Thursday, September 4, 2008

Adventures in Notching Shelves

OK, the shelf blanks have all been cut to the right width & length. According to my punch list in my "How Am I Going to Build a Pulpit?" post, I should be milling stock for edging & preparing to edge all of the blanks. Did I do things in that order. No, of course not. And I got myself into trouble as a result.

Instead, I skipped over to step 15, "Cut notches in all shelf blanks to fit around posts." I figured it didn't matter if the edging was on or not because I layed out the notches by holding each blank against each post & marking the point where the post met the blank. I then extended those lines using a square.

Once I had the notches layed out, I set up my band saw to cut them. And here's where I started seeing problems. First, I didn't quite have the fence adjusted properly for the blade's drift, so many of the cuts ended up not being square. Second, I managed to over cut the corner where the two layout lines met a couple of times. And, worst of all, I found out much later that I somehow managed to screw up the layout on a few shelves. And, of course, instead of the notches being too small, they ended up being too big.

After cutting all of the notches, and before I fully realized the extent of my problems, I did go back & make the edging. After the glue had dried, I did use my table saw with a tall aux fence attached to my miter gauge to trim the edging to length & square up the cuts in the notches. And I some how ended up making a couple of cuts with the blade too high.

The picture on the left shows one of the shelves I notched too big. If you look closely at the corners, you can see some spaces larger than 1/16", some approaching 1/8". This one isn't too bad, as I could just glue on some thin strips of hard wood to close up the gaps.

The picture on the right, however, shows a much worse situation. The notch on the left is actually about 1/32" to 1/16" too small, which prevents the left edge of the shelf from touching the ply partition, which it's supposed to do. And the notch on the right is too big in both directions. This one can't be fixed just by gluing on a piece of solid wood, as the grain will be going in the wrong direction. And you can see that I also had the table saw blade too high on a couple of the notches.

I'm not sure how I'm going to fix some of the shelves, like the one shown on the right, but most of them I can just glue on a piece of edging the proper thickness & trim it properly. These are the easy ones. Actually, I've been thinking about cutting off the existing edging, then cutting off enough from each edge, except the front edge, to keep them a constant 1/4" away from the surface they're supposed to touch Then I'd wrap everything with new 1/4" edging, mitering all the corners. I'd put 3/4" edging back on the front edge. In this way, I could make up for the missing material & some, if not all, of the over cuts, and all of the shelves would look the same. As though I planned it that way from the start.

I hesitate to do all of this because it would take a long time to do & I have to get this piece delivered before October 5th.

No, the nights I tried to do all of this notching were definitely not my nights. Cuts that should have been the same length weren't, which means my frames are out of square. Yeah, I have to do something about these shelves or the boxes will be crooked.

At this point, I decided to put the shelves aside for a few days & just get started milling up the lumber for the panels. Once I have all of the panels, I can assemble the ends & keep them flat. Then I can work on the shelves.

Until next time.

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