Here is the step-by-step taken without the usual eloquence of my wife’s artfully composed shots. These were taken in the “first person” so you may plug yourself in as the one building it. For any unfamiliar terms (like the endless incarnations of mortise and tenon joints for example) there’s always Wikipedia! I offer this for the interested, more of an FYI than a How-to. For the short attention-spanned skip the text, just look at the pictures!Before getting started I chose several posts that were relatively the same size; all of them roughly 3 1/2 inches squared ( a few of them had to have a side ripped down to make them more or less square. ) There were two posts that measured closer to 4 1/2 inches, which I used for the top rails of the base.
ONE- With my original sketch as a guide, I drew the design life-sized on the garage floor.
TWO- Determining the angle of the posts. I transferred the angle from the floor and traced it directly onto one of the four posts. I then hoisted the post onto the miter saw and moved the bevel until the blade lined up with my mark. It turned out to be exactly five degrees, which was lucky. I used that same 5 degree bevel many different times during the process. I cut both the top and bottom of each of the four posts at 5 degrees so that they were parallel, causing them to taper in towards each other when sitting flat on the floor.
THREE- In order to lock-in the center panel between the two posts, I chose to use a mortise and tenon joint. Here is the top rail getting ready to be mortised.
FOUR- The center panel with a tenon on either end to fit snugly in the mortises. I cut the tenons on the table saw, sending the piece through upright (I made a jig to hold it vertically and to keep it safe.)
FIVE- Using a jig like the one in the previous step, only this time at 5 degrees from vertical, I cut slots in the top rail. This joint is also a form of mortise and tenon, but it has an open mortise. It is also called a “corner bridle joint” for all those who are practicing their useless game show trivia terms.
SIX- Cleaning out the open mortise using the age old method of hacking away at it with a chisel. I also used a coping saw to keep my trusty five degree angle precise.
SEVEN- And then, in order to fit the posts into the rail, the inverse shape had to be cut, also using the table saw, into the posts. Here is the top of one of the posts (the tenon) ready to be glued...
EIGHT-...and persuaded into the open mortise in the top rail.
NINE- The center panel is tapped into the top and bottom rails, the posts are tapped into the rails, and all of the joints are clamped. The final step is to drill two holes per joint in order to hammer in oak pegs (O.K. I did have to buy SOME wood, but two 50-cent oak dowels hardly count) which lock the joints together and keep them from moving. This is one of two bases.
Stay tuned for the finished product, Monday, in part 3!