Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Woodworks by John: Diane's Studio Make-Over

     During my trip and drive back from the east coast I was able to talk to Diane using FaceTime on our Apple MacBooks.  Wow, this was pretty cool just using the internet through the Wi-Fi at the hotels and being able to see each other while we were talking.  One of the things we talked about is a make over of her studio so I told her to draw out some plans and we'll call it a project!  Well, in one of our FaceTime conversations I could see that she was at my drafting table and when I came home the plans were ready.
     She's really good at designing to get the maximum use of the limited space we have available.  The over-all look will be one of shabby chic with a contemporary twist.  It's centered around a table (28 x 48) that will extend out from the wall.  This will be flanked by a pair of tall cabinets which will have shelves at the top, a bank of two drawers, and then a pair of glass fronted doors at the bottom.  Since everything will be painted by her, Poplar and shop grade Birch plywood will be used.  We went to Peterman lumber Monday to buy material and ordered hardware on line.
     The first project will be the table.  Since this will have a sewing machine on either side, her design calls for a drawer on each side as well.  I was able to find a decent piece of 6/4 Poplar that was 10+ inches wide.  After surfacing all three pieces it was time to joint the edges prior to glue up.

Checking Edges

Once the edge has been cut on the table saw my method is to use a #7 Jointer plane to true it up.  After laying out the pieces according to the grain direction you can check them by laying the matching pieces on edge as shown in this picture.

Using straight edge to check for square
I also like to take a straight edge to them.  Theoretically, if there isn't any light when you sight down the joint both edges are square and the panel should glue up just fine.  That's always a concern but as of now, I've had very few panel failures so my methods must be working okay

     The final step is to glue up the panel.  I've found that Gorilla Glue is great for this mostly because of how easily it cleans up.  The way it foams as it cures doesn't seem to penetrate into the wood which can become a problem during the finishing process.  In the picture you can see some clamps that I found at a cabinet shop that was going out of business.  You don't see these around too much but I really like them because they help keep the panel flat while bringing the edges together.  When I bought them I was told they were a pain in the neck because, being wood, glue sticks to them and they may get stuck to your panel --- not good!  I solved this by ripping down pieces of UHMW polyethylene and screwing that to the wood, nothing sticks to them.  They're at wooden pieces at the ends and center of this picture:

Glued up Table top
       I'll find out soon how much work it'll take to make this smooth and flat.  As you know, I tend to shun power tools for things like this preferring the quiet process of hand planing this to get there.  I was talking to a friend of mine who has a shop with a wide belt sander and many time people come to her and ask what it'll cost to sand a wide panel.  Let you know how sore my arms may be after I get this flat!

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