Sunday, October 2, 2011

Woodworks by John: A Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear?

     I've started a rather interesting project, one that on the surface seemed to be fairly quick but then; when I got into it found it wasn't quite so -- hence the title of this blog.  Ah, what's life without a challenge or two.  I was contacted by a man who had an unfinished, built-in entertainment center.  Nice looking piece but the doors hadn't been completed on the bottom section.  He had managed to find various pieces of Cherry that were already dadoed out and (I thought!) just needed to be cut, tenoned, and joined.

Parts is Parts

Here's the collection of parts I came home with after measuring the opening for the doors.  Well, the desert climate is pretty rough on wood.  Something that became pretty apparent when I started cutting them to size and adding the tenons on the ends of the crosspieces.  The first step to any project is to make every piece of material the exact same thickness -- these varied quite a bit!

In any case, this is what I had to work with so I proceeded cautiously.  As I started to form the tenons I could tell that depending on the piece of wood I tried to match it with, it may or may not fit.  Spent a lot of time with 16 pieces of material, turning them every which way to make the door frames.

     This was quite a challenge, I needed to find adjoining parts that were somewhat snug and then use the rabbet plane in the photo to get they fit needed.  As part of custom work it's always done so that the grain patterns of the wood make a continuous flow all the way across the piece.  To illustrate that, let's suppose you had door members that needed to be 3" wide. You would select a 6" wide piece and rip it in half, then; when the doors were glued up the grain would align and appear to be one piece.  Well, with the collection of wood that I had that wasn't a possibility but I believe that by the time the doors are sanded and stained it won't be an issue.  I know that I tend to be overly particular but that's what I enjoy about custom work.

End of the Day
     The important thing is that we were able to salvage the materials my client had and we have the four doors required.  Next will be boring the holes for the hinges and sanding them prior to installation.  My client has the same stain that was used on the rest of the unit and will stain and finish them to match.  We're using European style cup hinges so it'll be an easy process to remove and re-install after the finish is applied.

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