Monday, August 7, 2006

Blanket Chest

I was cruising woodworking forums and was reading a post on bracket feet. I thought, my wife's bedroom set has bracket feet. I wonder if I could make her a chest for her birthday and do it in the same style as the set she picked out. So I set forth to do this.

I didn't have a plan, I just made the feet, took some measurements from her dresser, made the apron and some moulding. I ended up with an excellent match of the same style we have in the master bedroom. At that point, I needed a box. I hadn't any idea how I was going to join it, so I thought I'd take a try at biscuit joinery. I cut out some 3/4" red oak plywood, made 3/4" corner pieces, and biscuit joined the thing together. It came out square and aligned. I instantly took a dislike to biscuit joinery. It is, like all other, hidden joinery, but I know it's there. No more biscuits unless I'm attaching a face frame. That is my vow.

This was my first really big panel glueup for the top. It came out nice. Once I got finish on it, I could see swirls from my random orbit sander, so I stripped the finish off, did a better job of sanding and refinished it. I learned alot about sanding on this project. For a couple reasons. One, get rid of planer and jointer marks, and two, veneer on this plywood is crazy thin.

It's finished with gel stain and wipe on poly. I used two coats of ultra blonde shellac to seal it first.

After I got the box done, I thought, I should line it with aromatic cedar. That made a really beautiful chest and it was a pleasure to build. My wife thinks it's too big and wanted to put it in the closet. I think that I can normally hide my expression of mood on my face...not this time. It sits at the foot of our bed.

After all was said and done, it took two strong men to carry this beast out of the shop and into the bedroom two floors up. It weighs a ton! Here is a link to it's construction photos.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Dad's Wall Unit

This project turned out to be a real albatross around my neck. I loved doing it, and I having it commissioned by my mother, for my father. However, I really bit off more than I could chew. This type of project is time consuming for me. It involved alot of sheet goods and my shop is small. I had to setup a way of knocking down the sheet goods in the garage, carrying them downstairs, cutting them, taking them back up stairs for finishing, then taking the back downstairs for assembly...then upstairs again to get them in the truck to take to my parents house.

This was, all the while, dealing with my profession, my wife's profession, looking after our daughter and trying to be a husband to my pregnant wife.

I had set out to do this job in 30 days. It involved getting the office ceiling painted, getting the hardwood flooring down, building the cases, staining the thing to match the mahogany panelling, and getting it installed. Good thought. I guess.

Well, I didn't want to paint the ceiling. The painter never showed up. I got to paint the ceiling. I hired out the hardwood floor. Mom and Dad picked the flooring. I told the hardwood guy. He said no problemo. Three weeks later, I asked him what his time frame was. You see, I had planned to get the flooring down right after I painted. This was going to be finished by day 5. Yeah right. At day 24, the flooring guys says, "So, what flooring did your dad pick out?" I could have killed him.

Anyway, the build went on. I learned that my shop is WAY too small to build so many cabinets. I learned about gel stains and got an HVLP sprayer to get the poly on to try and salvage some time. I got the base cabinets, countertop and doors installed, as well as the flooring and the ceiling done in the 30 day window. Then life got in the way.

To make a long and painful story short, this job got finished about a year later. I got the bookcases in, the mouldings and face frames installed. It got spun into closet doors and a new entry door, a new electrical circuit, a rearranging of his 1000 pound desk and when all was said and done, this is what the end result was. Here is a link to the picture on picasaweb. I didn't take any construction shots because I was so frantic and harried that I really didn't think about it, or if I did, I didn't want to remember the process, only the outcome.