It’s funny how plans change. Of course, when you work without any real plans to speak of, this becomes a simpler proposition. I started off with the idea for six separate hanger brackets – two each for the razor and the two brushes. However, as I tried different prototypes, I realized that this wasn’t working out like I wanted. The shapes ended up being clunky, and the ebony was troublesome to carve with a knife. So, I decided to go the simple route and make three one-piece brackets instead. This meant that I wasn’t going to be able to use the pen blanks for the brackets, but would have to order a piece of wood. Fortunately, I had free shipping from Rockler, and was able to obtain a piece of Gabon ebony only twice the size that I needed. That’s okay – other projects coming up will require ebony accents, and the leftovers will supply plenty of little good pieces.
While I waited for the ebony to arrive, I rounded over the ends of the feet, and added a curve to the bottom of both stretchers to lighten the overall appearance. I also did final fitting of all the joinery, so that I could proceed directly to bracket fabrication once I had the wood. I also spent time with the brushes and razor deciding on the actual dimensions of the brackets.
The blank that I purchased was ½” thick. Since I only wanted brackets ⅜” thick, I was afraid I would have to plane the wood down, wasting a lot of material. However, as I was mulling this over, an idea hit me: Make a lip on the front of the bracket to help hold the item in place. I could make this lip ⅛” high, wind up with ⅜” stock for the body of the bracket, and keep the brush or razor from falling off. A bit more mulling brought me to a plan of action.
I started by cutting a piece of ebony to about 3” longer than needed, and to a width of 1 ¾” – the width of the two brush brackets. I set up the dado on my tablesaw for a cut ½” wide and ⅛” deep. This would require multiple passes, but I didn’t want to overstress the stock with a wide cut. Starting ⅛” in from the end, I made a pass with the dado on each end of the board. Then, I moved the stop on the fence over ½” and repeated, for a total of 2” on each end. This is where my Incra 1000se miter gauge really shines. Its adjustments are so accurate that the grooves from the outside blade teeth from each pass precisely aligned with each other so that three perfectly clean lines show. These three lines had to be removed, of course, so it was time for the block plane and shoulder plane to smooth things up. Having the extra length in the middle made it much easier to hold and clamp the piece while working it.
At this point, I was dragged kicking and screaming to more prosaic duties, so we’ll pick this back up later.