Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Progress Update, and A Quick Trip to the Lumber Yard

I thought I would take a few minutes to review the check list from the So Just How Do You Make a Corner Cabinet? post & show how far I've come with this project and how that list has actually changed. After all, the list of steps in that posting was just a best guess as to how everything would go. Since I haven't printed that list out and checking things off as I went, I'll go through it all now.

What I'm going to do is go through the list, step by step, and add "Done" to the step if it's done. Things will get moved around if the order has changed, and there will be more explanation about steps that got deleted & replaced by others.

OK, here we go!

  1. Make pattern for Top / Bottom Shelves -- Done
  2. Cross-cut blanks for Top / Bottom Shelves to rough length -- Done
  3. Cross-cut blanks for Wide Backs to rough width -- Done
  4. Rip blanks for Top / Bottom shelves to rough width -- Done
  5. Rip blanks for Wide Backs to rough width -- Done
  6. Lay out over-sized shape of Top / Bottom shelf on each blank -- Done
  7. Cut Top / Bottom shelves to rough size & shape -- Done
  8. Use router with pattern bit to cut Top / Bottom shelves to final size & shape -- Done
  9. Plane stock for Base Cabinet Sides to thickness -- Done
  10. Rip Sides for both cabinets to rough width -- This and the next couple of steps didn't go so well. If you recall, the splitter on my table saw was out of alignment with the blade, and I had to go to Woodcraft and use their machines to straighten everything.
  11. Rip Face Frame Stiles to rough width -- Done
  12. Rip Face Frame Rails to final width -- Done
  13. Cross cut Base Cabinet Sides and Face Frame Stiles to final length -- Done
  14. Cross cut Upper Cabinet Sides and Face Frame Stiles to final length -- Done
  15. Cut all rabbets (Top / Bottom Shelves. Base Cabinet Sides, Upper Cabinet Sides) -- Done
  16. Cut all dadoes (Base Cabinet Sides, Upper Cabinet Sides) -- Done
  17. Fit Sides to Base Cabinet -- Done
  18. Fit Sides to Upper Cabinet -- Done
  19. Set bevel angle on table saw to 22.5° using Wixey & scraps to fine tune -- This step was deleted
  20. Rip Sides to final width -- Done
  21. Rip Face Frame Stiles to final width -- Done
  22. Reset blade to 90° -- This step was replaced with: Cut birds mouth joints in Sides
  23. Lay out Face Frame Rails -- Done
  24. Cut all Face Frame Rails to final length -- Done
  25. Fit Wide Backs to Base Cabinet -- Done
  26. Fit Wide Backs to Upper Cabinet -- Done
  27. Set blade to 45° using Wixey & scraps to fine tune -- Done
  28. Rip Wide Backs to final width (beveled cut) -- Swapped steps 28 & 29. Done
  29. Rip Base Cabinet Narrow Back & Upper Cabinet Narrow Back to width (blade still set to 45°) -- Done
  30. Dry fit Base Cabinet -- Done
  31. Fine tune joints -- Done
  32. Dry fit Upper Cabinet -- Done
  33. Fine tune joints -- Done
  34. Reset blade to 90° -- Done
  35. Cut Foot Blanks to rough width & length -- Done
  36. Glue up Feet from the Foot Blanks, 4 blanks to a foot. -- Done
  37. Rip Feet to final dimensions -- Done
  38. Drill hole for leg levelers in all blanks for the Base Cabinet -- Done
  39. Glue Feet to the Bottom Shelves -- Done
  40. Extend leg leveler hole through the Base Cabinet Bottom Shelf -- Done
  41. Install leg levelers -- Done
  42. Drill shelf pin holes in Sides & Wide Backs -- Done
  43. Glue up Base Cabinet -- Done
  44. Glue up Upper Cabinet -- Done
  45. Cut the three Base Cabinet Top pieces to final width & rough length (best if I can get them from one piece)
  46. Route all molding profiles
  47. Cut arc in bottom of Base Board -- Done
  48. Set bevel angle on table saw to 22.5° using Wixey & scraps to fine tune -- Rather than change the bevel angle of the saw, I just used my Osborne EB3 miter gauge set to 22.5° & raised the blade to full height.
  49. Fit & miter moldings to Base Cabinet
  50. Glue & brad moldings to Base Cabinet
  51. Fit & miter Base Cabinet Top pieces
  52. Glue & brad Base Cabinet Top pieces to Base Cabinet
  53. Fit & miter moldings to Upper Cabinet
  54. Rip blanks for Adjustable Shelves to rough width
  55. Make pattern for Adjustable Shelves
  56. Cross cut blanks for Adjustable Shelves to rough length
  57. Lay out shape of Adjustable Shelf on each blank
  58. Cut Adjustable Shelves to rough size & shape
  59. Use router with pattern bit to cut Adjustable Shelves to final size & shape.
  60. Cut Adjustable Shelf Edging to final width & rough length
  61. Cut rabbet on front edge of Adjustable Shelves
  62. Cut rabbet on Adjustable Shelf Edging
  63. Fit Adjustable Shelf Edging to Adjustable Shelves (ends have 45° miters)
  64. Finish Base Cabinet, Upper Cabinet and Adjustable Shelves
  65. Install Base & Upper Cabinets in dining room
  66. Cut blanks for Lower Door Panel to rough width & length
  67. Glue up blanks for Lower Door Panel
  68. Cut blanks for Upper Door Panel to rough width & length
  69. Glue up blanks for Upper Door Panel
  70. Cut Lower Door Stiles to final width & rough length
  71. Cut Upper Door Stiles to final width & rough length
  72. Cut all Door Rails to final width & length
  73. Cut curve in Upper Door Top Rail
  74. Cut grooves in all Lower Door Rail & Stiles
  75. Cut grooves in both Upper Door Stiles & the Upper Door Bottom Rail
  76. Cut deeper groove in Upper Door Top Rail
  77. Cut arch in Upper Door Top Rail & sand smooth
  78. Cut stub tenons on the ends of all Door Rails
  79. Cut decorative grooves in Upper & Lower Door Panels
  80. Dry fit Lower Door
  81. Fine tune joints
  82. Dry fit Upper Door
  83. Fine tune joints
  84. Glue up Lower Door
  85. Glue up Upper Door
  86. Cut Lower Door Stiles to finish length
  87. Cut Upper Door Stiles to finish length
  88. Make Door Bead Edge Molding
  89. Set blade to 45° using Wixey & scraps to fine tune
  90. Fit & miter Door Bead Edge Molding to Lower Door
  91. Glue & brad Door Bead Edge Molding to Lower Door
  92. Fit & miter Door Bead Edge Molding to Upper Door
  93. Glue & brad Door Bead Edge Molding to Upper Door
  94. Finish doors
  95. Mount hinges to doors
  96. Mount doors to cabinets
  97. Mount Knobs to doors
  98. Mount doors to Cabinets
  99. Mount door catches

You can see we're slightly more than 1/2 done, and I still have to route molding profiles & miter them. To that end, I stopped at Condon's at lunch on Tuesday & bought a 5/4 white oak board to make my crown moldings & ogee molding from. The board was 5" wide by 10' long, about 5 bd ft. Since I had my car & not the van, I had them cut it in half before I took it home. So now it's two boards 5" wide by about 5' long.

The reason I bought this extra boards is because the stuff I got from Lakeshore is cut a little too close to final size for me to feel comfortable cutting these moldings. My fingers are probably going to be just a little bit too close to the bit if I try to route the profiles into these boards.

So I hope to get up to Wood Craft again one day next week, after Christmas, and rip the two halves in half, then joint & plane them square. Then I'll be able to take them home & route my profiles.

I'm probably not going to get any work done on the cabinet, and I'm probably not going to post anything more until after Christmas. So for all those who celebrate, let me take a moment to wish you all a Merry & Holy Christmas!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Miter, Miter, Toil and Trouble!

I want to start by apologizing for not getting anything posted in the past 2 weeks. It is the Holiday Season and we've been very busy with preparations for Christmas. I volunteered to join the choir at our church for the Christmas Party, which was held on December 8. Everyone had a good time & none of the glassware broke, so I guess we did OK.

In addition to all of the preparations, things have been hectic at work. My manager is taking off the last two weeks of the year; Friday was his last day. We had a lot of work to get done before he left. When I got home in the evening, I just had too much to do. This coming week will be no exception -- I still have to go shopping for Mary's gifts, and the evenings this week will be spent with our traditional cookie baking. But now, I can bring everyone up to date.

When last we met, I had finished making the base board with the fair curve arch. Next, I mitered it & cut it to finish length, along with the miters for the pieces that wrap the sides. It's not just that simple, though. I want the center of the arch to be at the center of the cabinet, so you just cut the board anywhere.

The process starts by measuring the front of the cabinet. The photo above shows me making that measurement. It came out to be 25 1/4". That makes the midpoint 12 5/8". So I measured 12 5/8" from one end & made a mark, as shown in the photo below. The picture shows the base board on the bottom of the base cabinet -- that horizontal dark line is the base board's shadow. You can see the center mark on the base board aligning with a center mark on the bottom of the base cabinet.

Next, I found the center of the arch and marked it. I now placed the base board on top of the base cabinet, aligning the two marks. Now I could mark the ends of the base board on the inside edge, where the miters needed to be cut.

The next task was to determine the correct angle for the miters. I have a Starrett Pro Site Series miter protractor that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago. I figured it was time to put it to use.

The photo above shows the miter protractor on the carcase on the first corner I wanted to wrap. The photo below is a close up on the protractor's scale. If you look closely, you'll see that the angle shown on the scale is 45°.

The red arrow on the protractor's scale is pointing to the correct miter angle for that corner, which happens to be exactly 22.5°. Somehow, I got that corner to come out absolutely perfect. The other corner turned out to be 44°, with the correct miter being 22°. So you see, you can't just assume the corners will be identical & perfect, you really need to measure them and cut the miters to fit each one.

To cut the miters, I used my Osborne EB-3 miter gauge. I left the saw blade set to 90° and used the Osborne's built-in detent to set it to exactly 22.5°. I raised the blade to full height & placed the outside face of the base board against the miter gauge's fence. I used my combo square to draw a square line across the back face of the base board at the place where the miter had to be cut. I carefully aligned the mark with the edge of the kerf in my ZCI & made the cut.

The offcut wasn't long enough to use for testing, so I cut another piece of scrap at the same angle. I placed both pieces on the base cabinet to check if the miters would line up properly. They met perfectly without any gaps. Now I made a matching piece from good stock, about 1/2" longer than I needed it to be after mitering. This also matched up perfectly.

I repeated these steps on the other corner. The miter angle had to be 22°, as I said before, and I had to make a couple of cuts to get the piece with the arch in it the right length.

The photo at the left shows the finished pieces, all mitered & clamped to the bottom of the cabinet.

My next task is to make the other moldings for the cabinet. There's a molding with a profile that I call an "ogee" that I have to make. It consists of a 1/4" radius round over, a 1/16" "step", a 1/4" radius cove, another 1/16" "step", and another 1/4" radius round over. This is going to be challenging to make, as everything has to line up in exactly the right spots or the wood will be scrap. I'm going to have to use a lot of scrap to get this right. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Let the Moldings Begin

I managed to get some shop time on Saturday. The weather was nice, but it was very cold. I believe the temperature was in the lower 30s. So before I even stepped into the garage, I drove up to the local Ace hardware store & bought an oil filled 1500 Watt electric heater. No, this won't heat the room quickly like a gas burning unit would, bit it only cost about $65 and it will get the chill out of the room.

When I got it home, I plugged in the heater & gave it a half hour or so to raise the temperature in the garage a degree or two. The room never got to be so warm that I'd have to break out my shorts & tank top, but by the end of the day, the temperature in there was a lot more bearable.

After that initial half hour wait, the first order of business was to work on the arched base molding that runs across the front of the cabinet. The figure above shows the piece in question.

As you can see, the arch is about 17 1/8" long and 1 1/4" high at its highest point, in the middle. The drawing shows a circular arch, but I wanted to actually use a fair curve. I drew a circular arch in SketchUp because I didn't know how to draw a fair curve. A fair curve is actually a parabolic shaped curve and generally is considered to be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than a circle.

To make the curve, I decided to make a full size pattern using a scrap of plywood. I would lay out the curve, cut it out roughly on my band saw, sand it smooth & to the line. Once the pattern was done, I would then use it to lay out the curve on the work piece, rough cut it on the band saw, then use the pattern and a pattern bit in my router table to cut the arch on the work piece.

The picture at the right shows me measuring the length of the 3/4" plywood scrap that will become the pattern. I measured it because I wanted to center the arch in the pattern, as it will be centered on the workpiece.

The pattern piece is 33 1/4" long, which means that the center of it would be at 16 5/8".

I measured 16 5/8" from one end and made a mark. Then I used my combo square to draw a perpendic-ular line at that point. The photo above shows me drawing the center line. Then I measured 8 5/16" in each direction from the center and drew two more square lines to establish the end points of the arch.

Next, I set my combo square to 1 1/4" and drew a line parallel to the bottom edge of the pattern piece. This established the area within which the arch will be cut. Strictly speaking, drawing the parallel line isn't necessary, but I didn't realize that until later. All I needed was to measure up 1 1/4" at the center and draw a mark where the highest point of the arch will be.

To actually draw the curve, I placed a 1/8" thick strip of poplar, which is a cut off from another project that I have kept around exactly for situations like this, on top of the parallel line I drew. I drove a brad nail (by hand, not with a pneumatic nailer) into the plywood just deep enough so it wouldn't move easily. The nail was placed on the center line and so that it would keep the edge of the strip closest to me even with the parallel line.

Next, I aligned the strip with one of the arch's end points. I drove another brad into the plywood behind the strip so that the strip would intersec the end line & the edge of the board. I then drove a third brad in at the other end, placed similarly.

The strip now formed the fair curve I was after. All that was left as to trace the curve with a pencil. The picture above shows the finished curve laid out on the pattern.

Now that the curve was laid out, I ripped the pattern to 3" wide, which is the finished width of the molding I was working on. I then cut out the curve on my band saw, trying to stay on the outside of the line, but as close as I could without destroying it. The closer I could keep to the line, the less sanding I would have to do in the next steps.

I now took a piece of 1/8" hardboard and prepared a sanding pad. The pad was sized to be be about 1/3 the size of a sheet of sandpaper. The hardboard is flexible enough to conform to the curve, but stiff enough that it won't dip into any irregular areas where I had removed more material than in neighboring areas. Basically, it acted kind of like a plane. Using spray adhesive, I glued 1/3 of a sheet of 80 grit paper to the hardboard.

I clamped the pattern into my Workmate (I do not have a workbench) and started sanding to the line. The important thing is to get the surface smooth and consistent. That means you have to sand any high points down to the level of the lowest low spot and remove all traces of any saw marks. You don't need to go to higher grits; you just need it smooth. Remember, every imperfection larger than a sanding scratch will get transferred to your workpiece when the bearing on the bit rolls over it.

The photo at the left shows the finished pattern with the curve sanded smooth to 80 grit. I had to change the paper on my sanding pad twice to get through all of the sanding, and I was done with it in less than 30 minutes.

At this point, I carefully traced the curve on to the workpiece and cut it out using my band saw. The key here is to make sure you leave the line. Most articles I've read recommend that you stay about 1/16" to 1/8" away from the line, and this is a good margin to shoot for. But if you just leave the line untouched by the blade, you'll still have enough material to remove the saw marks with the router bit.

I have to admit that I usually do a lousy job of staying outside the line while band sawing. Getting a good cut when free handing curves on the band saw requires a good amount of eye-hand coordination, and this is something that I really need to practice more. As it turns out, though, I didn't ruin the workpiece on the first try like I usually do (thank God). This is good because I didn't have enough stock to remake the part.

After cutting out most of the waste, I attached the pattern to the workpiece using double sided carpet tape. Next, I mounted my Bosch 1617 router in my home made router table. This table mounts in my Workmate. I have a Woodpecker aluminum router plate that fits into the table top. I chucked a 3/4" flush trim bit in the router and I routed the workpiece. The photo above shows the finished workpiece & the pattern.

All that was left to do is some hand sanding to remove some burn marks from the workpiece, and to fit and miter everything

Next: Miter, Miter! Toil and Trouble!