Catching Up (Part 2)

All the old friends were still waiting patiently in the shop when I went down the day after I came back from Montreal. They didn't seem particularly pleased to see me, but perhaps they were a little bit relieved to know that their long wait might be over. The desk was the first in line, so what needed doing? Make a little list.

1. Lay out and make full size drawing for new pigeon-hole and drawer insert.
2. Go over to West Wind Hardwood for QS W.Oak for above.
3. Make a new batch of wax polish and salad-bowl finish for West Wind (20 tins?) and take over.
4. Order all new hinges from Lee Valley for desk fall rather than using exstg. + 2 new.
5. Call Jerry Ringrose re repaired glass panels for upper section. Done?
6. Figure out how to repair drawer runners - deeply worn. V. hard to access. ??
7. Call Susan re stain colour & replacement fall-lock
8. Order new lock from Lee Valley if needed (see (4) above)
9. Fit new hinges, + plane fall hinge edge
10. Fit new lock, changing key hole & escutcheon as reqd.
11. Make new glass moulding for upper doors - stain and polish.
12. Cut quarter and eighth inch stock (resaw) for pigeon holes. 
13. Make up pigeon-hole unit.
14. Make three drawers, (dovetailed? pinned?), fit.
15. Stain all (see (7) above). Shellac and wax.
16. Screw ph unit into desk (how??). Gap at top under top of desk??
17. New location dowels for top section.
18.  Clean and polish all.


Things were going quite well with this - in fact I was at about #7 - (perhaps not all that quickly, though) when Bob D. called on or around the 13th of November. Were his two cribbage boards ready to be picked up?
Oh dear. "Ummm - weren't you due back sometime later in November?" "I was hoping that they'd be ready now - we're only here for a few days....." Silence.

New plan: put desk aside (Sigh: "Again?") and go back to cribbage boards ("Back to" is euphemistic. Read "Start"), since it was fairly clear that a) he thought (possibly correctly) that I'd promised them for "mid", not "the end of" or "during" November; b) they were intended as Christmas presents, and he would prefer it if they were done before Christmas (2010); c) his wife was not happy, even though Bob D. himself was politely forbearing, if disappointed.

So I thought about things for a bit, and then called him back to say that they'd be ready in a few days.


The whole project had originated a few weeks ago when Bob brought in a couple of boards of waney-edged decorative maple that he'd bought from Mike down the road. They were nicely figured, but some misguided enthusiast had given them a good scrub with a belt-sander, followed by a coat or two of what may have been Watco oil, or it could have been left over chip oil. In any case the grain was obscured by a furry muddiness, which would have to be laboriously sanded and scraped off.
The approximate layout of the 121 point boards had been already agreed upon (more or less), so the first task was to lay out the drilling pattern for the 4mm holes (totalling 738):


Considerable calculation (sometimes I love metric: 120 holes in groups of 5 with 23 spaces between groups distributed along a path measuring 835mm yields at least the possibility of a rational number. Inches will inevitably result in strange little fractions like 23/128 ths.) combined with a lot of trial and error stepping off with dividers produced the drawing at the left. More trial (and error) was needed to lay out the differing hole spacing in the three rows as they swept round the various arcs that make up the winding track. Plus the Mr. Ford principle and its corollary: "If it looks right it is right. If it doesn't look right, it's wrong".
Fair enough.


The second piece of maple is lying next to the temporarily abandoned pigeon Holes. This structure was later put away, since it quickly became clear that cribbage board making was not in any way a quickie, and that I wouldn't be getting back to the desk the next day, or even the day after...

The deer antler is for possible pegs.


So here's the first completed template taped to the blank board.
The next job is to centre-punch all the holes. 
The other board was laid out in the same way, although the process was much easier, as the track was a simple slight curve along each edge  with a radiused return at one end. After taping on this second template, a cursory last minute count before centre-punching revealed that there were only 111 holes instead of 121. Would anyone notice? How many people would ever trouble to count the exact number of holes? Do I really have to re-draw the whole template?