Intellectually, I know that the principles are the same whether you’re timber framing or making jewelry boxes. Pay attention to the grain, be careful with your layout and keep your blades sharp. The only real difference is the size of the blades.
I’ve been working on the base for the trestle table and as a quirk of my own temperament I’ve discovered that I have to pay more attention to careful and precise layout when I’m working at such a large scale. When I’m working on a small project, details come easily but large work can lull me into a sort of laziness. I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did.
Here’s the thing. A 1/32″ gap is a 1/32″ gap no matter how big the finished piece is. Sometimes you can “hide” it on bigger work by the sheer scale, but it’s there.
In cutting joinery of this size I often rely on my drill press to hog out waste, but the final trimming is all done with a chisel or router plane, so I’ve made a special effort this time to keep it clean.
Concurrently, I’ve been working on a few small scale projects. The spokeshave I wrote about here, and some handles for a pair of Kenyon style panel saws I’m building.
You might think these would be a distraction from the work at hand, but this smaller scale work has been good practice and an ongoing reminder to keep it clean on the table joinery. I have wondered if working on such a variety of tasks at the same time keeps me from getting bored and helps me to stay attentive to the individual task at hand. Maybe it’s just the “fresh eyes” effect? Maybe practice makes perfect? I can’t make any across the board prescriptions on this, but it’s been working for me and I have to admit that the table is coming together nicely.