Monthly Archives: January 2014

Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 8, Finished!

Yesterday afternoon I fit all of the drawers, sanded them and applied a finish to the faces.  This morning I installed the pulls and called it finished, I’m pretty happy with the final result.

After gluing and nailing the drawers they are all just slightly too tight for the openings.  I hit the sides with a plane and sanded the exterior, testing the fit as I went.  I think the end result is decent.  I sanded the fronts to 220 grit and applied a coat of plain linseed oil.  The oil brought out the color and grain in the Alder I used.

Drawers fit, sanded and swabbed with oil

Drawers fit, sanded and swabbed with oil

Oil only, shellac to come

Oil only, shellac to come

 

I left the oil to dry for several hours, then padded on two coats of Garnet shellac.  I made up a simple template to layout the locations for the screws to make sure the pulls ended up in the right place.  I didn’t need to pre-drill any holes, the awl mark was plenty, Alder is pretty soft.

Laying out the locations for the mounting screws for the drawer pulls

Laying out the locations for the mounting screws for the drawer pulls

With the finish applied and the pulls installed I’m calling this done.  I’ll need to make some cards for the pulls to indicate with is in each drawer, but they are mostly empty right now.  I’ll need to order more cut nails and slotted iron screws so I can be in the cool hardware club.

Now, I’m not sure what I want to make next…

Finished

Finished

Nails Fit

Nails Fit

Last Glamor Shot

Last Glamor Shot

 

 

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet Part 7 – Nearly There!

I just finished gluing and nailing the drawers for the “Underhill Nail Cabinet”

The actual assembly of the drawers went quickly, but milling the stock and sizing all of the parts took my quite a few hours.  I re-sawed Pine 1x10s, then jointed and planed them to 1/4″ thick.  Then I flattened and squared some 4/4 Alder and Pine for the fronts and backs.  Then I ripped and cross cut the parts to approximate dimensions, and used a shooting board to accurately size the parts.

Before I could shoot the parts to size I needed to make a shooting board.  I threw away my old board when I did the shop overhaul and hadn’t gotten around to making a new one.  I had something more elaborate in mind — in fact, I’d like to just buy one that is all “scienced out”, like the great one from Tico Voit.  I’ve heard great things about Tico’s board, but we just fitted Kolya with several thousand dollars of orthodontia and my debit card is still smoldering.

Instead I made a simple board out of MDF.  The main point was I wanted it to be accurate without a lot of screwing around.  I used my heavy, thick machinist’s square and a piece of precision ground steel bar to accurately align the cross stop while I shot a couple of pins into it, then added screws for strength.  It came out dead-nuts-on.  I sharpened by LN-62 and that worked OK as a shooting plane, but I discovered that the sides on it are not exactly square to the bottom.  What’s up with that?  I’ll need to buy or make a dedicated shooting plane, but I’m particularly disappointed that this one isn’t square.  Maybe it got dropped at some point or warped over the years?

Making a simple shooting board

Making a simple shooting board

I started by making all of the bottoms.  I cut the parts slightly wider and longer, and used the shooting board to size them each to a specific opening.  The openings have minor differences, I’m hoping to get a nice close fit on all of the drawers.

Shooting the bottoms

Shooting the bottoms

I made one complete drawer as an experiment, so I could see if the sizing was going to work, and anticipate any issues.

Bottoms Done

Bottoms Done

Then I moved on to making all of the sides, then all of the fronts and backs.

Material for the drawer sides

Material for the drawer sides

By the time I had everything sized and ready to glue up I had a blister from the back of the blade on the LN-62 digging into my hand.  I am so ordering a shooting board plane.  I wish LN would make the #52 chute board to go with they LN #51 plane.  That would clinch the deal for me.

Once the parts were made it was pretty simple to glue and nail them together.  I have to sand them all still, my experience so far is they are coming out a slosh oversized for the opening.  I want to make sure the face of the drawer is nice and smooth, including the exposed end grain from the pine sides and bottom.  I’m going to pub a coat of oil on the exposed area, then pad on a couple of coats of shellac.  But first I have to mount the pulls, they should arrive later this week.  I should order some nails to store in this too. after that’s what its for.

Now I’m left wondering what to build next.  The stool build off is next weekend I think — but I’m not sure I have a shop-stool-in-a-weekend in me.  We’ll see.

Drawers Done

Drawers Done

 

 

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New Backsplash for my Kitchen

Warning – No Hummingbirds were harmed during the creation of this blog post.

Ever since my wife and I bought our house 15 years ago we’ve both hated the kitchen.  The initial catalyst was the hand-painted tile backsplash behind the stove.  At the time the kitchen was a recent remodel and the appliances were new and good quality.  Since then we’ve grown to hate the cabinets and loathe the appliances.  The ‘fridge especially, when it dies we’ll have to rip out part of the cabinets to be able to get it out of the kitchen because of how everything was constructed.

It’s going to be a couple of years before we’re ready to overhaul the kitchen, so we’re living with it.  Truth be told, I’d trained myself not to see the butt-ugly tile behind the stove.  It was a sort of zen thing, or maybe a Star Wars thing (“These are not the tiles you’re looking for…”, Jedi hand wave).  And I like hummingbirds, we have a flock of them that regularly feeds on our deck.  It’s just the cheesy tile rendition I dislike.

U G L Y !

U G L Y !

But this morning my lovely wife announced she had found the solution to our tile problem — Tile Tattoos,  Stickers that overlay tiles to add a design or change their color.  Unfortunately, this brought the hummingbirds and flowers back to the forefront of my brain, ruining whatever zen tricks I’d invented.  And, at the same time I just couldn’t see putting stickers over the tile.  I thought about running down to the home center and getting a case of tile and replacing the ones behind the stove.  I had a suspicion that replacing the tile wouldn’t be as easy at that.  Every time I’ve worked on our house I’ve had to go further than I expected, re-doing the shoddy work the previous owner did.

Instead I decided to cover up the ugly with something I could make out of junk I had on hand.  My personal aesthetic runs to retro, industrial, deco – and lately Greene & Greene.  When I was designing and manufacturing chopper parts I used early sports-racing cars as part of my inspiration.  After poking around in the shop I settled on an approach based on junk I had on hand — some copper rivets, steel flat bar and aluminum sheet.  I really wanted copper, but I didn’t have any pieces big enough to do the trick.

I cut four pieces of 1″ x 1/4″ cord rolled steel bar (I really prefer cold-rolled, the hot rolled has mill scale and mashed edges).  I welded and ground the four pieces to make a frame, and drilled it for 3/16″ solid rivets.  The rivet holes are deeply countersunk on the back so I could form the back of the rivet flat over the countersink.

Steel bar ready for welding

Steel bar ready for welding

I cut a piece of .062″ aluminum sheet to fit the frame, plus a 1.5″ tab at the bottom to fill the gap between the wall and the stove.  I clamped it in place and match-drilled the holes for the rivets.  I dropped rivets into the holes as I went to keep the sheet and frame from getting out of alignment.

Match-drilling the aluminum sheet

Match-drilling the aluminum sheet

Then I sprayed the frame with some black paint, deburred the holes in the aluminum, gave it a sanded texture, and riveted the parts together.  I supported the rounded head of the rivet on the front with a steel block that has a dimple in it, and drove the back side of the rivets flush with the sheet.  The aluminum sheet and the tail of the rivet deform into the countersink.  It’s super strong, and flush.

One rivet driven -- backside

One rivet driven — backside

Honestly, the hardest part of this project was installing it, I had to make two trips to the hardware store because two of the anchor bolts I bought didn’t work out.  One stripped (and I had to hack saw it off and poke the back half thought the wall) and the other just collapsed the drywall and I had to get a different kind of toggle.

My wife and I are both happy with the change.  I think it slightly more industrial than she wanted, but at the same time it’s significantly less cheesy that what we had.

Tomorrow I plan to get back to the Underhill nail cabinet, I have all of the stock for the drawers milled, and one test drawer made.  I think I can do the other 20 in a day, they are pretty simple.

 

New Backsplash In Place

New Backsplash In Place

Retro-Industrial

Retro-Industrial

 

 

 

 

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What I’m Not Making for Chris Flair’s Stool Build Off

Chris at Flair Woodworking mentioned in a post today that there were talking about everyone contributing a simple tool prize, the best tool would win all of the contributed prizes.  I jokingly groused that now I had to make a stool and a tool to play along.  Chris said I could combine them, and that got me thinking…

I remembered seeing an article in American Woodworker about building a plywood shop stool that doubled as a work support.

Plywood Shop Stool with an adjustable work support

Plywood Shop Stool with an adjustable work support

Surely I could do better than that.  What about a combination spindle sander and stool?  That would be sooo handy in small shops that don’t have room for another tool like mine.  It would be a useful tool and a handy shop accessory.  With a little design work I think I could incorporate storage for the extra sanding sleeves.  It might be a good idea to have a safety lock out on the power switch, for all the obvious reasons…

Oscillating Spindle Sander Stool

Oscillating Spindle Sander Stool

But then I had a real brainstorm.  What about a stool that could serve as both a work holding device and a stool, a cross between a Black and Decker Workmate and a Peter Follansbee Jointed Stool?  The top could be split and have a series of dog holes for clamping parts.  When you want to sit on it, just retract the dogs and crank the seat halves closed.  Whatcha think?

I should probably patent this before someone snaps it up.

My winning entry -- who's with me?

My winning entry — who’s with me?

 

 

 

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Roy Underhill’s Drawers

No, I’m not talking about those drawers, silly.  I’m talking about the drawers I need to build for the nail cabinet.

The drawers in the original are faithfully reproduced in the article, and the construction is a bit odd.  Instead of dovetails, rabbets, tongue-and-groove or any of the other standard drawer construction methods these are build by gluing and nailing the sides and bottom the the edges of the front and back.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 5.48.35 AM

 

I thought (briefly) about dovetailing them instead.  I also thought about veneering the front to cover the exposed end grain, or perhaps running a rabbet around three sides.  In the end I’ll probably just follow the instructions in the article for the experience.  I was concerned about the door (which has glued and nailed miters) being too wimpy, but it turned out OK.  My test joint took a fair amount of force to break (albeit still way less than other construction methods), so these will probably be OK too.

The first step to making the drawers is to prep the stock.  I didn’t want to plane 3/4″ boards down to 1/4″, so I decided to try re-sawing first.  I’ve mostly used my bandsaw for metalworking (it’s in my metal shop after all), using it to cut out profiles in plate stock.  I have it fitted with a fancy re-saw blade from Highland Woodworking, and it has a 7.5 horsepower motor, so it should be up to the task.  I dropped the gearbox into high, turned up the speed and dialed in the blade tension (I still need a bit more I think).  Everything on this WWII era saw is hydraulic, the blade tension, the post height, table angle, table feed (yes table feed, so you could clamp something to the table and feed it through the blade), blade tracking and fine speed adjustment.  Crazy right?  The tension was making me nervous because I had to turn it up a lot higher than I usually do, and the adjuster was making some odd noises.  Maybe the gauge needs to be oiled or something.

Setup for re-sawing

Setup for re-sawing

It took several adjustments of the (cobbled together) MDF re-saw fence to get the tracking right, but I was able to re-saw these 1×10 pine boards into half without too much drama.  The boards were slightly cupped to begin with, and supped even more after re-sawing — I expect from releasing stress.  I was afraid if I flattened the stock before re-sawing I’d have to flatten it again, I’m pretty sure that’s accurate.

Success!

Success!

Then I jointed and planed the re-sawn boards (including my experiments on scraps) into 1/4″ boards, and left them stickered to acclimate.  I think “acclimate” is a five-dollar-word that means “trying to warp”.

I probably need 3 or 4 times this amount to make the drawers, so I’ll get out to the shop one night this week I hope to finish the stock prep job.  I have enough Alder scrap that I’m thinking of using that for the drawer fronts.  I’ll do one drawer as an experiment and see how it comes out. Right now I need to get my teenage son out of bed and off to school, which is way more challenging than making drawers.

Stacked, Stickered and Acclimating

Stacked, Stickered and Acclimating (the plane is for weight)

 

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 5

Nothing like string a simple project out for ever…

I finished up the door, mounted it to the case, sanded and finished the cabinet.  All I have left is to make the drawers, all 21 of them.  Yikes.

After taking the glued-up door out of the clamps I test fit it into the opening, it was actually a pretty good fit right off the bat…even with the little lumps of glue at the corners.  It’s a little too tight, and the gaps aren’t even, but this is what I was hoping for.

First test fit of the door to the case

First test fit of the door to the case

I knocked the glue lumps off, and shimmed the door in the opening to see how the fit was.  I worked my way around the perimeter of the door and got the gaps as even as I could.  I decided to only mortise the hinges into the door, just for expediency.  In the end, I’m pretty happy with the fit of the door to the case.

Door Hung and Gapped

Door Hung and Gapped

I epoxied two rare earth magnets, one in the door and one in the opening, to hold the door closed.  I have an irrational fear of putting one of the magnets in backwards and having a door that you can’t close.

Finally, I pulled the door back off for finishing.  Everything was sanded with 220, and I brushed on some orange shellac., trying to keep the color even.  Then I rubbed it out with 0000 steel wool and wax, re-mounted the door and hung the cabinet on the wall.  I just love the feel of shellac that’s been rubbed out with steel wool and wax, it’s just silky smooth.

I’m not happy with where this is mounted and I’ll end up moving it later.  It’s too close to the workbench, and the dust collector keeps the door from opening far enough.  But it’s off the workbench and out of the way so I can start processing stock for the TWENTY ONE drawers.  Good grief.

Completed case hung on the wall by my workbench

Completed case hung on the wall by my workbench

The inside, less the 21 drawers I still have to make...

The inside, less the 21 drawers I still have to make…

 

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Shop Stool Build Off, Design #1

Chris at Flair Woodworks has kicked off a contest for a weekend shop stool build off, which sounds like a fun way to spend a weekend.  Not that I don’t have plenty of projects to work no, not the least of which is the currently-under-construction Underhill Nail Cabinet.  But now there are prizes to be had, so the stakes have gone up.

I’ve doodled ideas for several stools, and decided to take the design for one of them a bit further.  I kind of like it.  The shape of the legs isn’t quite right, and I think the bronze bars need a little less curve, but it’s close enough to ponder making.  I think I’d need to make the legs a little thinner and refined the curves on the outside faces and edges.  The should join the seat with wedged through tenons too, but this is just a quick digital mock up to see if I like it.

Rough Design for my Shop Stool

Rough Design for my Shop Stool

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Shop Stool Build Off, Design #2

Another quick CAD mock up of a stool design for the shop stool build off, this one is a steel weldment with a wooden seat and some copper rivets and threaded rod for a foot rest.

The seat design needs more attention, I’m not happy with the shape of the Mahogany seat insert, and I think the overall seat is too big.  It needs to be smaller front-to-back, and it’s too “square”.  But it’s the basic idea that I’ve been doodling for a retro-industrial shop stool.

Now I need to stop playing on the computer and get some errands done.  Hopefully I’ll get out in the shop this afternoon and make more parts for the Underhill Nail Cabinet I’ve been working on.

Stool Design #2

Stool Design #2

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 4

Just a quick update, I glued up the door for the nail cabinet this morning.  It went smoothly, and I’m eager to see how the door fits the opening.  I sized the components so it should be a close fit, and need to be planed slightly on all the edges to get it to fit with about a 1/8″ gap all around.

I made a test piece first to check my process, and it pointed out a couple of problems.  I was also curious how strong a mitered but joint would be.  I put glue on all of the miter faces and let it sit for 5 minutes — not surprisingly, most of the glue was absorbed into the end grain.  I put a second coat on, then clamped everything together.  After drying overnight I tried flexing it and the joint held.  I’m pretty sure I could break it with more pressure, but I’m relieved it didn’t just fall apart t the first hint of stress.

I did a couple of dry fits to make sure the panel fit properly — I had it a skosh too big at first and the miters wouldn’t close.  I made the necessary adjustments, and re-checked.  Before glueing I padded a coat of Orange shellac onto the panel and the inside edges of the door frame.

Parts ready for assembly

Parts ready for assembly

Then, glue and clamps.  In the article Chris said to put a nail in each miter, then clamped the assembly with regular bar clamps.  That would probably work, but knowing I’d be planing the perimeter of the door frame to fit the opening I was worried about running into a nail with my plane.  Instead I bought some spring miter clamps and used those to hold the miters closed.  They seem to work well for this application, they draw the miter closed but still allow me to tweak it slightly to make sure it’s 100% aligned.  After the for is fit to the opening I’ll either add some nails to reinforce the joints, or add a spline to reinforce the corners.

I’ll leave this to dry until tomorrow, then fit it to the case and install the hinges.  I put several heavy planes across the stiles to make sure it stays flat while it drys.  Then I have a lot of drawers to make, and I still need to buy hardware for them.

Glued, Clamped, Fingers Crossed

Glued, Clamped, Fingers Crossed

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 3

Moving right along, I finished up the case yesterday, leaving just the door and drawers to do.  I added a cleat to hang the hang the cabinet that is recessed in the crate trim — I hope I don’t regret that.  It means that the cabinet needs to hang exactly over two studs, but it also won’t show when the cabinet is hung.  I really hate drywall walls.  In my dream shop I’d have plywood or shiplap walls.

Anyway, here is how yesterday went – excluding photos of grocery shopping and laundry…

I started with the back, I machined some stock to 3/8″ thick and cut a 3/16″ rabbet in two edges to make the back.  I padded on a quick coat of shellac, skipping out the outer edge of the inside face so I could glue it.  I glued just the vertical edge of the two panels, and nailed them all around.

Plowing a rabbet for the shiplap back

Plowing a rabbet for the shiplap back

Pre-finish the inside, except for the outer vertical edge, which gets glued.

Pre-finish the inside, except for the outer vertical edge, which gets glued.

The back in place

The back in place

Next I ripped some strips to make the “crate” banding.  I don’t really follow the reasoning on the width.  On the sides it’s 2 1/4″ stiles and 1 3/4″ rails, while the top and bottom have 2″ rails and stiles.  And the bottom, front rail extends out wider than the cabinet.  But I’m just dutifully following instructions, when people ask I will just tell them it’s “an exact reproduction of Roy’s”.

I’m already worrying about what to do for the beer girl poster on the inside of the door, I saw one on ebay for $800 which is out of my budget for this project.  You might think this is a cheap build, you might also be surprised.  Compared to a lot of projects I suppose that’s true.  Here is the tally as I see it:  Probably five ten-foot 1 x12’s at $15 each, so about $75 for lumber.  I’ve used three boards so far, not counting the waste from re-making the dividers, to get to this stage.  I am sure I’ll need at least two more to make the door and all of the drawers – more if I don’t re-saw to get the thin stock for the drawers.  Add in a pair of hinges ($20.40), $25 worth of knobs and $58 for the 14 bin pulls and you’re quickly over $175.  I’ll probably look for some cheaper hardware for this, it’s not a piece of fine furniture, just a useful shop accessory.

Anyway, the crate trimmings were like falling off a log.  Cut to length, glue and nail on.  I used my pin nailer on these as I didn’t have any cut nails (or even wire nails) the right length.  The glue will provide the strength, and they don’t have a lot to do structurally other than hold the door.

French cleat on the back, covered by the side battens

French cleat on the back, covered by the side battens

Side battens in place, net the top and bottom

Side battens in place, next I’ll add the top and bottom

Completed case

Completed case

Completed case for the nail storage cabinet

Completed case for the nail storage cabinet

 

 

 

 

 

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