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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bracketology - Part I

With the drawers now done, I was able to turn my attention to some of the final details of this build. I went back and forth on what to do for the base, and finally settled on bracket feet. I haven’t done these before, but I wanted to add some curves to offset the stepped-front and also give the base a little more width and elevation. I ended up shooting quite a bit of footage for my process for designing and building the feet, so I’m actually breaking this into two parts. This is Part I which concentrates on the design and glue-up, and Part II will detail the process of coving the profiles out. That may sound to some like the reverse order, but bracket feet are definitely a bit of a unique process. Look for Part II to follow shortly (I don’t want to leave this cliff-hanger out too long).

Right click to download the HD version of this video.


nick said...

Rob, once again, very informative video. My question is: would it make sense to create the coves on the outer faces of the feet prior to cutting them out from the blank? Seems like you could then cove the whole length of the blank, then have only to cut the profiles by tracing the template form on the backs, and mitering them for the corners. Also, rather than a spline, did you consider corner blocks to serve as long grain glue surfaces and sacrificial feet (which might sit 1/16 proud of the bottom and actually take the brunt of the abuse from sliding the case around or what have you). Thanks, and keep it up!

Rob Bois said...

Nick, all great questions and ones that I gave a lot of thought to (so I'm glad you asked). As you'll see in Part II, the coving is done with the band saw and hand tools to customize the profile. As you'll see soon, this is much easier to do after glue-up (trust me). I did consider corner blocks as well, and for small feet like this that would have worked fine. However, for normal sized bracket feet, corner blocks start to cause wood movement problems (two long grain surfaces glued up perpendicular to one another). I've seen some folks stack squares on top of one another to address this, but then you have end-grain gluing issues. I wanted to use a method that would work for full-sized bracket feet and not violate any wood movement rules, hence the splines and half-blind dovetails.

Alex said...

I cringed when I watched you do the spline...I had envisioned you cutting into the spline when you cut the curve on the feet, then I saw you realized this in time. Whew!
I have found that making the feet out of mitered blanks and sizing the curves to the spindle sander sleeves I have, saves a lot of time in the sanding.
I cut the scroll part with a 1" x1" block" post the same length as inside so i can stand it up on bandsaw, knock it on with hammer and repeat other side.
then bandsaw 1 side of the outside profile, double stick tape cutoff back on and saw adjacent side using re-taped cutoff piece face down.

Rob Bois said...

Alex, I definitely misjudged the depth of the spline a bit. One of those times where eyeballing it was probably not the best approach. But I still had enough material left over to redraw my cove and still end up with a great looking bracket foot. As you'll see in Part II, my process for cutting the profile is not much different than yours. However, instead of the spindle sander I use a slightly different approach for cleaning up the band saw marks (my smallest spindle was still too big for these mini feet).

Eric said...

I'm following your bracket feet video with interest.
I have a project coming up with a similar detail and I like how you have done yours.
Thank you.