shrinkage, particularly as the mortised timber dries and shrinks.

However, I've never heard of ratcheting quite that tightly, so let us know how these do as they dry!

By the way - that Landark is some nice stuff, eh? Smells good enough to drink.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger neuwave said...

You know, that LandArk is great oil. It smells like oranges. Except that I've found that when it gets on your cotton/denim clothes and starts to cure, it smells kind of rancid and is hard to wash out. I've ruined a fair number of tee-shirts already.

But, I love the stuff on wood.


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