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The Child’s Chalkboard
Here's a nifty weekend project that will give the kids a great place to excersie their artistic talents, practice their math and leave important messags for parents, as well.

Building The Framework
Be sure to select stock that's of a consistent, 3/4" thickness. If you have difficulty doing so and own a thickness planer, be sure to plane the stock for the stiles and rails (A,B,C) to 3/4" and cut them to size, according to the Bill Of Materials. If you are going to plane your own stock, joint one edge of these pieces first, then run them all through your planer at the same time. This way, you're certain to get the straightest, most consistently thicknessed stock possible. Note that the inner rail (C) is 1/2" wider than the other two rails (B)

Using your dado setup, cut the 2" long x 3/8" deep lap joints in the ends of the stiles (A) and rails (B), as shown. If you make these joints about 1/32" or less wider than the indicated 2", you can sand the joints off flush once you've assembled the framework.
CAUTION: Using the dado setup requires working without the upper saw guard. Be extremely careful when performing this operation.

Next, lay out and cut the mortises and tenons for attaching the inner rail (C) to the stiles (A). The tenons on each end of the inner rail (C) should be 1/4" thick by 2" long by 1/2" deep. Now, cut the mortises using your Shopsmith Hollow Chisel Mortising setup or your Router setup with a 1/4" straight bit. If you don't own either of these setups, you can drill your mortises out with a 1/4" brad point bit, then clean them up with a bevel-edged wood chisel. To keep the tenons from “bottoming-out”, make the mortises just slightly deeper than the 1/2" tenons -- 9/16" is about right. Dry fit the frame assembly to be sure everything goes together properly.

Frame Assembly

Using your dado or router setup, cut a 1/4" deep by 3/8" wide rabbet along the inside back edges of the stiles (A), top rail (B) and inner rail (C) to accept your 1/4" thick chalkboard. NOTE: If you're using a purchased chalkboard that's thicker than 1/4", adjust your rabbet depth accordingly.

Glue and assemble the stiles (A), rails (B) and inner rail (C) to create the framework. Be sure to check carefully for squareness at all joints and set aside to dry.


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