Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Some Unexpected Shop Time, Continued

Last time, we left our intrepid hero after he had finished drilling half of the shelf pin holes the corner cabinet needs . . . Things were going well, and I felt fine, so I just kept going.

There were some burn marks on the edges of the face frame stiles from when I ripped them to final width. These marks would be visible in the door openings, so I started sanding with 80 grit paper on a block to remove them. This hardly made a dent in the marks. And I didn't want to break out my random orbit sander (ROS), for fear of rounding over the corners or removing too much material in one spot.

So I grabbed my card scraper, which I have only used once before. I had sharpened it recently, so I figured I'd give it a go. The scraper really made short work of the burn marks and it was all gone in just a couple minutes of scraping. And the edges still appear to be square and straight.

Next, I grabbed the hardware for the adjustable leg levelers and selected the appropriate drill bits. I used a 1 1/8" Forstner bit to drill the counter bore needed for the t-nuts and a 1/2" drill bit for the through hole. I set up the Forstner bit in my drill press & drilled the counter bores. So far so good. After changing bits, I started to drill the first of the through holes.

I've been having some trouble with the chuck not staying on the taper. I've cleaned the taper & the inside of the chuck with alcohol and I used a block to wedge it on, hoping that this was all I'd need to do. Well, apparently my attempts to fix the problem weren't enough, or this hole was a bit too much, as the chuck came off again while I was drilling the first hole. I'm seriously considering upgrading this DP next year.

At any rate, I got the holes in the three legs started on the DP. I only was able to go about 1 1/2" deep or so through the 3" leg blocks before the chuck would come off. This was deep enough for me, since I could easily finish the hole with a hand drill.

I now glued the three leg blocks to the underside of the base cabinet bottom shelf. Actually, I just grabbed a shelf & said, "You're now the bottom shelf" and started laying everything out. I carefully layed out the position of each leg, then glued them one at a time & clamped them to the shelf. Then I left them alone for a couple of hours while the glue set up.

After the glue had dried long enough, I finished drilling the holes all the way through the bottom shelf with a corded hand drill. These holes will allow me to use a screw driver to adjust the leg levelers after the final assembly & the unit is sitting in its permanent home, since I really won't be able to get at the levelers from the bottom with the cabinet in a corner.

Once again I dry assembled the base cabinet on top of my table saw. Looking at everything, I decided it was time to cut the face frame rails to final length. So I grabbed the bottom rail & marked the length it needed to be. I did this by carefully laying the stock on top of the face frame and aligning the rail with the bottom ends of the stiles. I then marked the intersection of the rails with the stiles. Now I moved everything off of the table saw & cut the top & bottom rails to the same length.

I finally got to use my new Kreg pocket hole jig to drill the screw pockets in the face frame rails. These went well & I screwed the rails to the rest of the base cabinet face frame. This came out good and square. I then used the jig to drill pocket holes on the bottom of the bottom shelf and the top of the top shelf so I could attach the shelves to the face frame.

I dry fitted everything together again and drove in the pocket screws. This went well, except for one miscalculation I made. I had drilled screw holes that would draw the sides tight to the shelves. The shelves are 3/4" ply & I drilled all the holes in the shelves with the jig set to the 3/4" setting. All of the material I was joining is 3/4" thick. But the side panels have 1/4" deep rabbets & dados cut in them, into which the top & bottom shelves sit. So where these parts meet the shelves, there's only 1/2" of material to hold the screws.

Of course, I used the screws for joining 3/4" material to 3/4" material. These screws were fine everywhere except where I had the 1/2" of material remaining in the side panels. I got three of these screws driven all the way home before I realized my mistake. There is about 1/4" of each of these screws exposed. At this point, it was almost 9 PM so I gave it up for the night.

Last night, after returning home from work, I got back in the shop & replaced the screws that had gone through with 1" long screws. Then I cut the narrow back to length & shape -- it has two sides beveled at 45°. I sneaked up on all of the cuts to make sure the back is perfect.

Here's what the base cabinet looks like now. Everything except the boards that are joined by the birds mouths are not glued. They are either pocket screwed together or held together with clamps on the 3D squares. The narrow back is just sitting there, and everything is sitting on the leg levelers.

Nothing is glued-up yet. My next task will be to cut the back panels to the final width & length. Then I have to drill the shelf pin holes in the backs. Once all of that's done, I need to fine tune any loose fitting joints.

And that's just the base cabinet. I still have to cut a narrow back for the upper cabinet & repeat everything I've done for the base cabinet on the upper. When all of that work is done, I will sand everything, then glue up the base cabinet and then the upper cabinet. And there's more to be done after that: making & fitting the moldings, and cutting the adjustable shelves & the edge banding for same. And we haven't even gotten to the doors yet. There's lots left to do.

See you soon!


neil said...

Hey Tony........I see the lower base cabinet dry fitted; this is the best part, starting to see pieces come together. Maybe not for good, but for tonight anyway.

I was thinking about the birds mouth joint, and having cut them in the wht oak, do you believe this joint would work well with cabinet grade ply????

Keep on.....keep'in on!!......Neil

Tony V said...

Hey Neil!

Yeah, it's great to see how this is really going to look when the glue has dried. Helps get the juices flowing & makes you want to get back into the shop! Then you get in there and the cold makes you want to turn right around . . .

I don't see any reason why that joint wouldn't work for plywood. It might be a little weaker in ply than in solid wood because of the alternating directions of the grain in each layer, but I really don't see it failing all that easily. The only thing you need to do is hide the ply edges at the ends, and you pretty much want to do that with solid wood, too.

If I ever get a decent digital video camera, I'm thinking of doing a video showing how to cut these joints. It was really very easy, if you can remember which side goes does for each cut! ;-)