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The Bark’s DIY First Place Winner—Advanced Level


DIY Doggy House - Shasta Style - Left Side

Making the kerfing and gluing blocks:

Now to make some kerfing. Kerfing is used to provide a gluing surface - such as in guitar construction, where the sides meet the top. The material is so thin that there is very little surface area to hold glue to make a joint between sides and top/bottom. Kerfing is a piece of material with many closely spaced cuts that don't quite go all the way through so that the piece can be bent in a smooth curve without breaking. The closer the cuts, the smoother the curve. You will make this on the band saw. I made two pieces of kerfing from two 8-foot lengths of ordinary pine trim, ½” quarter round. The setup includes a piece of wood with a partial saw cut through the edge. Then this is placed on the back side of the bandsaw blade, with the blade in the slot and clamped in place with just enough of the blade exposed so that a piece of ½” quarter round will be almost, but not quite, completely cut through. The curved part of the quarter round is cut almost through to the back, flat side - it's good to leave about 1/16". Too much, and it will be hard to bend in a tight curve, too little and it could break. Try a short sample piece first. Put a pencil mark to the left of the blade at ¼” - this is your guide for the cuts. Push the quarter round into the blade to the wood stop, pull back, move to the left until the cut lines up with the pencil mark and cut again... repeat many, many, many times. Don't space out during this repetitive task and add your fingers to the off cuts. Once you've cut a bit you'll find the cut portion of the quarter round will bump into the support arm of the band saw, so you will need to clamp a piece of wood to the table to gently guide it just past this point. Moving the left side of the kerfing so it will miss the support arm will require some counteracting pressure to push the quarter round into the blade, so minimize this by having the clamped guide steer the quarter round just barely past the arm - your sore, aching, fingers will thank you. When the quarter round is uncut it's fairly stiff and easy to hold and guide into the blade for each successive cut of the many, many cuts. As you accumulate cut quarter round on the left, however, it will become more flimsy and bendy and you will need to jerry rig a long board (I used a piece of aluminum angle I had handy) to the left to support the cut side for the full 8 feet.

Finish one piece of kerfing. Take a break, count your fingers. Massage any remaining fingers - they may be cramping. When you're ready, take a deep breath and make another piece of kerfing. Now you know why luthiers' suppliers sell short sections of kerfing for such a high price.

Now you will need to make gluing blocks, many of them, about 9-10 per foot.  The idea is to cut strips of  ¾" plywood (again from lessor grade plywood) about 1" wide, then cut a shoulder ⅛" wide and just under ½" high along the ¾" edge - this is to hold down the ½" kerfing when it's glued up - which is why it's just barely under ½" - so it will apply some pressure when clamped down. (see drawing for a detail). Now cut another shoulder, ⅛” high and ⅛” from the edge of the shoulder you just cut - this is to give some space for glue squeeze out, so you won't be gluing the blocks down hard at the same time as the kerfing. Some of the blocks may stick, even stubbornly so, but this relief cut will allow you to tap them and they'll come off. Now cut this strip with the two shoulders into pieces about ¾” - ⅞” wide – you will need a bucket full, and clamps to go with each one. A woodworker once said - you can NEVER have too many clamps - and this is one of those nevers. If you don't have enough clamps to go the whole way round at once, you'll need to glue a section at a time. It will need to dry overnight for full strength, but yellow glue will set up enough in an hour or so to allow gluing the next section.



PDF: Download a PDF including instructions and sketches.

Michael has been a woodworker for over 45 years. He began to make vintage camper birdhouses for fun, prompted by an avid interest in bird photography. Now he sells his birdhouses and dog houses on Etsy.


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