Saturday, September 6, 2008

When in Doubt, Punt

When last we met, I was bemoaning the botched notches I had cut in the shelves for the pulpit. And I didn't know yet what I was going to do to try and recover from the problem.

Imagine the following scene. It's now Saturday morning on Labor Day weekend. After I got up, I was sitting in our living room chatting with my wife, Mary. I explained the situation with the shelves & the notches to Mary. And her response was, "Why don't you just go buy another sheet of plywood & make them again?"

I thought about it while I was getting ready for the day. I considered all of the work entailed in the solution I had originally planned. That is, removing the edging I had already glued on and then cutting everything so there would be a 1/4" gap all the way around the shelf, then gluing on new edging all the way around with mitered corners. Just remaking the shelves & cutting the notches more carefully seemed like a lot less work.

So I drove down to Dykes Lumber and I bought another sheet of red oak plywood. I had them cut it into two 4' x 4' halves. It was amazing how much easier it is to handle a half sheet of plywood than it is to handle a full sheet.

After getting it home, I decided to fix another problem with the left wing. When I glued the two right side posts to the ply partition that separates the left wing from the center box, the front post ended up sitting at an angle. When I ripped the partition from the rest of the sheet of ply, I noticed that the edge was slightly beveled. When I checked the blade with my square, sure enough, I was a couple of degrees off. I thought I had fixed that edge, but I guess I didn't.

So I ripped the posts from the ply & re-cut the rabbets. I had shot some brads through the ply into the posts, but the blade went through them like they weren't even there. I then cut a new ply partition & glued the posts to it. This time, everything came out flat & square.

After this, I went ahead & ripped the rest of that half sheet to the width I needed for the shelf blanks. Then I just used my Osbourne EB-3 with the stop set properly to cut all of the blanks. I made the 4 blanks for the fixed shelves exactly the width of the inside of the wings. I cut the other 6 blanks 1/16" shorter, since they're going to be removable & adjustable.

Then I milled a couple of boards to make new edging for the 10 shelves. I made the edging & glued them to the blanks. This time, I'll follow the steps I wrote down!

The new shelf blanks have been sitting in the shop since then, waiting for me to get around to notching them. Rather than doing that right away, though, I finally got started on the glue-ups for the raised panels. Which is what I had planned to do on Labor Day weekend, anyway.

Next time: Glue-up Madness


neil said...

Tony.........nice punt!!!!! I'd say you got the pulpit pinned within the 5 yard line.

You know its funny, after following you on the corner cabinet and now the pulpit, I've been wondering how much the starting and stopping, and restarting has to do with the minor issues.

Was it hard to go back and buy another sheet of ply??? Did you have a conversation with anybody in the lumber yard to discuss the knotches?? Seems you always feel better after somebody tells you how they would do it and have a few laughs.

I like the photo's of the knotches, and that "zing" sound from a brad or 2 is all too familiar.

Tony, I'm really enjoying following. This pulpit project is no easy puzzle you're putting together,.... left side corner post, right side wing, right side corner post, this face out, but is that for the pulpit or the wing???? You've got alot of parts to place.

Like I said got it pinned inside the 5.


Tony V said...


But am I within 5 yards of my goal or the one at the other end of the field? ;-) :-)

Was it hard to go back & buy another sheet of ply? Well, yeah, it was. On the one hand, I'd already spent $70 on the sheet I'd screwed up. Spending another $70 was no guarantee everything would come out right the second time. In fact, I'm still not done with the shelves -- I still haven't cut the notches in the new ones yet.

I didn't talk to anyone at the yard about my problems. They were pretty busy that morning -- the line was about 6 people deep when I walked in -- and it never occurred to me to ask anyone.

As for getting the parts right, I carefully labeled the posts on the top end grain & kept the parts for each box together, tied with twine, until I had to do an operation. It worked for me. Careful layout & triple checking before making a cut was another important thing. I had to think everything through not only in my bed, but before I actually did it.

God willing, assembly of all the parts I've made so far will happen this week. Then I gotta make the base parts & the cap rails, then the trim. I'm leaving the cross for last.


neil said...

Tony........great line, my day starts with a smile.

"But am I within 5 yards of my goal or the one at the other end of the field? ;-) :-)"