The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

Tools and Techniques => Period design and construction => Topic started by: awleonard on June 24, 2009, 04:21:40 PM

Title: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: awleonard on June 24, 2009, 04:21:40 PM
I'm building a tray topped tea table. I'm using several articles and pictures as my reference.  I like the detail of the candle slides.  A couple of the references show a mortise in the back of the slide "front" and a tenon on the slide itself.  I'm just wondering how to make that mortise?  The slide front is a fairly small piece of wood.  One article just glued the front to the slide with no joinery.  Any ideas/tips?

Thanks for the help.  I may screw up and finish this thing someday!  I glued up the ends over the weekend.  Started milling the skirt stock.  Found that I dented my sides when I had them in the vise doing the final fitting before committing to glue.  I guess the vise wasn't real tight and when I applied force to the side, it moved enough to leave a nice indentation of the corner of my vise cheek.  I'll try steaming.  They aren't real deep, but deep enough that I hope steaming helps some.  I can see that fitting the skirts will be quite challenging.  I see where some folks cut a glue channel in the top of the skirt.  I thought if I did that and then put a very slight bevel between the top and the channel, that might help with a nice tight fit against the side.  Where they meet the legs will take some fitting.  Everything is fairly square, but its never perfect.  Anyway.

Thanks,

Tony
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: Tom M on June 24, 2009, 04:31:44 PM
We did candle slide on a spice box-on-frame at Olde Mill.  The assembly was as you described, but more of what I would call a tounge and groove.  I formed the groove with a Stanley 45 and then fitted the tounge with a shoulder plane.

The attached picture show the candle slide before carving the edge profile.

Tom
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: awleonard on June 25, 2009, 10:33:22 AM
Thanks!  I was wondering about doing that.  So, you just hand carved the profile on the ends?  Thanks for posting the picture.  That's a big help.

Looks like a nice fit of your slide into the opening there! 

Tony
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: ChuckH on June 25, 2009, 12:38:08 PM
Tony,
You're right, that end cap ends up being a pretty small piece but I chopped a 1/4" x 1/4" (I think the dimensions are correct) mortise into a piece of stock at least twice as wide as the finished piece.  then I planed it down to size and shaped the thumbnail profile on all four edges.  Made handling easier while chopping the mortise.

I too sweated over fitting the full-length knee blocks, so I made sure my leg posts were square and parallel and square to the skirts at glue up.  I used a shooting board to final fit them and it worked out real well.

Regards,
-Chuck
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: awleonard on June 25, 2009, 02:51:43 PM
Thanks chuck.  That's a good idea.  Had not thought about that.  Hiding the tenon might make it a little more finished looking.  Sounds like you formed the profile by hand then? 

I was able to steam out the dents last night.  After cutting the yard in high 90's, I was not able to get out there until it was too late to do much, so I thought that was something I could tackle.  Worked good.  I grabbed my rabbet block plane and started removing the excess post block material and the was going pretty well.  I worked on bringing the knee/post corner in and refining it.  That is fussy and will take some time.  My original dimension from the top was 3 3/4", but I will have to come down another 1/16" or so because of where the cut came in one some of the legs.   No biggy there.  The wifey gave me a new scraper plane for my birthday, so I'll probably play with that some before I continue.  I thought it might come in handy when I start my final smoothing.  Especially on the top.  Haven't started on the top yet.  I have a real nice board just waiting though. 

Thanks again for the help.  I'll need more!

Tony
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: ChuckH on June 27, 2009, 10:49:08 PM
Tony,
Sorry for taking so long to respond - I often have difficulty keeping up with these forums.

I looked up the tea table I built from Vandal's book and realized I gave you some wrong numbers.

The cleat on this table is 3/4" wide X 5/16" thick x Aprox 8-1/4"long.
The mortise is 5/16" wide X 1/8" deep X 8"long (the width of the slide)

Yes, I shaped the moulded edged by hand (routers scare me) with a shoulder plane, block plane and finally scratch stock to refine the profile.  I haven't been able to find a moulding  plane to cut this profile.

Sounds like your making progress.

Regards,
-Chuck
 
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: dkeller_nc on June 28, 2009, 01:40:33 PM
Guys - A question.  Does anyone happen to know of a published photograph of a colonial period antique that shows how these slide-ends were attached?  I'm curious because obviously there's going to be some wood movement discrepancies between the slide and the end molding.  Come to think of it, it would seem that getting a nice tight fit between the slide and the hole in the apron of the table would need to be carefully considered so that high summer humidity wouldn't cause it to bind.

By the way, as far as a molding plane that will cut this profile, I've several in my collection that's termed a "thumb molding" profile.  They do come up on tool dealers and auction sites on a regular basis.
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: ChuckH on June 29, 2009, 12:01:22 AM
It seems that Norman Vandal shares your concern.  Here is what he says about it:
"Glue the cleat to the tenoned end of the slide and attach the brass knob.  The screw shank of the knob helps secure the cleat, which can be easily torn off if the slide is slammed closed (the glue joint between the end grain of the slide and the long grain of the cleat is not very strong)."  (Queen Anne Furniture; 1990; p. 146).




Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: Tom M on June 29, 2009, 11:08:04 AM
Vandal only shows a 1/8" long tenon, so he is getting minimal long grain to long grain gluing.  I doubt his method of construction of the candle slide joint was used on the original.  He even states he used applied molding on the top even though the catalogue he based his table on states it was carved from solid.  In all fairness to Mr. Vandal he does state: "I haven't examined this table myself".

Tom
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd. on June 29, 2009, 11:22:47 AM
I've made many of these tea tables with candle slides for customers.  I make my slides about 1/2" thick with approx. a 3/16" tenon which I pin to the front molded piece.

The top I make free floating (to expand and contract).  Then apply finish.  Then the molding to the try top is fastened to the outside of the base apron.  Never had any problems using this method.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: dkeller_nc on June 29, 2009, 02:39:43 PM
"Vandal only shows a 1/8" long tenon, so he is getting minimal long grain to long grain gluing.  I doubt his method of construction of the candle slide joint was used on the original."

I looked up Norm's book, and as nearly as I can tell, all of the glue surface is cross-grain over a fairly wide slide, which one would expect to break fairly quickly with the changing of the seasons.

The only picture of an original that I could find on-line was a Massachusetts/Rhode Island rectangular Queen Anne tea table in the Chipstone collection that has a most unusual arrangement - the candle slide is nearly the full width of the end aprons.  I've never figured out how to link to a specific photograph on that site (just copying the link doesn't do it), but the accession number is 1968.4.  It also looks like CHipstone's renovated their website, and the link to the U of Wisconsin digital arts library is about 2/3rds of the way down in the "about chipstone" page.

 Interestingly, the high-resolution picture makes it look strongly like the slide is through-tenoned into the slide cap on this table.  One implication if this is true is that either the slide was made of the primary wood (mahogany), or the maker dyed the wood, perhaps with alkanet root.  It's hard to conceive of an 18th century customer that would've accepted a bright through-tenon of white pine on such a table. 

The underside of the table is also hard to interpret - there's a V shaped notch all the way across the width near the center of the length.  I'm not sure what's in this photograph are the undersides of the slides, or whether there's two boards that are the width of the table tacked to the undersides as the candle slide support.  One interesting thing about this support structure is that if you look carefully, there's what strongly looks like planer snipe on the right side support board.  Obviously, that would mean a later repair if that's what that bright/dark line is.
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: awleonard on June 29, 2009, 03:43:13 PM
One source I looked at made it a point of mentioning that the grain on the slide should run side to side.  I guess that would keep the movement along the slide as opposed to against it.  And I guess at 1/2"thick, it would still be plenty strong enough? 

Got the side aprons finished.  I did mess up and have a couple of smallish gaps where the aprons meet the legs.  This area was not perfectly square.  I should have checked it better and made the apron end cuts to match.   Its not much but it upset me.  My joinery skills are not the greatest.  Too impatient is one problem.   I'll try and do better when I do the long sides.  I ended up with a small gap where the apron meets the side on one area, but I doubt it will show much.  It fit fine dry, but when I glued it on, something didn't go just right and I couldn't get it to close up completely.  A "varnish" joint as I heard one pro call it (dissapears when it fills with varnish).  The next big challenge will be the molding.  I'm not looking forward to that part. 

Tony
Title: PS...
Post by: awleonard on June 29, 2009, 04:20:47 PM
I really appreciate all of the help I receive here and all of the resulting threads.  I am working on a web site to show friends and relatives my projects.   When you tell people you are a woodworker, their first thought is usually something other than 18th century furniture.  I do lots of other stuff as well, but I don't make tater bins and kitchen cabinets.  Anyway, here is the rough draft of my web pages so you can see what kinds of things "this guy with all the questions" has built and is building.  I'm working on a page for the tea table.  Just not a priority.  I have to work during the day and make sawdust when I can.  Curly maple sawdust is pretty expensive stuff, BTW! 

I wrote a couple of programs to help with a couple of projects I was working on.  One creates volute patterns and the other creates cove molding patterns to be cut on the tablesaw.  There are links to them on my page.

Tony

Oh, I know the title on the page looks corny.  Like I said, this is a rough draft!

http://paintandsawdust.com/Tony-Main.htm (http://paintandsawdust.com/Tony-Main.htm)

Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: dkeller_nc on July 01, 2009, 06:03:36 PM
"One source I looked at made it a point of mentioning that the grain on the slide should run side to side.  I guess that would keep the movement along the slide as opposed to against it.  And I guess at 1/2"thick, it would still be plenty strong enough?"

My guess is that this would be a serious no-no, unless of course you made the slide as a frame-and-panel type of construction.  It's hard to say for sure, but I'm guessing that a white pine slide. 1/2" thick, with the grain running in the direction of the apron would snap the first time a heavy brass candle holder was set on it.  I think I'd rather take a chance on wood movement issues, or build the slide as a frame and panel.
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: awleonard on July 02, 2009, 11:11:16 PM
They were using maple for the slides.  That's what I was planning on using.  I may mill up a piece and play with it just to see how it feels.  My candlesticks aren't THAT heavy! 

Tony
Title: Got them done!
Post by: awleonard on July 07, 2009, 12:28:52 PM
I decided to tackle the candle slides while I was waiting on the glue to dry (glued the sides the the ends).  I ended up making the slides out of curly ample and running the grain the same direction as the top.  It is very humid here, so I assume the fit will get worse and not swell them shut!  I routed the mortise into a large piece of 3/4" stock, then ripped the piece off.  I then double taped it back to the original piece upside down to run it across the router table.   I found I was getting lots of tear out and lots of burning running it through the correct way, so I ran them through backwards and got a better cut.  I then cut them to length, cleaned up the profiles and shaped the end grain profile by hand.  I was pretty happy with the results.  Lotsof work in those tiny little pieces!

Thanks for the help.  On to the side skirts..and someday the top and the molding.

Tony
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: ttalma on July 08, 2009, 08:02:21 AM
The table looks great! the grain looks good without any finish. I can't wait to see it all done.

A word of caution about running wood backwards on a router table. Be sure you have a good hold on the wood using some sort of hold down. And be sure to have some sort of guard on the bit.

The router will want to pull the wood and can suprise you when you start to feed it.

3 reconstructive surgeries later, I have full use of my finger, about 90% of the feeling. But the finger nail is messed up for good doing exactly what you were doing. But I did get a really cool x-ray.
Title: Re: Candle Slide Mortise?
Post by: awleonard on July 08, 2009, 10:37:18 AM
Wow, thanks for the warning and the compliments.  I've never done much routing like that.  I just happened to read an article about it the other day.  I believe it was by Patrick Warner.   He mentioned all of the safety issues, so I was very cautious.  I made a push block with sandpaper so I had a good grip and I locked my fingers over the fence.  I took very small bites too.  Seems like starting was the worst part.  One thing I always think about (thanks to a good instructor) is where are your hands going to land when the tool takes the wood out of your hands?  That applies to any tool.  One thing I did learn this go around was that if you have cleaned your wood with paint thinner to remove tape residue, let it dry completely before you apply more tape!  By the time the whole operation was over, the adhesive was getting pretty soft.  I had let it dry, but obviously, not good enough. 

I was checking the angle between the side and the knee.  Not all of them are perfectly square.  That's why I have a small gap on one of the short skirt/knee joints.  I'll spend more time fitting the long skirts in. 


Tony