Saturday, 23 August 2008

Leading-Up Boards

It is often best to have a separate board to place on top of your bench to do the leading. This means that you can move the project if it has to be delayed while having to do something else.

Start with a work board that is thick enough to be relatively rigid, but is easy to put nails into. Plywood is a good, but relatively expensive board. MDF is heavy and difficult to nail, so avoid it.

You can either have two permanent battens about 19mm (3/4") thick strips of wood attached at right angles to each other in one corner, or you can attach them to the board as required. The permanent placement means you do not have to check the accuracy of the right angle each time you use it, but it does not allow easy adjustment for smaller or larger pieces than the battens will accommodate. The temporary solution requires checking the right angle each time you use it, but it allows you to place the battens over the cartoon at the appropriate distance from the battens without cutting the cartoon or multiple checks of the accurate placement of the cartoon.

The battens should be attached to "base" board about 60mm (2 1/2") in from the edge to have a little work area to cut leads, etc. They need to be a little longer than the dimensions of the pattern you are assembling.
If you are putting the battens on top of the cartoon, you can use the cut lines to align your battens. Cut two short pieces of the came you are using for the edge. Centre their hearts on the cut line and butt the battens against them. Nail or screw the batten in place. Repeat for the other side.

If you are using permanently fixed battens, place the cartoon, which has been trimmed to the outside lead line on two sides, against the wood strips. Use some horseshoe nails to hold the pattern in place. Check to ensure the correct distance has been maintained between the battens and the cut lines on the cartoon. Adjust as necessary.