Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day Update

As I'm writing this, it's February 29, Leap Day. Normally, this doesn't mean much to me, but it's been a hectic week and next week isn't going to be any less hectic. So this is going to be a quick update without any pictures for now.

I've made a lot of progress on the doors, but I'm leaving on Sunday for a business Trip to Toronto, and Monday is my daughter's birthday. My sister & her husband are supposed to come up to the house tomorrow afternoon to help us celebrate the birthday. So I'm probably not going to get much, if any, time in the shop this weekend.

I've made the rails & stiles for the doors. I cut 1/4" wide by 1/2" deep grooves in the rails & stiles using my dado stack & making two passes. I cut the stub tenons on the ends of the rails & they fit into the grooves nicely. I have even glued up the panels that fit in the frame.

What's remaing to do on the doors? I have to sand the panels to flatten & smooth them out. I have to cut an arch in the top rail on the upper cabinet's door. Then I want to stain & finish the door panels before I glue the doors together. I want to do this so I won't have to worry about any unstained part of the panels showing if they shrink any smaller than they are now.

After that, I'll glue the doors together then make the bead molding & wrap it around the doors. I'll probably mount the doors in the openings after that, and I can then go on to make the shelves.

In any event, I'll be back home on Wednesday evening. I'll try to put something more detailed together then.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Son of Molding Madness

Well, now that the base cabinet is done, it's time to tackle the upper cabinet moldings. Oh, the agita! (For those of you who aren't Italian, "agita" means "sour stomach." Also known as heart burn.) Have I mentioned that mitering crown molding isn't as easy as it looks?

While I was busy working on the crown for the base cabinet, I figured I'd work on the crown for the upper cabinet after I finished the base cabinet. I had all of the material & I'd already cut the front piece (which is mitered at both ends) to proper length. I just had to get through all of the work.

So I started by sanding the upper cabinet's face frame rails flush with the stiles. Let me tell you, this is much easier to do when there's no moldings on the cabinet. All it took was about 15 minutes of sanding with 100 grit to get everything right. Not long at all.

Next, I found in test fitting the molding that the profiles didn't meet properly. This was because when I bevel ripped the waste off of the molding stock after routing the profile, the rip wasn't made in the same spot on all of the stock. So I needed to remove a little bit from some pieces in order to get everything the same.

Well, I set the bevel angle on the table saw to 45° and set up the fence to remove just the material I wanted to remove. Then I set up my feather board. I grabbed my push shoe and started ripping. It went well, but when I got to the end of the stock, the end I was pushing started to move away from the fence.

Next thing I know, wham! I've got a piece of crown molding in the flank & I'm in pain.

I was wearing a hoodie sweat shirt & a t-shirt under it. I had a red welt on my side that looked a little bit like lips. It was red because the skin had gotten scraped through all that cloth by the molding. The picture below shows the damage the kickback did to me after a couple of hours. It got very purple after that. (I promise I won't publish a picture like this again. I'm sure people aren't freaking out over the welt, just the sight of my gut! ;) )

And here's what the piece looked like after it's encounter with the blade & my gut. Well, that piece just became a scrap. Luckily, I had lots of molding left over & I could make another piece.

After replacing the piece, I made some glue blocks for the crown molding. I still had lots of beveled stock left over, so I cut a few pieces to length & I glued them to the back of the moldings. I just glued these on to the flat area in the back of the moldings in a number of different places, not bothering with any brads. I did use spring clamps to hold some of them in place.

After waiting about an hour or so for the glue to set up, I began to attach the crown molding to the front of the upper cabinet. A few brads angled through the glue blocks & into the cabinet face frame rail & I was done. Here's how the upper cabinet looked after I was finished applying this molding.

The cabinet sat in our family room for a week or so & each time I looked at the upper right corner, I kept saying to myself, "Something's not quite right with the molding in that corner." I finally grabbed my combo square and held it against the molding in that corner. Well, I was right. The molding wasn't straight across, parallel to the top as the molding in front was. No, it was angled down, droping 3/8" over the 6" length of that side.

More cursing & agita. Did I tell you that crown molding isn't as easy to do as it looks?

Well, that piece came right off with a little sawing & a hammer blow. Now I'm starting to run out of molding, but I still had enough to remake that piece. So once more I'm trying various angles until it's good. Finally I get it done & now that sucker is straight & square.

After finally getting all of the crown molding done, I made the quarter round molding that hides the joint between the top of the base unit & the bottom of the upper cabinet. This molding gets attached to the base of the upper cabinet. I was able to make this molding easily with a couple of passes of the work piece over a 3/8" radius round over bit mounted in my router table. Here's how that molding looks now that it's attached to the cabinet.

About the time that I was struggling with the crown molding on the base cabinet, I went out & bought a 23 gauge pin nailer. I was going to get the Porter Cable to go with the rest of the PC guns I have, but the store didn't have any in stock. They did have a Bostitch model in stock, and it will shoot up to 1 3/16" long pins, whereas the PC only shoots pins up to 1" long. And I got it for about $90 or so.

So I took home my new pin nailer & I loaded up some pins. I set the regulator pressure to 100 psi, as the gun's instructions said to do. I shoot a pin. It didn't get counter sunk -- about 1/32" to 1/16" of it was still sticking out. I turned up the pressure but the best I could get was almost flush with the top of the wood.

I posted on WoodNet & found out that a batch of Bostitch nailers went out with the driver piston too short. As a result, the gun won't countersink pins. Bostitch knew of the problem & all I had to do was call them & they would send me a new driver piston. Which I did the next day. And they said I should have a new driver piston in 2 days.

A week goes by & no driver piston. I call them back. I ended up speaking to the same customer service rep. She tells me she doesn't understand why it didn't go out yet. The system showed it was due to ship that day, a Wednesday, and I should have it by the end of the week.

The end of the week goes by & still no package from Bostitch. At this point, I tell myself that if the package doesn't arrive on Monday, I'm taking the gun back & exchanging it for one that works. The package arrived on Monday & I was able to fix the gun.

The quarter molding had to wait until I got the replacement part for my new pin nailer before I could attach it. I could get away with just clamps & hidden brad nails for everything else, but I couldn't see how I could attach the quarter round unless I could pin it on.So while I was waiting for the part, I made the top molding to add the last shadow line to the crown. This was just clamped in place with spring clamps & Irwin Kwik Clamps.

After I fixed the nailer, I attached the quarter round moldings. I then made & attached door stop pieces from some scraps & nailed those on, shooting the naile from the inside so they won't be seen.

The photo below shows the completed cabinet with all moldings & the door stops in place. I'm very happy with the way this turned out. It came out much better than I expected. This is exactly where the cabinet stands as of this moment.

I still have to make the doors & the shelves. I decided that since it's the dead of winter & I won't be able to apply any finish to this cabinet until some time in March, I'm going to make the doors before I make the shelves. Given the way the lumber is stored in my shed, with the remaining sheet of white oak ply behind the solid white oak. This will let me clear out the blockage & make it easier for me to get that sheet out later.

I'm suffering from a cold right now, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back into the shop. But I'll see you soon!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

More Molding Madness

When last we met, I had managed to get two good pieces of cove crown molding cut to proper length for the front of the base & upper cabinets. The problems mitering and applying this molding weren't over yet. Not by a long shot.

After getting the front pieces cut to length, I started working on the side pieces. I mitered one side piece on my table saw using my Osborne EB-3 set to 22.5° & with the blade at 90°. I then put this piece next to the front piece. Instead of going back along the side of the cabinet, it turned 45° in the same plane as the front of the cabinet. I realized I had placed the piece flat on the table instead of holding it in the position it would be in on the cabinet.

So I mitered it again. The side pieces were extra long, so I wasn't worried about running out of material. This one looked good. Then I did the other side piece.

Next, I beveled a piece at 45° to form some blocks to attach to the back of the molding. These blocks would help keep the molding at the right angle & would allow me to drive brads into the cabinet through them. This last bit would allow me to keep from driving brads through the actual molding face.

I cut some blocks from this beveled piece & glued them to the back of the molding. I drove one or two 5/8" brads through the blocks into the back of the molding to help hold the blocks in place. One of the brads ended up protruding through the front of the piece of molding, so I decided to put that aside & replace it later.

I glued the front piece to the base cabinet, driving 3/4" long 18 gauge brads at an angle through the glue blocks at an angle into the carcase. I found that the bottom edge of the molding on one end wasn't in contact with the face of the cabinet. This is because the top rail of the face frame isn't flush with the stiles but stands proud of it by less than 1/32". I've been meaning to sand the face flush & never got to it, and right now it was too late. So I grabbed a clamp & that fixed that.

But because the molding was no longer lying flat, the miter angle changed. I found this out after I attached one of the side pieces & found that it didn't wrap around the corner correctly. In fact, it didn't follow the top edge of the cabinet but angled down. I wasn't very happy about this. I ended up cutting off this piece of molding because I knew I could do better.

So now begins several days -- yes, several days -- of trying various different combinations of angles. I'd try a few cuts, get frustrated, and walk away. Mind you, it wasn't 8 hours a day of trying this. Usually just 30 minutes of so after work & dinner at the end of the day. After all, I'm not in a hurry to finish this.

And yes, during this interval, I also planed & sanded the part of the face frame rail that is still visible flush with the face frame stiles.

I figured that since the piece was angling down, I needed to use a compound cut. After a couple of days of trying this & not getting good results, I set the bevel back to zero and just played with the miter angle. And that's when I found that a miter angle of about 23° did the trick.

The photo above shows the joint and the mitered piece after I finally got everything right. And the photo below shows the completed base cabinet crown molding.

Earlier in the week, I stopped at the Tool Nut on my way home from work & I picked up a Bostitch 23 gauge pin nailer. I went with this nailer because:

  • This nailer allows you to adjust the counter sink depth at the tool. The Porter Cable nailer requires you to adjust the regulator on the compressor.
  • The Bostitch can shoot pins 1/2" to 1 3/16" long; the PC shoots pins 1/2" to 1" long.
  • They didn't have the Porter Cable nailer in stock.

When I got the nailer home, I used it to pin the molding you see in the pictures above. There was a problem, though. It turns out that Bostitch had shipped a number of these nailers with a plunger that was too short. As a result, the tool will not counter sink the pins. But turning up the pressure on the regulator, I was able to get the pins just flush with the surface.

After posting about this on WoodNet, I called Bostitch customer service and was told that a new plunger assembly is on its way to me. I should get it on Monday or Tuesday. Once I have it, I will replace the assembly & I'll be able to use this nailer again.

Now that I finally got this molding finished, it was time to put a cap on top of the crown. This was a lot easier -- the cap is just a piece of 3/4" stock about 1 3/8" wide, mitered around the corners. Getting these miters right was a no brainer after dealing with the crown molding. The photo below shows the top of the base cabinet with the cap just clamped to the base molding, but not yet glued.

When it came time to attach the cap rail, what I did was apply glue to the crown molding & the glue blocks. I then used the spring clamps to hold the rail in place. I took my 18 gauge brad nailer and drove a brad at an angle through the back edge of the cap and into the glue blocks. This keeps the brads from showing, since the upper cabinet will be right behind them.

The photo above shows the finished base cabinet. That's a shadow on the lower right hand side. All I have left to do on this base cabinet is some more finish sanding.

That's enough for now. We're almost up to date. All that's left is to update you on the moldings on the upper cabinet.