Grate Expectations

Rails, stiles, ribs and slats

Rails, stiles, ribs and slats

I always have great expectations of the next joinery project. This time it will be perfect and I will defeat the demons. In order to do good joinery, you need to mark out the lines accurately and then cut along the lines. How hard can it be?

This week I’ve been making a proper boat thing; it’s a mahogany floor grating and is the sort of thing that might be used in a boat’s cockpit, heads, shower or galley to allow water to drain away and keep your feet dry(ish). The grating consists of a frame made up of two stiles and two rails joined together with haunched mortise and tenon joints (the haunch hides the tenon from view on the outside edge). Our gratings have four ribs, which are attached to the rails with stub tenons (i.e. little ones) and four slats which are attached to the stiles with tiny beaked tenons. It was all going well; in fact it’s quite engrossing marking out and cutting all the joints; but I was conscious that it was taking rather a long time. That’s the notion that I need to remind myself always leads to things going wrong. The slats need to be recessed into the ribs; four ribs and four slats require 16 intersections between them. I decided that it would be much quicker to put all the ribs together and cut out all the recesses for the cross halving joints in 8 cuts rather than 32. The problem was that I sacrificed a good deal of precision on the altar of speed as I found out when I put them all together, so now I’ve got big gaps between my ribs and slats. Another lesson learned (again); the application of patience is inversely proportional to that of Brummer.

Class 111

Class 111

People have started to disappear from the joinery shop. Andreu and Edward have gone over to ‘the dark side’ (as the boat shed is generally known). We also said goodbye to Jonny; he’s gone off to start working in a boat yard further up the coast. We saw them off in fine style at the Commodore with a slap-up lunch followed by an afternoon and evening lost in a haze of Adnam’s Broadside and reminiscences of the last 12 weeks; we laughed, we cried, we hid Zac’s shoes …

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