April 11-11, 2015

Hannu says we need 20 laths to weave the basket, 6 laths to make the gunwales, and 2 laths as trim once the cloth is on (outwales.) He spec's the laths as 1 3/8" wide. When I was a boy, we guessed a tablesaw blade was 1/8" wide, but it seems more like tablesaw blades are ~ 3/32" wide, meaning we should be able to rip about 32 laths from a sheet of plywood.

The proper, safe way to rip plywood into strips is with a panel saw, like this one, but we don't have a panel saw (nor do we really want one - they take up a lot of space.)

There are other safe ways to rip plywood, all of which we have done many times before: Use a circular saw with a guide, snap a line and use a circular saw or saber saw, set up a jig. Instead, we thought we'd take the easy way - I mean, God gave us 10 fingers, didn't he? Means we got spares.

Mr. Scheidaman, my 7th grade Shop teacher, would have kicked my ass for trying to rip a wobbly, bendy, 1/8" thick full sheet of plywood on a tablesaw. It really is unsafe and the proper tool for this is a panel saw. I have roller stands under there to help control the board.

Once ripped into 24x96 pieces, they are much more manageable. Geoff suggested we just keep halving the pieces until we got to the width we wanted, which would have been the best use of material, but I didn't want to do that much measuring. Instead, we set the fence at 1 3/8, stacked the pieces 2 at a time (I was tempted to go 4 at a time, but that seemed excessively ambitious and risky) and started ripping.

In the end, we got (32) 1 3/8" laths from each sheet of ply, plus one more lath that was just a hair under 1 3/8 - so close we decided to call it a lath and threw it on the pile (you can see the stack behind Geoff's head.)

1/8 ply is remarkably bendy - so much so I might try a Tortured Ply build some time in the future. Here you can see Geoff checking the bend against one of the seats. We will NOT be making these round-bottomed like that - they will be far too unstable. We'll make the bottom nearly flat and using heat guns to do sharp bends all around.