Cutting Ebony Socket
An update on the state of the island. At this point, all the drawers , shelves and doors are sanded, stained and finished. Each is in its place, and functioning properly.
Last weekend, I chopped out the sockets on the sides for the ebony highlights. I had chopped out sockets months ago, but they were preliminary and far to short. These are the recommended length of 5 inches and 3/8 inches wide. In the first photo, I am using the mortise chisel to clean out the waste. I chopped one of these entirely by hand, and then dropped back to my Mortise Pal jig to hog out the other three. Those I cleaned out and squared up by hand.
Ebony Socket In Breadboard
When the breadboard is tight to the top, this is what it looks like. The socket is just over 1/2 inch deep. After chopping out the sockets, I fitted the breadboards to the top and did some work to get the top and the breadboard to fit well.
Following the recommendation of Darrel Peart, I glued about 7 inches in the center and the ends are screwed on. You can see the small sockets on the ends. There are two screws on each side, one in each socket. These have play in the breadboard end which allows the screws to slide a bit with the movement of the top.
I was disappointed to realize that I had a deep blemish in the middle of the top side, and I spent some quality time with a smoother trying to carefully take it out. I put that aside and tried power sanding it with a 5 inch sander. I finally dropped down to 60 grit and I still was not seeing the success that I wanted, and I could tell that the top was getting a bit wavy as they will do when being sanded with rough grits.
Ebony End Sockets
I finally gave up, and got out a Lie-Nielsen cabinet scraper that I bought a few months back. It was nicely sharpened, and I began to work the top. Wow, what a pleasure. I stopped twice and redid the edges of the scraper; finally I ended up with a nice smooth surface with all the tear-out gone. If you don’t have a scraper, you should get one. They are amazing.
From That point on, I got the sander back out and worked the bottom side a little. Only a small portion will be exposed. I flipped to to work the top, and cleaned up the top with 150-180 grit. It is hard to see, but every edge has a 1/8 inch round-over. I used a router to put the round on most of the edges, but I had to hand work the area where the ebony goes on the sides and especially there where the breadboard meets the main top. There is a 3/32 offset that I worked by hand.
After sanding quickly with 220 grit, I wet the surface and let it set for several hours to let the hair raise. After it dried, I quickly hit the entire top surface with 320 grit and the edges with 400 grit so that it was silky smooth.
Then with the assistance of my wife, I dyed the entire top surface and the sides. Her help was invaluable. I have not dyed a surface this large before. I have discovered however, that the secret is to keep the entire surface and sides flooded and wet while working across and down the sides, With Judy’s eye, we kept things wet and even until I felt that everything was equally covered. Then together we quickly wiped everything down until we had a nice even coverage. Several hours later, when I took this last picture, all was looking very good!