SHEDNOTES 93: Cutting wood the old way

 

The Shed got an order for a threshold for a tiled floor, laid on plywood, dropping down to a wooden floor, 8-10mm below, in a doorway. None of the standard plastic and aluminium finishes would do and nobody stocked a suitable piece of timber trim.

We set out to shape a piece of oak, using an old router which recently came The Shed’s way, with no instructions except a quick demonstration.

We were able to cut a 10mm groove, using a piece of batten screwed to the underside of the plank as a guide. But trying to take out the rest of the waste wood by sweeping the router sideways from the guide didn’t work. The Shed committee concluded that some sort of template was required and put the machine aside for further inquiries and got out a tenon saw and chisels to rough out the rest of the rebate. The job then was to cut the edges to fit around the doorway. Some kitchen fitters had left some of the plastic sheeting they use for templating – looked like a signwriter’s plastic, with a corrugated filling to give it some stiffness and some lines to cut to. With a couple of bits of that, we got a shape on the wood and started the business of offering up and shaving back until it would drop into place without taking all the paint off the jambs and becoming impossible to lift again if it was not lying flush all round when it went down.

It took a day and half of walking between shed and work site, shaving a little timber or scraping a little paint each time. To you, squire, say £200 if it’s cash.

In the course of the job, The Shed learned a valuable lesson. If you need to use a mallet, your chisels are not sharp enough. According to the purists, they have to be sharpened until they will take off a feather under hand pressure. And they are right.

It’s not a perfect job but it’s closer than The Shed has ever been with a piece of joinery. It is in place without a nail, screw or dab of glue, so it might be improved later without any damage to the flooring. Meanwhile, it’s a Shed showcase item.

morelater …

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