Monday, August 1, 2011

Roof Brackets and the Festool jigsaw

Well I've been working on these roof brackets for a couple of weeks to support a small shed roof over the front doors of the house I live in. I say doors since it's a duplex and the roof is going to extend over the neighbors door as well. Anyway, here's a photo of them.


They  are looking pretty good. Made from a five layer lamination of pine they have a saddle joint at the 90 degree corner and the birds mouth joints at the other two points have a kind of a saddle joint in them as well to prevent lateral movement. Once the 90 is glued and drawbored the other joints just stay put under the compression of the roof. Thanks to Tools for Working Wood and their re-release of Carpentry and Joinery Illustrated for the technical inspiration for these. If you do any architectural woodworking whatsoever I would highly recommend this book.

Cutting the decorative ends on the vertical and horizontal sections presented some challenge. I was leery of supporting the length and weight of the sections on my 14" band saw, and my Bosch jig saw couldn't handle the thickness. Even if it could it wouldn't cut square to the workpiece when making a curve no matter what I would do. Enter the Festool Trion jigsaw. Five inch blades are available and its advertized as being able to make a square cut with that blade. Well here's the proof.

That is the cut quality right off the saw. While not all of the curves were perfectly square, (which may have had something to do with my setup of the blade guide) they are definitely better than what the Bosch was capable of even in 3/4 stock. I was able to get them looking great with a little rasp work.

After this torture test, which was also my first time using the Trion, I pretty much now consider the Trion to be a portable band saw for the majority of curves and scroll work allowing me to keep my bandsaw set up for re-saw operations most of the time. It's really nice to have a jigsaw that you can trust to make a good cut.

I will say that I did make a couple of practice cuts of my design in some waste stock of the same thickness to make sure it was going to look ok and to get a little technique down. It is slow sawing in material this thick but the line is easy to track. I used the lowest blade orbit setting that wasn't zero. Cutting was especially slow along the grain (rip) but was doable. It helped to back off regularly to allow the blade gullets to clear of dust. I also used one of the sacrificial clear plastic zero clearance inserts to prevent chip out on the top of the cut. You can see it in the throat of the saw.

I have also used the saw to cut some curves on 1 1/2 inch material and that was smooth sailing.


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