Saturday, June 8, 2013

Almost a Production Shop (Yikes!!)

     Let's start with the end product of the production work and go from there:

Di's Rag Dolls, My Display
     I may have mentioned that Diane and I are gearing up for a Craft Fair that's held here in the fall.  The location is fairly close to us, they will allow two people to share a both, and since we've always considered giving this a try we're on our way!  Diane's RagDollsRising with the emphasis on her new line of eco friendly dolls and my boxes and exposure for furniture work in the future will be the theme for our booth.  Diane has done tons of research on the internet regarding displays and this is the smaller prototype for what I'll use for mine.  I'm in the process of making two units for her that will be about 5' tall by 4' wide.
     The requirements we decided on were portability, light weight, easy to store, and, of course the cost.  What you're seeing are materials that I had and it turned out to be just enough for what was needed for my display.  Right now we have a 10'x10', Easy-Up display tent sitting in our living room --- doesn't everybody do that?  Part of the process of getting juried into the Craft Fair is that you need to submit photographs of your booth.  We decided that rather than setting it up outside in the wind and current temps of 110+ we'd just push some furniture aside and set it up.  We're hoping that we'll be able to get decent pictures indoors.  If not, we'll need to disassemble and set things up outside for the photo shoot.
     The display you're seeing consists of two, hinged, ladder like pieces made of Baltic Birch and simply biscuit joined together.  The shelves are torsion  box design made out of strips (1" wide) of 3/4" Ultralite MDF and some 1/8" Birch ply I had.  Worked well so we decided to buy the same type of material and make the units for Diane.  That's were the production process came in!

Ready For Assembling 
     First up was to rip the MDF into 1" wide slats to form the inner structure for the shelves.  These were then cut to a length of 47 1/2" and the required measurements for the cross pieces were laid out on them.  For eight shelves that means 16 of those.  Next were the cross pieces, each shelf requires 5 so that meant 40 of those about 9" long.  Then I ran into a snag!  The 1/8" Birch ply which is an import was pretty waffly but I thought that by cutting the sheet into pieces approximately 12" x 48" things would be fine ---- WRONG!

Waffled, Imported Plywood (yecch!)
    I called a friend of mine and he suggested weighing it down which I accomplished with a building block and a bucket of water.

Somewhat Better
Yep, almost 95 at 10:35am

     I had hoped that this would flatten them out enough so that after each shelf was assembled I could clamp it to the assembly table with cauls and all would dry square and flat.  The picture above shows my assembly table so what I did was separate the two halves and securely clamp the shelf in eight locations.  Did I mention it's hot?  Because of that I knew I needed to move as quickly as possible.  The process is to first glue and nail one long edge and the two end pieces to one of the skins.  Now, the three remaining ribs are attached one at a time followed by the second long edge.  Now it's crunch time as every piece needs the glue spread so the second skin can be attached.  Because the Birch ply was so warped it was impossible to lay things down tight, it was like fitting a leaf spring!

     After a struggle things were assembled and taken to the assembly table to be clamped down.  The idea was to clamp the first one with cauls and then the other shelves would be clamped on top of the stack until all were done.  Since I was having such a difficult time of it decided to just complete the one and see how it turned out.  Well ----- not too good:

Part of the Edge

Warped & Waffled End

      When I was talking to my friend about the plywood he mentioned that Peterman Lumber has 1/8" MDF sheets that he uses for patterns.  Gave them a call, lamented about the quality of the Birch, and yes, they do stock the 1/8" MDF.  Unfortunately they closed at 11:30 today but it's too hot to work any more today anyway.  Monday morning is soon enough!

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