The shavings climb higher beneath my feet and joints emerge from squared off ends. Some elements are conventional looking and then they are not conventionally made even though the outcome is proven technology. Some things do reflect sheer brilliance in the concepts of the designs that came from hundreds of years of ongoing craftsmanship. No matter what anyone tells me, a domino, a biscuit, a dowel, they are mainly alternatives to the requirements of skilled craftsmanship and are designed for the making things to a different pace and a different tune than mine. They never quite look skilfully made…no matter how they’re sliced. These are only my personal views though, for what they’re worth. Had I ever used any of these systems I should never have stood back with satisfaction and feel the same fulfilment I get from the work I do now. You know, something finely crafted into something. Again, that’s just me. I suppose that’s because every single element depends on squared off machine cuts, mostly crosscuts square edged, butted up and then dominoed or biscuited or dowelled one to the other. I think of course that they do match the industry requirements and standards I have unwittingly been exposed to over recent months, and customers in our age actually can’t altogether decipher the inner workings or quality or good workmanship so easily. Oops, red dots underneath dominoed and biscuited. Is there no past tense to the practice of using dominoes and biscuits as there is for dowels?
Anyway, my unconventional way of using the hand router to lay out cut lines for mortise hole and tenon cheeks resulted in perfect pairing for all 8 joints in both of the projects. That’s zero fitting of the tenons to the holes or the holes to the tenons after my system was used. The joints slipped together for a permanent lifelong marriage as I intended. It’s now a proven system paralleling and matching the proven technologies of M&Ts developed in centuries past that have never actually been succeeded by anything truly better. Of course that is only my view. To make the M&T joints I used a square, knife, 2 chisels, 10″ gent’s saw, hand router, chisel hammer. Lifetime tools. Mostly tools most woodworkers might have already bought when they first launched into woodworking but were beguiled by the machine and the sales personal selling them. I don’t know if I could have made my joints much faster using machines. Not that `i wanted to at all. Each joint took me roughly ten minutes for each one. Untwisted, well-made doors emerged from the pile of shavings on my workbench and the the floor below. I felt happy through every single stroke of work even when I was slightly off on one shoulder line, which I fixed with five successive strokes of the plane.
Having made the green prototype one from new pine I planned to use old pine for the final product, The second one came from the old mahogany and pine wardrobe I rescued from the burn pile out at Sylva last year. This item was the loveliest pine and my reason for choice was the loveliness of the grain and the smell or scent of it. Someone commented that it had that old-room smell. I think that was about right.
So, this is all doable at a simple workbench with the tools above well tuned and sharpened up. How could I not be a happy man?