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Frame And Panel Weather Station

author-gravatar Timmy2Hands May 30, 2016

This is a walnut frame and curley maple panel to hold a thermometer and hygrometer so I can monitor temp and humidity in my wood storage area.

It was made with hand tools only.

I'll include build photos below.

Here are the project parts that I will be using.

3" x 12" x 3/8" Tiger maple panels and some left over Walnut.

Hygrometer ($11.20) and Thermometer ($9.90) from Lee Valley,42405

Every operation begins at the sharpening station.

These are DMT diamond plates in Fine (600), Extra Fine (1200), and Extra Extra Fine (8000)

I’m using my #62 jack plane to joint the edges of the maple befor I glue them up.

The blade I’m using is honed for an effective angle of 45 degrees.

Now it’s a simple glue-up to create the panel size I need. It will be about 12” x 6” x 3/8” 

It’s time to break down the parts for the frame.

I straighten one edge with the plane, mark the width using a marking guage, and cut them about 1/16” away from the line. Then its back to the plane to finish them to size and make sure all the pieces are the same width.

The frame pieces need a dado cut in them to accept the panel so it’s time to get out the plow plane.

This is a Record #050 combination plane. It’s used for plowing grooves and also has cutters for beading.

I’ve set it with a 5/16” cutter for a dado 1/8” away from the edge and 1/4” deep.

I use a planing stop and some batons to work as a trap to keep this narrow piece from moving. These batons are made out of oak and are a little hard to see in the pictures, but they are clamped down to the bench with the squeeze clamps going through the dog holes.

I got this tip from Shannon Rodgers (The Renaissance Woodworker)
If the piece is too small for clamping, double sided tape is your best friend.

Now I can move on to flattening and smoothing the maple panel.

The first thing I do is take my #4 smoother over to the sharpening station.

I begin with the back side of the panel. It does not need to be extra smooth, but it does need to be flat.

I then flip the panel to the show side and flatten it. Then it’s back to the sharpening station before I smooth the show face.

So now that we have the dados cut in the frame pieces, it’s time to cut the miters.

I start by scribing the angle with the marking knife and carry it around the entire piece using the combo square.
Then I clamp the piece down to the bench top and saw it off close to the line.

Now I have to clean up the saw cut on the shooting board.

I position a speed square against the fence to get the 45 degree angle and clamp it in place.

I find this technique to be very reliable and very repeatable.

Once I have all the angles cut and shot I make sure that the two long pieces and the two short pieces are the exact same lengths, this will guarantee a square glue-up.

Now I need to size the panel to fit the frame.

I measure the bottom of the groove and mark the panel 1/8” smaller to allow for seasonal expansion (1/16” either side). I make sure keep the seam of the panel centered by removing material from both sides.

When I make the rip cuts I stay away from the line by about 1/16” 

The sawn edges need to be brought down to the line with the plane.

This technique comes from Christopher Schwarz.

Elevate the panel on a scrap board and hold it against a stop and let the edge hang over the scrap board. Trim the edge with the plane laying flat on the bench top. It works extremely well and keeps the edge of a thin panel 90 degrees.

The narrow edge of the panel can simply be trimmed to size on the shooting board.

If your blade is sharp you will get nice solid end grain shavings, not dust.

This panel is around 3/8” thick and the groove is only 5/16”. I turn the panel to the back side and use a block plane to chamfer the edges intil it fits all the way into the bottom of the groove.

Now it's time to mark out and cut the holes for the weather instruments.

I find the center of the panel and mark a line in pencil, then lines 1” on either side to give me 2” between the holes.

I set my dividers to 1 1/4” and scribe two 2 1/2” circles.

I use a brace and a forstner bit to make a small hole to get my saw blade through. 

Now it’s just a matter of cutting close to the line with the coping saw and then refining the hole with a rasp until the instruments fit snugly.

Now I have all the major “joinery” finished and I’m really close to glue-up.

Before I jump into applying glue there is some clean-up that needs to be done.

I really spend some time on the show face of the maple panel with my #4 smoother. I take very thin shavings with very little pressure on the plane so I don’t bruise the face of the material with a corner of the plane, and I’m constantly checking the finish. I’m not going to sand this surface at all so I need it to be pristine right off the plane.

With all of that out of the way I apply a little bit of finish to the areas that will be hard to reach later. Mainly the inside corners and the edge of the panel that will be in the groove of the frame.

Just one coat.

I mask off the edges of the miters to help clean up any squeeze out. I get all my tape in place and organize my parts.

I spread a thin layer of glue on all the surfaces, get all the pieces in place, and apply some light clamping pressure.

Once I get the piece out of the clamps and all the blue tape removed I set it flat on the bench face up and hold it with planing stops and a wonder dog.

I make sure my jack plane is nice and sharp and I go around the face of the walnut frame and even out any inconsistancies. I then flip it over and do the same.

I then take a fresh piece of 220 paper and a flat block and go over the entire frame front and back, making sure to soften all the edges and corners.

Again, I do not touch the maple panel with sand paper at all. I find that a hand plane finish really pops the figure more than sanding.

Once I’m satisfied with the sanding it’s time for the first coat of finish.

For this piece I will be doing a simple wipe-on Danish oil (Watco Natural)

I just follow the instructions on the can, one coat applied with a clean cotton rag, wait 30 minutes, apply another coat and wait 15 minutes, wipe off any excess with a clean rag.

After 8 hours the finish is ready for another coat.

I give a very light sanding to the frame only with 400 grit and get rid of any nibs.

The maple panel gets burnished with 0000 steel wool.

I apply more Danish oil in the same process as above.

After 24 hours it’s time for some wax.

I like to use this 3M synthetic steel wool to apply the wax, it helps get rid of any nibs and smooths everthing very nicely.

Once the wax dries I buff the entire surface with a shoe shine brush to bring out the desired luster.

So after a few days work this is what I’m left with. 

A beautiful frame and panel for my thermometer and hygrometer. I hope you like it.

I’m pretty proud of it.

1 comment

Wow, that is an awesome looking weather station! I love the curly maple! Thanks for taking the time to share and write comments for the pictures!

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