Saturday, April 27, 2013

Roubo project - The "before" shop tour

So if you haven't heard about the "Roubo project" coming this summer, where have you been?  Seriously, go check it out here.  Well anyway, when it was announced back in early March, I thought man, that would be really really cool.  But I already had my classes signed up for the year and all my vacation time spoken for.  Furthermore, I figured there was no way my wife would let me dip into the savings to pay for it.

But the more I thought about it and the opportunity it presented, the more I got excited about it.  My wife, surprisingly, was more supportive about it than I figured.  Of course, she was concerned about the cash, but we discussed the options which included canceling my classes for the year.  I hated to cancel, but I felt I really could not pass up this opportunity to build probably the coolest bench I will ever own.

So, I emailed Jameel and surprisingly I got in!

Since then, I have been so excited and have been thinking about how I am going to incorporate this bench into my shop.  This will be my primary work space and a HUGE improvement over my current workbench; a Sjoberg entry level bench.  It has served me well, but I need a bigger and better bench.

So I have a little video documenting the before config of my shop.  It is completely trashed from the last couple projects, so don't judge me for my clutter and mess please.  haha.  I am definitely going to focus on organization and storage during this reconfig.  All of the horizontal surfaces in my shop get so cluttered because of the lack of storage.

I hope to get the majority of it completed before July.  I have a very busy schedule between now and then, so it may be tricky.  But it has to get done, or else my poor new bench will have to sit in the garage until its done.  And that ain't happenin!

So here is the video:  Shop tour

Sorry for the herky jerky as I shot it all on my iphone.  I have already made some progress and the chop saw has been moved.  I am working on the cabinets that will compliment the new chop saw station.  More on that later.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mahogany jewelry box - Final

Last post for this project!

Not a lot of pictures about the remainder of the build, mainly because I just didn't have time to take the pictures.  I procrastinated and waited til the last minute to finish this project and I had no time....haha.

For the vertical drawers, I spoke about adding accessories for hanging necklaces and earrings.  Here is the necklace side.  It is a piece of scrap walnut with a 45 degree cut on one corner.  On that 45 degree plane, I cut 3/8" holes with a forstner bit on the drill press.  After, I cut and shaped some 3/8" walnut dowels and glued them in.  Once they were dry, I hand sanded the assembly until smooth.  I then shot a few coats of rattle can lacquer for a quick and fast finish.  Finally, I installed them with some brass screws.  Each vertical drawer has a necklace rack on the outside side of the drawer.  The 45 degree cant allows for the necklaces to stay put when the drawer is removed and replaced.

Similarly on the inside side of each drawer, I made 3 racks for both drawers for dangly earrings.  Again, this is some scrap walnut that I cut to length first.  Then I marked out the kerfs with a marking knife across the width of the scrap walnut.  Using a crosscut filed handsaw, I cut the kerfs to about 3/16" deep.  Then I took the walnut piece to the table saw and ripped 6 pieces at about 3/16" thick.  The kerfs from the handsaw weren't quite wide enough to accommodate the wire from an earring that I borrowed from my wife to test.  So I took a piece of PSA sandpaper at 80 grit and folded it in half with the sticky sides toward each other.  This gave me a double sided piece of sandpaper and was the perfect width I needed.  I then "flossed my teeth" with the sandpaper through each kerf, opening them up a little and also smoothing them.

Next I cut some scrap maple as mounting blocks for the racks.  The maple stock is about 1/2" square and the same length of the walnut pieces.  I glued the maple to the walnut pieces, flush on the bottom and secured with brass screws.  Next I secured the earring racks to the drawer with brass screws from the opposite side.  You can see these screws from the picture above.  Dangly earrings should slide right into those kerfs and hang down with the walnut as a background and support.  I figured the walnut would help see the jewels better with the lighter golds and silvers against the darker background.

And here is the happy recipient of the jewelry box.  I am told that she immediately took it to her room when she got home and started loading it up with her prized jewels.  I can't ask for more than that!  :)

Overall, it was a great project and a lot of fun.  I hope it provides her joy for many years to come.  Although I have no jewelry of my own, I sure am sad to see it go.  I sure am proud of this piece.  Thanks for reading along!

The next posts will be centered mainly around my shop transformation.  I have something big coming and I need to get my shop ready for it.  I hope you will tag along!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mahogany jewelry box - Part 7

Short post today. But other than installing a few accessories for the drawers, I am calling this project almost finished.

This weekend I was able to complete the finish on the box. The finishing schedule:
2 coats of 50/50 mix of BLO and mineral spirits.
After that was dry, a quick sanding with 600 grit to knock down the grain and fuzz.
2 coats of garnet shellac thinned to about a 1 1/2 - 2 lb cut and brushed on.
Another quick sanding with 600 grit level and smooth.
2 more coats of garnet shellac, same cut, again brushed on.
Final sanding with 1000 grit this time, very lightly, just knocking off any nibs or fuzz and light leveling.
2 final coats of shellac, same cut, brushed on.
Some buffing with 0000 fine steel wool and mineral oil as a lubricant.
Finally the last coat is just some Johnson paste wax rubbed out.

Overall I am VERY pleased with this project. It has some flaws, yes. But I have learned to just identify them as character. I will do my best not to point any of these flaws to anyone who sees this box in person. haha.

Nice shot of the top.

My wife wanted a picture with some of the drawers pulled out.

I'll do one more post on this project after I get all the doo-dads installed. Not sure when I will get to give this box to its intended recipient, but I hope it is soon. The longer this thing stays in my house, the higher the chances of it never going anywhere...haha. My wife wants to keep it for herself. I have promised to make her one some day, maybe a much bigger one that is free standing. Maybe I can put my big boy pants on and try some cabriole legs for that.

Next up? Big stuff is in the works for this summer. I have a BIG BIG project coming up in July that I can't wait for. Excited is an understatement! I don't want to say too much, as I intend to do a separate blog post(s) about that. But to get ready for that project, I need to reconfigure my shop. So my next project(s) will be some much needed shop upgrades and some re-configuring. So stay tuned for that!

I just want to say thanks so much to everyone who has read along and expressed interest in this project. I had so much fun with this one and I am glad I decided to share the journey. Take care!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mahogany jewelry box - Part 6

With the case and drawers assembled, my thoughts return (as if they ever left) to the "feet" or base. The "experiment" was not a success in my opinion and I even thought about going with no base at all. But my good friend Tim gave a suggestion that I decided to try and I believe I have a winner. Thanks, Tim!

If you don't recall, here is my idea with the feet. They are basically pieces of crown molding mitered and glued and inverted. After some shaping, I couldn't shake the image of duck feet.

Tim suggested a "plinth" base and sent me some pictures to illustrate the idea. Now, some of you may be saying "DUH!" right about now. But I am not a box builder and it really didn't occur to me to go this route. So, I had plenty of scrap walnut, so I dimensioned some pieces and did a simple dovetailed frame or box.

Yada yada, been there done that.

I got some scrap plywood and sketched out some curvy designs on it and cut and shaped it. I did this a few times until I found something I liked. Then I took the template and traced it on each corner of the base.

Next I took the pieces over to the drill press to help remove some material. I tried to get as close to my layout lines as possible. I did this part in preparation for the next part which I am not very good at.

I finished up the roughing out on my old scroll saw. Since I am terrible using this tool, I stayed away from my lines so that I can sand to my lines.

Using some dowels and scrap sanding blocks, I finished up the base assembly and threw the box on top to have a look.

I think we have a winner! Looks nice.  Thanks again, Tim! Now to glue it up, add a bevel to ease the transition to the box, some final sanding and shaping and it attach to the box.

Next I work on the back and also the pulls. The back will be a simple ship lapped back nailed on with cut nails. The pulls will be simple bar pulls from walnut, shaped on the drum sander on my drill press.

Out of the Mahogany scrap I had left, I planed it down to about 3/8" thick and cut it to size.  Next comes the ship-lapping   I use my rabbeting bit for this task.

Then fit the panels together.

I just want to nail the back on, no glue.  I am using 4d cut brads for this.  I think the pilot holes may not be necessary here, but it sure makes it easier to drive the nails in!

My fancy schmancy Kobalt ball peen.

So, I intentionally built each drawer to be about 1/32" too long for the case.  This is so I could do a quick final trim once I had the back nailed on.  It is easiest to do this at the table saw.

Next are pulls.  I grabbed some scrap ply just so I could make a quick and dirty template of the pulls I had in mind.  I wanted to work out the length, width and thickness before I cut any walnut stock.

Once I determine the size of the pulls, I sketch out a rough profile on the template.

Some quick shaping with my sanding drum in the drill press.

And I have a rough idea of what the pulls look like.

I want a little depression in the top and bottom of each pull to help give a little grip and a good feel when you touch them.  I think this is called a "core-box" bit, but I am not sure.  It is basically just a half circle.

I do this on both sides and this is what it looks like.  I cut the horizontal drawers at 2" long and the vertical drawers at 2 1/2" long.

Back the the "shaper."

Using some double sided tape, I have a quick look.  With a little more shaping, that will work out great!

All of the pulls shaped and taped to the fronts.  Nice!

Since this is a long grain to long grain joint, I just apply some hide glue and hold in place for a few seconds.  This gives it enough grab so I can stretch some rubber bands to hold as "clamps."

After some sanding, sanding and more sanding, we are ready for finish!  Here is everything wiped down with some mineral spirits to remove all the dust.  Wow!  I really like this combination of colors.  I can't wait to see what it looks like finished!

Next time we will be full swing into the finishing phase.  I plan to wipe on a coat or two of diluted BLO to pop that grain, especially on the birds eye maple.  Once that is completely dry, I will put on a coat or two of garnet shellac and then sand again with 320.  I will finish with a few more coats of shellac and will use a furniture paste wax for the final coat and buff it all out.  So far, I am very pleased with this project.  I hope my niece likes it!