January 2009


President's corner

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President's Corner

Fellow Members ---

Have you ever thought how accurate you have to be for good woodwork?

I was measuring a kitchen cabinet for a set of interior drawers. The drawers were going to be simple 1/2in ply 5in high with a nice wood front. I planned to use metal runners so they would handle a full load of kitchenware. Seemed a simple task to measure the size of the cabinet then go to my workshop and build the drawers and frame for the runners. But when I measured the inside of the cabinet it was almost 16 11/16 inch wide! If it was 16 ½ or 16 ¾ I would have been OK but 11/16 is a high accuracy type of number. I started wondering how accurate do I need to make the simple drawers? If they were a little bit over or under size would they fit OK? Like many of you I was brought up with the basic engineering principal; there is no absolute size, everything is +/- some degree of tolerance. But what degree do I use for kitchen cabinet drawers? I looked at the datasheet for the runners where the side space was shown as 0.50in +0.031/-0.0 inches. Did this mean I could make the drawer assembly +/- 1/32in? It still seemed to be very accurate for a set kitchen drawers. So I erred on the side of caution and cut a test piece for the width of the drawers (allowing for runners and support rails) and brought it home to check it was Ok before making the drawers. But it still leaves me not really knowing how accurate I need to be when making something in wood? Is there an answer out on the web somewhere?

On a more serious note you may have heard of the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that takes effect in February. It effectively stops anyone supplying toys etc for the under 12 year olds without obtaining expensive certification that they are free of hazardous materials such as lead. We think the Act unintentionally stops our Toy Workshops along with those of many other non-profit operations in the USA who provide toys etc for the under 12s. We are discussing it with other organizations that are in a similar situation and will let you know our thoughts in the New Year.

Meantime I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and are now starting to work on that list of workshop improvement and things you said you would make in 2009.

Enjoy 2009.

Frank Ramsay

Frankramsay8@aol.com or 408-823-2382