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Skill Set: Making A Butterfly Spline (Or “Arikata”)

Skill Set: Making A Butterfly Spline (Or “Arikata”)
For our Woodworking Skill Set theme, we asked MAKE contributor Len Cullum to contribute some pieces on understanding basic tools and techniques. Here, he presses into service some of the tools covered in previous articles. — Gareth Now that we’ve skimmed the surface of woodworking tools, perhaps we should put some of them to work. Below, we’ll outline the process for making the butterfly spline, known in Japanese as “arikata.” When working with wider, thicker slabs of wood, it is not uncommon to have checking (cracks) in the surface, particularly at the ends. While there are a couple of ways of dealing with this such as filling the gaps with wood or putties or epoxy, I prefer to leave it as it is, treating it as a feature instead of a flaw. What We’ll Be Using: Cracked piece – Port Orford CedarSpline piece – 1″ x 2″ x 3/8″ cherrySharp chisels – 1/2″ and 1″Marking knifeSharp PencilRouter with 1/4″ straight bitAdjustable squareAngle gaugeHammerGlue and brush Start with making the spline.

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