Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chisel and Split

(Overheard by the three witches)
Hark! I am call'd; my little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me.

The clouds moved in early today, gray and deep, covering the yard and casting the best possible light--an dim orange and rust that suits my eyes--into in the house so that by noon today I was in just the right mind to resume work on the paneling project. Too much sun makes me cranky.

I had left off a few weeks ago on a difficult cut around the window frame, but then we got the new puppy, and I've been working on position papers for the president: on Iran, health care, etc. (though for some reason I haven't heard from him lately). Finally today I was able to put everything aside, take the phone off the hook, put the notebook on standby, and resume the project with a particularly good attitude and with the firm sense that nothing else required my attention.

The task was to remove a section of wood from the left side of the panel so that the panel fit snugly around the irregular window frame. I could have used my noisy table saw or jig saw. Instead I chose a thin chisel to persuade the wood to naturally split along its grain. A quiet approach for a quiet day.

First I sawed across the wood at the start and end points. I then marked out the cut line in pencil. Then a gentle tap and twist with the chisel to start the split, I moved down the wood, and when I could see that the grain took a wrong turn and ran under my pencil line, I found the spot where it returned and then checked it (with a chisel cross cut) to keep the split from doubling back, and then I moved on, nudging the split downstream. Tap, tap, tap. Twist and split. All done in a few seconds. Even a strong wood like oak will gladly split along the grain. Cool.

Next I took my jack plane (my favorite, in-the-zone tool) and peeled off the wood in ribbons just up to the pencil line until I had an silky smooth edge. The board slipped right into place. I'll avoid sweeping these wooden ribbons up for as long as possible--they feel nice under my bare feet.

I had so much fun that I quit for the day. Only one more wall and then I start on the ceiling. Time to walk the puppy.

1 comment:

  1. this was not a quiet day. this was a loud day. he dropped things, and scared the dogs.