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Thread: A Follow Along Project - Part 1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA

    A Follow Along Project - Part 1

    I have been wanting to do a tutorial on a basic project. The teaching bug in me was bugging me!

    The idea is to take you through the thought process as well as the construction process. So I have broken this project into several parts and will post them with their pics as I have time. It sure slows things down when you stop to take pictures!

    So fill your cup and hopefully enjoy.

    This Powermatic mortiser followed me home from Missouri last month. Paul Gallian had put it up on the classifieds here and I was lucky enough to grab it. I visited him and his very talented wife on my way home from North Carolina. Melissa does beautiful weaving, and you have all seen Paul’s talents elsewhere on this forum.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It is setting on one of my benches and in the way of the next installment of book shelves. It needs a home ASAP.

    So, first the planning criteria. Its permanent home needs to be a roll around cabinet with at least one drawer. The wheels need to lock. It would be good to build it out of what is on hand as even the borg is a 40 mile round trip. It needs to be big enough to be stable but small enough as to not take up lots of floor real estate.

    My first rule of woodworking is to get the hardware first. One has to design around hardware, so know its limitations and requirements first - and don't wait for it to become manufacturer discontinued! Get it now.

    Off to the spare wheel box. I collect them as the opportunity presents itself. And I had four perfect wheels for this project. These lovelies are 5" in diameter. Better to ride over the bumps! A 3" wheel is my personal minimum. Each wheel has a brake and swivels. The overall height of this assembly is 6", so now I know how high off the floor the cabinet will be.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I really did not want bolt head protrusions in the floor of the cabinet, so I found some tee nuts, machine screws and washers.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have just eliminated the need to build a base just for the wheels to attach to the cabinet. I like simple.

    I have a box of drawer slides and I found four sets of 18" slides. Now I know the minimum depth of the cabinet.

    For cabinet material I want something nice. This is a permanent home for this machine. I have some 3/4" and 1/4" left over Baltic Birch plywood from the first set of book shelves. Here is a nice piece plenty big enough.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A word on material. Crappy material to just save a couple of bucks is shortsightedness of the highest order in my world. It unnecessarily complicates the build and leads to frustration and mistakes. This is not to be woodWORKing. This is to be woodFUNning! Not to mention the final project is less than it could be and it sours me on making another. I want to be happy with the outcome. Life is too short for less. Projects are more than the final outcome. They are also a journey. So enjoy already!

    Let's review. I have an overall concept, the materials, and a few necessary dimensions. I need a few more. The machine is setting on the bench. It seems to be at a good operational height. I have a very fragile back from a car wreck. I cannot work even a little bit bent over. So operational heights are very important to me.

    The height of the bench is 34" off the floor; minus the 6" wheel assemblies, the cabinet box can be 28" high. I already know the depth will be at least 18" and I can't think of a reason why I would want it deeper. That means the width will be at least 18" as well. Don't want it tippy. So be it; 18" wide, 18" deep, and 28" high.

    Off to the computer. It is time to boot up SketchUp.

    I have an old laptop for the shop. I keep it under a dust towel until I need it. It is much handier to have it right there on the benchtop as I draw. I can go measure things right at hand, without running upstairs to my office. Cardiac exercise must be tempered with arthritic knees!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Drawing in SketchUp gives me a record of what I plan to do and automatically calculates dimensions for me. I make it a point to draw in the joinery because that often determines the cut size of pieces.

    The joinery will be chosen for strength, not beauty. The weight of the machine is significant and the operational motion is downward, adding to the need for a strong box. I chose a ˝” deep rabbet, wide enough to accommodate the thickness of the ends.

    This way the top is resting on a ˝” ledge created by the rabbet. The sides then transfer the weight to the bottom with a ˝” ledge resting on the bottom. The sides will be glued and screwed to the ends, and a back will be inset to add structural integrity to the entire cabinet.

    I do not draw anything more than I need at the moment. Right now I need the final cut dimensions of the ends (top and bottom) and the sides. As you can see on the drawing I added the necessary dimensions, so I am ready to cut material.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A word on not drawing ahead. "Stuff" happens when building and final cut dimensions may not exactly match what is drawn. And the discrepancies usually are not critical, but often affect things further along in the project.

    If I draw only as much as I need, I don't have much to change in the drawing for the next phase of drawing. The idea is to keep the drawing matching what I am building, not so much keeping the project perfect to the drawing!

    More later if you want to follow along.

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 2 - Update

    Part 3a

    Part 3b

    Part 4

    Part 5

    Part 6
    Last edited by Darren Wright; 08-12-2010 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Added links to other threads for project

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Looks good Carol. To put the drawing in the text once you have uploaded them place your cursor where you want it then click on the paper clip at the top of the edit box, select the picture you want and it will appear where the cursor was placed. Repeat as often as necessary. If you would like I can edit your first one and place the pictures for you. Or you can do it yourself if you'd like to practice. Go to edit then click on advanced edit and you'll be able to use the paper clip.
    Last edited by Don Baer; 07-23-2010 at 04:42 PM.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Oh boy. I love going along for the ride. Thanks for taking the time to put this together as you go Carol.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Looks good! Got a cup of coffee and ready to tag along!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Thanks, Don. Post edited.

    Welcome along for the ride, guys and gals. Comments are welcome with regard to thinking and procedure. I am always open to new ideas.

    And if you have questions about things you see in the photos but that I don't comment on, just ask.

    Ain't that the point of a tutorial?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I'm in. I'll be following along.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Santa Claus, In
    I'm ready, lets go.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Looking forward to this

    Faith, Hope & Charity

  10. #10
    This will be very beneficial to follow along. I've been wanting to reorganize part of the shop due to some new tool purchases and this you present your thought process will help me work thru it.

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