Project 1 – Food Tray

Project 1 – Food Tray

Week 1: Shaping and Smoothing

Tools

Shaping machines

  • Band saw (BS)
  • Drill press (DP)

Sanding machines

  • Random orbital sander (ROS)
  • Oscillating spindle sander (OSS)
  • Disc sander and belt sander. (In our shop, these two functions are combined into a single machine. This is common.)

Supplies

  • Sand paper. For the OSS, use grits 120, 150, and 240. For the intermediate grit, you will need to use the micromesh discs. The other grits are available in both conventional sandpaper and in mesh.

Operations

  1. Use the band saw (BS) to cut your workpiece into the shape that you applied to it on Wednesday
  2. Use the drill press (DP) to drill holes in the workpiece, according to your design
  3. Use the oscillating spindle sander (OSS) to sand the hole(s)
  4. Use the belt sander / disc sander, and the OSS, to sand the outside of your piece

Notes

BS:

  • Adjust the height of the guard 0.5" / 1.5 cm above the material.
  • For curves, you do not need the fence.
  • You only need to push hard enough to move the workpiece into the blade. The movement of the blade removes the material, and this force is supplied by the motor, not your muscles.

ROS:

  • I did not demonstrate this machine in class. Have the instructor check your technique in the shop.
  • This is a relatively safe machine. Simply avoid sanding yourself. If you are awake and undistracted, it is difficult to accidentally sand yourself. If you are tired or distracted, you should not be in the shop anyway!
  • Do not push down, only side to side. The weight of the machine is enough.
  • Let the machine come to a complete stop before changing sand paper.
  • At each grit and on each side, sand over each area two or three times. Pro tip: before sanding at each grit, use a pencil to lightly draw lines over the surface; then sand until the lines are gone.
  • Dust collection: connect the port to the shop vac hose. Turn the shop vac on before sanding, and turn it off afterwards.
  • Progress through grits 120, 150, 240. Use the air compressor and/or a rag to remove 120-grit sawdust before sanding at 150 grit, and so on.

OSS, and disc and belt sander:

  • Sand at 120 grit. You may sand at higher grits (e.g. 240) depending on your personal preference.
  • Push hard enough to maintain contact between the wood and the abrasive. Do not push any harder: it is the lateral (sideways) movement of the sandpaper against the workpiece that removes the wood, and this movement is supplied by the machine's motor.
  • These are powerful machines working on small surfaces, so it is not necessary to step through every intermediate grit (unlike the ROS).

Review the Project Documentation section at the end of this page. This assignment does not require that you submit your project documentation. However, you will need to collect your project documentation as you work.

Week 2: Routing and Finishing

Tools

  • Router
  • Sanding block

Supplies

  • Router bits
  • Mineral oil
  • Butcher's block oil, aka cutting board oil (a mix of mineral oil and wax)
  • Nitrile gloves (while applying oil and wax)
image

Operations

  1. Route the edge, to “break the edge” and optionally add a more interesting edge profile
  2. Sand the newly-exposed edge
  3. Finish the surfaces

Be sure to collect documentation and notes for your project documentation post: photographs; videos (optional). For the reflection section, record: What did you plan? What (if anything) went differently? What surprised you? What did you learn?

Routing

The purpose of routing is to shape the edge. (You can also use the router for other purposes, that we will mention later.) In particular, it is important to break the edge, in order to remove the 90° angle where a face meets an edge.

You break the edge by introducing a chamfer (which is flat), or a fillet (which is round). You can also introduce more decorative elements, such as a Roman ogee, or a bead.

Source:
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A roundover bit. This produces a fillet. Source: Whiteside Catalog.

A roundover bit. This produces a fillet. Image source: Whiteside Catalog.

A roundover bit can also be used to produce a
A roundover bit can also be used to produce a bead.

A roundover bit can also be used to produce a bead.

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A chamfer bit, and a block with chamfered edge. A chamfer can also be created with a hand plane.

A chamfer bit, and a block with chamfered edge. A chamfer can also be created with a hand plane.

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image

If you are driving the router forwards, the wood is on its left. Move the router counterclockwise around the outside of a piece, and clockwise around a hole. (But you can figure both of these out from the “wood is on the left” rule.)

Safety: Check that the switch is off before you plug it in, and then hold onto it when you switch it on anyway.

Note: Some of your designs have intricate curved edges, that will not work well with the router. Please check in with Andy, Oliver, or Steve as to whether the router is an appropriate tool for your design If it is not, follow the instructions below, under “Router Alternative”.

Note: test your routing skills on a test piece before you cut your workpiece.

Sanding

Sanding the edge

Routing (or using a rasp) exposes new wood, that has been shaped (by the router bit) but not smoothed. The newly-exposed wood needs to be smoothed.

Depending on the amount of new surface exposed (which depends on the edge profile; for example the size of the fillet or chamfer), you may be able to skip straight to the 240 grit sandpaper. Remember that the reason to step up from a low grit is because sanding at a high grit takes a long time. The amount of time is also proportional to the area, though, so if it a small area of wood needs to be sanded, it will not take very long.

For the same reason, you can use a sanding block instead of a machine.

Hand-sanding the face

The last sanding step should be done by hand. This removes “pigtails” that are left by the ROS.

Sand with the grain. Stroke the sanding block along the direction of the wood grain.

Finishing

For this project, we are going to use mineral oil (also called cutting board oil), and butcher's block conditioner. This is a mixture of wax and mineral oil. We will do this in two steps: a layer of mineral oil soaks into the wood, and the oil/wax mixture sits mostly on top of it, filling in the micro crevices between sanding paths.

Steps:

  1. Apply a thin layer of mineral oil. Let sit for five minutes. Wipe off with a rag.
  2. Apply a thin layer of butcher's block conditioner. (This is a mixture of mineral oil and wax.)
  3. Let the conditioner sit for twenty minutes. This allows the wax to dry.
  4. Burnish (wipe vigorously) with a rag.

Wear the nitrile gloves while finishing. This is not necessary for safety (the oils and waxes are not skin irritants, and are probably helpful if anything). It prevents you from getting oil on everything that you touch before you wash your hands.

Nitrile gloves are cheap. You will use one pair for the mineral oil step, through it away, and then use another pair for the applying the wax.

Note: The mineral oil is useful for very dry wood. It keeps us from having to use a large amount of butcher's block conditioner, which builds up wax, in order to get enough mineral oil into the wood. This particular wood stock is not very dry, and doesn't much mineral oil. This is still good practice for finishing in general. Usually new surfaces require more oil, often more than one coat

Router Alternatives

If your workpiece is not suitable for use with the router, do this instead:

  • Route a (section of) a test piece, instead of your work piece. In your project documentation, Include photographic or video documentation of this operation.
  • Change the shape of the edge. At the least, “break the edge”, by applying a fillet or chamfer. Use a sanding block for mild shape changes such as a 2-4mm fillet or chamfer, , or a rasp followed by a sanding block for aggressive shaping such as 6–10mm chamfer. (A block plane is often used for this, but we haven't covered this.)

Rasps are shaping tools, not smoothing tools. They can remove large amounts of material, similar to the stationary sanding machines. They change the shape of the surface; they do not leave a smooth surface.

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A rasp. Credit: Wikimedia commons.

A rasp. Credit: Wikimedia commons.

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A Shinto saw rasp. (Bob Villa calls this a “surfoam”. This isn't a word I've seen elsewhere.) This removes large amounts of wood. Each of the sides is a different grit. Credit: manufacturer product page.

A Shinto saw rasp. (Bob Villa calls this a “surfoam”. This isn't a word I've seen elsewhere.) This removes large amounts of wood. Each of the sides is a different grit. Credit: manufacturer product page.

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A file. These come in varieties for cutting wood and metal. Credit: Lee Valley product catalog.

A file. These come in varieties for cutting wood and metal. Credit: Lee Valley product catalog.

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A riffler. For shaping carvings and other complex shapes with cavities. Credit: Lee Valley product catalog.

A riffler. For shaping carvings and other complex shapes with cavities. Credit: Lee Valley product catalog.

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A block plane. Can be used to fillet (or, with more expertise, chamfer) an edge. Credit: Tools for Working Wood catalog.

A block plane. Can be used to fillet (or, with more expertise, chamfer) an edge. Credit: Tools for Working Wood catalog.

A cornering tool. If you have too many special-purpose hand tools, you may have one of these. (I have one of these. But not in China.) Credit: Lee Valley product catalog.
A cornering tool. If you have too many special-purpose hand tools, you may have one of these. (I have one of these. But not in China.) Credit: Lee Valley product catalog.

A cornering tool. If you have too many special-purpose hand tools, you may have one of these. (I have one of these. But not in China.) Credit: Lee Valley product catalog.

Project Documentation

Create photographic documentation of the steps of your work: before and after each operation, and your workpiece on the machine (with clamps or other workholding, in the case of the drill press). [If you have already done some steps without photography, don't worry about it.]

For each operation, document (in writing): what is the point of the operation; were there any difficulties or surprises. This can be short (one or two sentence for each operation); the point is to capture your impressions while they are fresh, not to write an essay (unless you discover that you have a lot to say!).

Safety: Do not take photography while the machinery is turned on. You may optionally enlist a friend to create still or video footage while you operate the machinery, but this is not required and is not a one-person operation.