Monday, May 31, 2010

Recoveries: Burnin' Dominos

Early 2009, I started a remodeling project of sorts.  I had a nice coopered vanity from Lowes', but it had a black granite top with a white vessel bowl on it. -yawn-.  My replacement was a pie-wedged top of ribbon Sapelé with an onyx vessel bowl.

I did the glue-up of the pie wedges with Dominos since those end-grain glue-ups would be horribly weak.  I used a lot of Dominos.  Thing is, I planned on pattern routing the new top against the old with an offset bearing to make it slightly larger. Personal matters intervened for a year and everything sat.

I forgot the part about the larger pattern.  My Domino placement required the offset.  mea culpa.

I don't have a picture of it, but I burned through not one, not two, but three Dominos.  You know what I mean: the profile was this lovely Sapelé then a gaping hole with white steamed Beech (the Domino).  Good grief.

When I hit the first one, I remembered the offset, but much too late now.  I continued to route exposing 3 total.

So... how to fix?

First, put down power tools, step away from pointy objects, and cuss like nobody's business. Won't fix it, but you'll relax :)

I don't have pictures of the burned Dominos since that was before I thought blogging would be cool (both of you readers should let me know if that's true...)  However, imagine the profile with a gash showing the Beech Domino.  Since the profile hit the Domino at a skew angle, the hole is oblong.  This was my fix (best to read it all as some skipped details will be immediately clear when you see where things were going):

Get an offcut of the project that has the same grain you are matching.  Matching ribbon Sapelé is no fun.  Find a part of the piece that if placed in the burned hole would be a perfect match.  Here, I circled the area in chalk.

Determine the size of the mortise to know which bit to use.  I had used 10mm Dominos so that was the cutter to use (I still remembered the fence setting used to mortise the holes... if you don't, you could use a larger cutter; it will be clearer in a moment).  Figure out which mortise width setting will equal or exceed the width of the revealed hole.  In my case, 2 were using the middle width setting, one used the widest setting.

Plunge a mortise directly over the burned hole.  The intention is to leave a clean Domino mortise with no remnants of the originally revealed hole. I have no photos of this.

Next, make a shallow plunge with the Domino into your scrap in the target area.  You just want to mark the board so plunge enough that the reciprocating motion cuts across the whole mortise, but not far enough to reduce the remaining width.  In this picture, I plunged further than I normally would just so it would show clearly in the photo.

Take the offcut to the bandsaw and carefully bandsaw a perfect Domino replacement by tracing the outside edges of the shallow mortise.  You're bandsawing a very small piece: plan you cuts appropriately to stay away from the blade.  In my case, I made a rectangle that encompassed the mark and sanded the corners.

You can see where this is going, right?  Put this now perfectly fitted matched face-grain Domino into the hole you mortised over the burned hole and glue in place.  Profile it again the next day.

Here's the result after I put a finish on it, which is honestly the best way to judge the grain match.  One of the burned Dominos was at the joint on the profile.  I'll admit one more trick... the burned hole to the left of the previous picture (one with a red clamp) looked great, but not perfect... the eye caught it mostly because there wasn't a joint line there.  Nothing a 0.5mm pencil couldn't fix and it completely went away.