Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's a New Year-Are You Ready to Start the Construction?

Walnut and Maple Drawers

Happy New Year PORC fans!

The holiday season is once again behind us.  The gifts, the food, the friends, the family, the games, the libations, the parties, the extra pounds, the resolutions....  Now, I've got several plans in my head that will likely make it to print in the next couple weeks.  Keep reading for the full report.

I know that I like bullet points.  My pea brain likes to break things down in short consice notes.  So we're gunna give that a whirl.  Tell me what you think!!!!

  • Today, I am delivering and installing the walnut cabinet I wrote about last month.  It turned out beautifully and I look forward to seeing it in place.  The photo above is inside the drawers.  I chose to use walnut for the drawer bottoms as well.  I like the contrast.
  • I very well might just move the blog address over to WordPress. I figured that now would be a good time to switch it up a bit because I am just shy of 2 million followers.  Anything over 2 million, and it get's a bit tricky.  :)   Details coming soon.  In the meantime, I've made it a bit easier to subscribe via email or RSS.
  • I've made my first video tutorial that should be up before I retire.  There's already some Oscar Buzz.
  • We're getting some fans on Facebook!  Are you one of them?  Do you want a free table?
  • FINALLY, the design process is done and were building the cabinets that have been on the drawing board for about 3 months!

As I mentioned above.  We've started the fabrication of all the cabinets we've been designing for a bit now.  The material count on this one project is HUGE!  And where there is a lot of material.... There is a lot of work.  Due to the large volume of cabinets and small volume of real-estate I have to work with, we're building in a different order than usual.

First, I made all of the face frames.  For the non-woodworkers reading, Pocket Screws are used to hold the frames together with hidden screws.  After cutting the parts, I move over and start drilling them for Pocket Screws.   About a thousand of them.  I currently use a Kreg jig to drill them, but am very much considering getting a dedicated/stationary machine to aid in this laborious task. (If any of my readers have an opinion about which direction to go.  PLEASE chime in.)

Face Frame Parts w/ holes where the screws will go

 I don't measure the locations for the parts at all.  Instead I make measuring blocks for each size needed.  This minimizes inaccuracies and helps move things right along.  I simply look at the drawings and make a spacer block as indicated on the drawings.

Each stop block is labeled with 5th grade handwriting to yet again minimize errors

All frame pieces and stops are made on one saw using one measuring tape to reduce any variances between different measuring tapes.

I choose to glue up my paint-grade face frames.  I know that most people don't add this step of gluing, but I have found it to reduce the call backs to my finishers once the cabinet has been installed.

Clamping, gluing, and screwing the pieces together

Paint shows EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!

The materials used for a painted cabinet is less expensive than fancy hardwoods like Cherry, Alder or Walnut.  HOWEVER, the finishing cost is much higher.  The reason for this is all of the prep work needed to properly seal and finish a painted piece.  Every corner is caulked, every seam must be perfect, and the sanding must be uber consistent.  Any hairline crack that could develop with seasonal movement WILL show.

Shiny white paint + big black crack = ring ring, "hello angry customer."

Now that we're all glued and screwed up, I have 2 forms of confirmation of all the door and drawer sizes.  I've got them on the computer, and have a real piece of wood to double check all the numbers.

One more piece of wood and this frame is complete

Now we move on to the doors.  Out comes favorite tool #5  to run about 600 lf of 1" poplar through the router.  By adding the power-feeder, every single board is perfect!  And while running it, I get to listen to tunes and refine my air-druming chops.  Below is the first phase of routing with the power-feeder.  I'll shoot some photos of the coping and assembly of the doors for the next post.

Smooth and consistent results every time

What's great about this order of construction is that it takes up very little space in the shop AND I get all of the hard work done first.  Once I complete all of the doors, I will start up on the drawers.  But THAT is another long winded post that you'll just have to come back to see as well.

A neat and tidy little stack of Face Frames

Hey wood folk, when do you make your casework?  Do you generally make the boxes first and then the fronts?  I would love to know the thoughts of my smart and talented readers!

Also any opinions of WordPress vs. Blogger?

And stationary Pocket Hole machines?  Has anybody found a machine to their liking?

As always, thanks for the comments and support!



  1. Jason-
    Happy New Year.
    While doing the many above-mentioned repetitive tasks, dream a little about next pickle making season! The winter cannot last forever.
    All these many little steps remind me of me quilting in the little space I have....measure, cut, pin, stitch, press...oh my, this is starting to look like something....pretty exciting. Keep up the good work.

  2. That is GREAT advice Carol.

    Canning! Love the idea. Next year I MUST do asparagus and green beans. Our pickles were off the charts this year. :) I'll thank my Mother for that one.

    No question about it, the limited amount of space adds to the joy of everyday life in the shop right now.

    I've already started working on the next post that shows the door construction. Keeping the parts organized it taking almost as much time as making them.

    Thanks for the kind words and support! See you at the next one. Cheers.

  3. Like the shadow lift on the drawer fronts.
    The reflection of the drawer; did you fill the grain of the walnut? ie using a slurry of varnish and 400 grit sandpaper?

  4. Lenderboy.

    Welcome, and thank you for the great question. I chose not to fill the pores 'this' time. The veneer doesn't really need it, and I was able to get the conversion varnish to flow pretty well to lay down nice and smooth. I did however leave a bit of sanding dust between coats. I generally vacuum between coats and after sanding. I just wiped the excess dust of with the hopes of not pulling the dust out of the pores. I am happy to report that it worked. Not a French Polish by any stretch.

    Do you Lenderboy have any experience with a certain slurry process that has worked for you on porous woods like Walnut or Oak? If so, I'd love for you to share.

    Thank you again for chiming in.

  5. I have a Wordpress account and stopped using it when the fontset I wanted to use wasn't compatible with the theme I chose.

    Wordpress offers many custom features, but to do with Wordpress what I do with Blogger, I am going to have to pay some fees.

    I don't use the current Blogger templates because the HTML is odd. I can make some sense of the code on older generation Blogger templates.

    Can't wait to see more posts on your project. I use the exact same process or pocket screw joinery. I am interested in your decision on the pocket hole machine.

  6. Thanks for the tips Jeff.

    I would love to keep as much as the blogging as simple as possible. Your input is quite helpful.

    I've got another update in the making. Hope you like it.