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Thread: Clock is ticking, trying to finish this project by Christmas...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    21

    Clock is ticking, trying to finish this project by Christmas...

    I started building a microwave cart in the beginning of November for my son and his wife for Christmas. I modeled this after a microwave cart I have, so I had no plans, just measurements that I took. I've built cabinets and carts from plywood in the past, but wanted to try my hand at making this one entirely from hardwood (soft maple). Here's a couple of pics of the original cart I copied:

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    I have a very slow day at work, so I thought I'd share some pics from the build.

    I decided to use dowels and glue for the assembly... wow, that turned out to be a challenge with some of this. I built the 2 frame and panel sub-assemblies for the sides, and then added the front rail supports and back rails and panels to one of the sides. To join everything together, I needed to connect the opposite side frame and panel assembly with (13) 3/8" dowels. Very tricky to do, as I needed to use a rubber mallet to bring the side assembly in close, and then use parallel clamps to close the gap. Was really worried things weren't going to come together.

    I'm down to the wire now, just have the finishing to do. Decided on water based shellac to provide some amber color, and water based lacquer, both from Target Coatings. Both are fast drying, so less chance of getting dust etc. in the finish, plus there's no fire hazard spraying with my propane heater. My shop is small, so no dedicated spray booth. I leave the door open slightly with a fan blowing and use a respirator. Last night I was able to spray and lightly sand my 1st coat of shellac. Tonight I'll spray another coat, and then start the 1st of 3 or 4 coats of lacquer. Should be able to "finish" up by Christmas Eve and re-assemble Christmas morning.

    Maple boards cut to rough size:
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    Gluing up the top:
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    The corner posts. Each made up of 2 lengths glued and 2 veneers to hide the glue joint:
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    Here are the posts after planing and sanding:
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    Glue-up of re-sawn long panel for the back. 2 of these were needed, plus 4 smaller panels were made for the sides:
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    Here are the cleaned up panels:
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    More to come...
    Last edited by Lester Sak; 12-24-2014 at 01:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Posts
    9,076
    Moving right along Les. I think you're going to make it.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Posts
    5,002
    Nice work, Santa. No pressure

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Humid Gulf Coast
    Posts
    542
    Tick tock--Santa is polishing up his boots and belt buckle already
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    Posts
    3,798
    < microwave popcorn
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    21
    Time to start doweling the rails and stiles.

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    And now it's time for my first mistake. I attached the top rail and glued in the dowels in the center of the post, when I realized I'd forgotten to route the dadoes for the panels in the stile - DOH!. Since I couldn't do it on the router table, I used a trim router with a fence. The material I couldn't get was removed with a chisel.

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    Back on track, here's the rails connected to the stile:

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    And here's a completed side:

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    Mistake #2 - I forgot to drill the dowel holes in the rear stile for the back rails before assembling the side. Mistakes like this could be avoided if I had drawn up plans. Oh well...
    I have the Jessem doweling jig which works well, but it's not designed for this. Here I've clamped one of the rear rails which has already been doweled to the side panel so that I could line up the holes using the jig. What a pain, but it worked:

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    Mistake #3 This time when I routed the dado, my measurement was off slightly. The dado was too far to the outside of the rail and wouldn't line up with where the rail dadoes would be. So, I widened the dado and glued in a filler piece which I planed flat:

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    Then I re-routed the dado and attached the rear rails:

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    I learned my lesson for the other side, making sure to drill the dowel holes and route the dadoes before I assembled it

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    21
    Here's the assembled carcass. I've added wooden rails and center divider for the drawers, as well as 4 additional rails to act as shelf supports. This is the first time I used screws in this cart. I used shellac on some of the pieces, as I wanted to see if I'd get the color I wanted without using aniline dye. I wanted something light, so I think the color is fine. The wheels have been added as well.

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    Shelves are done:

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    Drawers and doors completed:

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    Last night I cleaned the shop of as much dust as I could, and hung a tarp to make a temporary spray booth.

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    I removed everything from the cart, and I was able to spray a coat of shellac and scuff sand them.

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    Leaving work now, will spray another coat of shellac later and then on to the lacquer. Hoping for no more mistakes
    Will post pics when complete.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,002
    Looks great, Lester.

    I've always had the opinion that the mark of a true craftsman is how well he recovers from his mistakes.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Posts
    4,944
    Lester,

    This was a good "Follow along." That is a cabinet that would be great in most kitchens. It looks like Santa is going to have it to load in his sleigh---That makes for very happy recipients on Christmas.

    Slightly off topic here: I assume that the many holes drilled in your TS blade insert are to enhance air flow for the dust collector. In theory it sounds great. How is it in actual use?

    Enjoy,
    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Looks great, Lester.

    I've always had the opinion that the mark of a true craftsman is how well he recovers from his mistakes.
    Thanks Vaughn. Mistakes always happen, but seem alot bigger when there's a deadline

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