Saturday, August 16, 2008

Making the Shelf Supports

Last time, I had finally done a dry fit of all of the parts I'd made to that point. Everything was being held together with eight 24" K body clamps. To make this assemblage of parts free standing, its time to make the shelf supports / stretchers.

Because of the way this piece is designed, with 2" x 2" posts in each corner, and because I'm not using plywood for all of the sides, I couldn't cut dados to hold fixed shelves. So I designed the piece with stretchers that fit between the posts and that support the fixed shelves on the top & bottom, These are to be attached to the posts using pocket hole screws, one on each end. The shelves will be glued & screwed to these pieces at the final assembly.

The stretchers are to be as wide as possible, so they align with the inner faces of the posts. More or less. And they have to be long enough to fill the space between the posts they fit between. And here's where I made a bit of a mistake.

I knew I wanted to use relative dimensioning for these parts, so instead of placing each piece of stock where I wanted it & marking it, I measured one of the spaces & cut the parts for both boxes on that face to that measurement. Turns out I measured the smaller of the two boxes. The too short parts threw the bigger box out of square when I put it together. I ended up having to make these parts over, which didn't take too long but was a pain.

When I put the shelf supports in place, I knew it was important to get them all at the same height. In addition, the spacing at the bottom of all three boxes is the same, but the spacing on the top of the two outer boxes differs from the spacing at the top of the center box, and none of these are the same as the bottom spacing.

To do this, I cut spacer blocks the correct length. I carefully aligned the bottom of the block with the top or bottom of the post & clamped it in place. I then placed the shelf support in the correct orientation and clamped it to the spacer. I then drove the pocket screw home. As a picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say, the following two pictures show what I'm trying to say.

It was while I was trying to drive these screws home that I found that my Makita 12 V cordless drill is too big to use in this application. It just can't get into the tight space well. So I posted a question on WoodNet about cordless drivers for tight spaces. The clear winner of the informal poll turned out to be the Bosch PS10-2.

Next thing I do is to do a search on Froogle to find a decent price for the driver. I found a site that was selling it, new, for $110. I go to the Tool Nut, where they have a "price match" policy. In actuality, they don't exactly match the price for Internet sites. They take shipping into consideration, as well as their margin. And they have to charge sales tax, which I'm required to pay on Internet sales in NY state now, anyway. They came in pretty close, $118 with tax. So I bought it.

The Bosch PS10-2 made short work of driving the pocket hole screws home. And when all of the screws were driven home, the three boxes were able to stand on their own for the first time.

At this point, I've completed pretty much everything down to step # 8 under "Shelves" on my punch list that was posted in my post, "How Am I Going to Make a Pulpit?" Time to get started on step 9, "Cut blanks for all shelves from ply stock." We'll cover that next time.

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