Posts Tagged With: Byrdcliffe

Byrdcliffe-ish Cabinet Finished

Like everything lately, this project seemed to take me FOR-EVER!  But it’s done now, and I think it came out great.  It’s square, solid and straight.  The proportions work, the finish is a great color and has a nice warm glow, and the stained glass panel work nicely in the door.

It’s completely different in character than the Byrdcliffe cabinet, definitely squarely in the Mission vernacular.  I installed it in the guest room, perhaps a skosh too high in retrospect.  The room sorely needs a repaint, but my next project is to make a pair of sconces for the room which will entail punching holes in the drywall to re-wire it, so that can wait.

I’m off to clean up the shop so I can unpack my new tool which should be delivered by 3:00 this afternoon.  And start in on the sconces.

Finished cabinet outside, catchin' some rays

Finished cabinet outside, catchin’ some rays

Details on the door

Details on the door

French cleat screwed to the wall -- I was able to hit three studs, two 3.5" deck screws in each stud.

French cleat screwed to the wall — I was able to hit three studs, two 3.5″ deck screws in each stud.

Installed!

Installed!

The paper print outs show where the sconces will go

The paper print outs show where the sconces will go

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So close I can taste it…

I’m not talking about BBQ this time.  I am that close to finishing the cabinet I’ve been working on.  I was sure I could finish it yesterday and get it installer.  After all, all I had left to do was rub out and wax the finish and do the final assembly.

I rubbed all of the parts out with 0000 steel wool, then top coated with dark brown wax.  I like the end result a lot, and it wasn’t that much work.  I went through the process in an earlier post, but to recap: I started with a slightly diluted “Brown Mahogany” Trans-Tint dye which I let dry throughly and then rubbed with a red scuff pad.  I top coated with “Candlelite” gel stain, a coat of linseed oil, one coat of Garnet shellac and one coat of Blond shellac.  And Dark Brown wax.

Rubbing out the finish with steel wool, then waxing

Rubbing out the finish with steel wool, then waxing

Back slats finished

Back slats finished

Then it was time to assemble everything.  The back slate screwed into the cabinet, adding the french cleat to the back, installing the glass in the door, and hinging the door.  Let’s start with installing the back.  I’d pre-cut and fit all of the parts before finishing, so this should be pretty straightforward.  I fit in the first piece and used my drill/countersink combo tool to drill the pilot holes for the first screw.  SNAP!  Wait, don’t tell me… The drill bit broke off.

Broken drill bit when installing the first back slat

Broken drill bit when installing the first back slat

No big deal, I grabbed some vise grips and slowly worked it back out.  Then I drove to the hardware store, got a new drill bit, installed it in the countersink tool and got the back all installed.  Check!

Next I made a french cleat from 1/2″ plywood and installed it.  Check!

Next up, installing the glass in the door.  I’d already pre-cut the filler strips to hold the glass in the rabbet, so it was a simple matter of driving in some brads to hold everything together.  Check!

Now, just the hinges for the door.  I’d already had the door installed.  The hinge mortises we done, the door had been installed (using steel screws), this should be simple.  I waxed my first brass screw and started to put it in.  Well before it seated in the hinge the head split at the screwdriver slot.  Wow.

Split screw

Split screw

Luckily I was able to grab the broken screw with a tiny pair of pliers and back it out.  I don’t know if it’s a manufacturing defect, or if perhaps the patins slightly weakened the brass (I doubt it) or perhaps…I don’t know.  But I’m off to the hardware store today to get a dozen new screws to assemble this.  So close, it will be hung on the wall and filled with books by this afternoon – I have a new project to start and a new tool being delivered so I need to get crackin’.

 

 

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Stained Glass Panel for Cabinet Finished

I got some time in the shop yesterday and was able to finish the stained glass panel for the Byrdcliffe-inspired-but-Mission-styled cabinet I’m making.

I spent probably an hour fine tuning the fit of the pieces on the grinder, and ended up re-making one or two more pieces.  I think it was time well spent because the finished panel cam out pretty nice I think.  The process of assembling the panel goes like this:  First the pieces need to be cleaned to remove any “Sharpie” layout lines or numbers and any residue from grinding.  Then I put them on a hot plate (set on “low”)  that is covered with a few layers of paper to warm up.  This makes sure the parts are dry, but more importantly it makes the copper foil easier to apply.  I used 7/32 foil for this, which seems to be a decent size for me.  You can go a little narrower, but if you’re off a tiny bit in applying it then you end up with places where you don’t have foil on both sides of the glass.

Starting to apply the copper foil

Starting to apply the copper foil

Panel completely foiled and ready for soldering

Panel completely foiled and ready for soldering

Once the parts are all foiled I’m ready to solder the seams.  I keep it in the frame I made at least until I’ve tacked all the parts together to hold the alignment.  I use a special solid 60/40 solder that is made for stained glass work, and apply flus with a brush.  It’s pretty simple work, although the technique is different than soldering electrical connections.  In this case you apply the solder to the iron as you move the iron along the seam, and the goal is to apply enough so that you have a decorative bead.  If the joint is fluxed and the copper foil is properly adhered the solder will flow easily.

I usually end up soldering the front, focusing on getting a good connection and an adequate amount of solder in place but not being overly concerned about the evenness of the beads.  Then I flip it over and solder the back side trying to get really nice beads.  The solder from the front will have pulled through already, but it won’t be complete, full beads.  Finally I go back to the face side and re-run all of the seams, flowing in more solder as necessary to get even rounded beads.  There are other techniques for the solder beads, and in fact there are books on “decorative soldering” where you can create textures or patterns in the solder.  On the “Inglenook Sconce” I used a sponge on the molten solder to make an organic texture.

For this panel, before I did the final smoothing of the seams I added the zinc boarder.  I wanted to get the border on first so the thickness of the seams at the edges didn’t interfere with the fit of the channel.

Soldered panel and zinc frame

Soldered panel and zinc frame

Once the panel was soldered I washed it with “flux remover” and soap and water to make sure all the flux was off.  then I applied a chemical patina to darken the solder and washed it again.  Finally it gets a coat of “glass polish” which appears to be about the same as thinned liquid car wax.

Finished Panel!

Finished Panel!

There are a few minor mistakes with the panel, but overall I’m happy with it.  I checked the fit, and it is perfect for the door in the cabinet.  If I can get some shop time in tonight I can probably finish the cabinet and hang it.

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Stained Glass Panel

I got a couple of hours in the shop yesterday, and finished cutting the glass for the stained glass panel for the Byrdcliffe-inspired cabinet.  Like everything this seems to be moving in slow motion, but I’m continuing to chip away at it.

The process to make the panel is pretty simple.  Cut and fit all of the pieces, clean them and wrap the edges with copper foil tape, solder and apply patina.  There are plenty of details to sort through along the way.  Getting an accurate cut required some hand skills with the glass cutter when to score the shape.  Tight curves and long thin pieces are separate challenges.  You can offset lack of skill with the cutter by spending more time at the grinder, but that slows things down.

If I can read the pattern through the glass I may cut it directly, but most often I need to outline the pattern with a sharpie to be able to see it though the glass, and then I draw it directly on the glass.

Marking pieces to cut

Marking pieces to cut

Then I score the cuts, plus any relief cuts I need and break the pieces apart.

Pieces scored and broken apart

Pieces scored and broken apart

Then I hit the pieces on the glass grinder to tune up the shape and fit, and drop them onto my master pattern board.  As I go I inevitably decide to fine tune other pieces or even re-make them because the color is off or the fit isn’t acceptable.

Fitting in more pieces.  I'm going to re-make #39, 2 and 3 because I'm not happy with the fit.

Fitting in more pieces. I’m going to re-make #39, 2 and 3 because I’m not happy with the fit.

Eventually I got all the pieces made with the help of my son Kolya.  He’s a pretty deft hand at stained glass when I can pull him away from video games and South Park re-runs.  And Golf, although I don’t mind that and in fact spend a chunk of my weekends ferrying him bcd and forth to the golf course.

All the pieces made

All the pieces made

There are a few pieces I still want to re-make; 39, 2 and 3 are replaced and fit much better.  The purple “heart” isn’t quite right, the color on #43 is out of place and one or two other pieces are enough “off” that I want to replace them.  Once that is done I can clean them and start applying foil.  Inevitably I’ll find a few fitment problems due to the thickness of the foil.  I try to account for that when making the pieces, but I’m guessing that across the section where the tulip bud is there will be some problems.  Hopefully the next time you see this it will be done and installed in the door.

 

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Started the Stained Glass Panel for the Byrdcliffe-ish Cabinet

Yesterday I started on the stained glass panel for the door in the cabinet I’m making.  I was surprised (58 pieces, shocked!) when I set up the pattern for the glass at the number of pieces it’s going to be a little more work than I anticipated.  It’s also going to be kind of fussy work as some of the parts are pretty tiny, and I need to be careful to keep the main seams very straight and even or it will look “off”.

I started by making a test panel from 1/8″ MDF to make sure I had the size exactly right.  I sized the rebate in the back of the door so that about half of the zinc channel that will edge the glass will show.  In fact, if everything is exactly on the money the panel should end up being the exact size of the opening.  The zinc channel is about .550″ wide, with an internal stop for the glass that is about .330 from the outside of the channel — and I made the rebate .330 deep.

Checking the fit of the mockup for the glass panel using the zinc banding - top to bottom

Checking the fit of the mockup for the glass panel using the zinc banding – top to bottom

Checking the fit of the mockup for the glass panel - side to side.  It's a little loose and I needed to make the mock up a slosh wider.

Checking the fit of the mockup for the glass panel – side to side. It’s a little loose and I needed to make the mock up a slosh wider.

Fit from the front to check the reveal on the zinc edging

Fit from the front to check the reveal on the zinc edging

Next I set up the pattern board.  I don’t know if other glass people do it this way, but I’ve found it works really well.  What I do is glue the pattern down to a scrap of plywood.  Then I layer packing tape over it to protect it from water damage – the glass grinder is water cooled and there are often several trips back and forth to sneak up on the fit.  Then I staple a guide strip along one edge and use my MDF mockup of the glass to make sure the other three guide strips are square and perfectly sized.  As long as the foiled and tack-soldered panel fits in the opening I’m positive it will fit into the door with the zinc channel added.

Pattern board set up

Pattern board set up

Then I pressed my son into service to help cut and grind pieces.  We worked an hour or so and made a good start on it.  Next weekend we should be able to finish it (fingers crossed).  As we add more pieces and foil it I’m sure we’ll need to adjust the fit, and probably re-make a few pieces.  On this particular piece I need to have a really good fit on along all of the long straight lines, if they aren’t straight it will look sloppy.  Gaps and irregular edges on the curved parts isn’t a big deal as long as it doesn’t end up with a wonky seam.

Fitting in the background pieces

Fitting in the background pieces

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Applying Finish to the Brydcliffe-ish Cabinet

I scraped and sanded the exterior of the cabinet today.  I sanded through 220, wet the surface to raise the grain, and scuff sanded with 320 after that.  Then I started building color, starting with a water dye.

I decided I liked the sample with the Brown Mahogany dye and Candelite gel stain combination.  To try to get more contrast I diluted the dye a bit more than the concentration I used on the sample.  My rationale was that the gel stain didn’t seem to affect the color of the ray flecks much (or maybe at all).  It colors the regular straight grain, and darkens the pores of the wood, but didn’t seem to affect the ray flecks.  So, my thinking is that I’ll get a better contrast this way.  We’ll see…

I decided to hold off on installing the back until after the finish is on, so here we go.

Sanded and ready

Sanded and ready

Parts laid out on my 400hp supercharged finishing bench

Parts laid out on my 400hp supercharged finishing bench

Dye applied, wiped down and drying.  I let the dye dry for an hour, then rubbed the surfaces with a maroon scotchbrite pad to remove any raised grain, and remove a little color from the very top surface.  The color is a little weird at this point, and I’m more than a little nervous.

Dye applied

Dye applied

Dyed

Dyed

Rubbing the parts out with the scotchbrite seemed to make the ray flecks a little brighter, but it’s a subtle thing.  The 1/2″ x 1/4″ strips are to make the stops that will hold the glass, I’ll cut them to fit after I’ve done the glass insert.

Next I applied the gel stain.  Not much to that, I brushed it on in a nice thick coat and let it set for a few minutes, then wiped it off.  After wiping the gel stain off I wiped everything down with linseed oil and left it to dry overnight.  Tomorrow I’ll see how it looks.  If it needs any touch ups I’ll deal with that, otherwise I’ll apply a couple of coats of shellac and rub it out with steel wool and wax.

I like the color, I think this is going to work out OK.

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

I’m happy with the color, although I think it could be a little darker.  I may put a coat of garnet shellac on it to get a little more color tomorrow.  And I’ll wax it with brown wax, which will help too. TomorrowI should be able to finish the finish, install the back and start on the stained glass panel.

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Byrdcliffe-ish Finish Selection

The glass arrived to make the stained glass panel for the Byrdcliffe-ish cabinet.  As usual, it’s not quite what is shown in the online pictures.  Some of it is pretty close, some of it is nothing like the catalog photos.

I’ve been holding off on finishing the cabinet so I could pick the best option to match the glass.  The main glass color (the background in this panel) is what I’ll use to choose the finish for the white oak.

CAD Mockup of the Door

CAD Mockup of the Door

Here are my finish samples laid on top of the actual glass.

Main glass color with finish samples

Main glass color with finish samples

And another with the light at a different angle

Another shot

Another shot

Anyone have an opinion?

I don’t think the tone of the fumed sample works very well with this glass — that is the middle finish sample in both pictures.  Either of the other two look OK, although the ray fleck is too subdued for me.  Grumble, grumble.

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Fumed Oak Experiment

I’ve been doing some finish samples on scraps of White Oak to figure out what how I want to finish the cabinet.  I’d previously done an experiment with dyes and gel stains that gave decent results.  My only complaint was that the ray fleck figure wasn’t as dramatic as I’d hoped.

Two Samples - Dyed and Stained

Two Samples – Dyed and Stained

I decided to try fuming some scraps to see how that would work.  I set up some offcuts on the floor and made a box out of 1/8″ MDF scraps and packing tape for the fuming chamber.  I’m using Janitorial-strength Ammonia.  I know there are stronger (and weaker) concentrations, this is what I could find at the local hardware store.

Setup for fuming samples

Setup for fuming samples

I pulled a sample at three hours, another a 7 hours — and then I went to bed.  The next sample came out this morning before work, at about 17 hours.  I left a few pieces in until this afternoon, clocking in at 24 hours.  This pic shows the range from zero to three, seven, 17 and 24 hours.  The color is progressive, although it’s not as clear in the photograph as it is in person.

Samples, no fuming on the left, then 3, 7, 17,and 24 hours

Samples, no fuming on the left, then 3, 7, 17,and 24 hours

Same samples, another view

Same samples, another view

I had a larger piece in with the samples that I pulled at 17 hours.  It’s fairly dark compared to the un-fumed sample.  I rubbed in a coat of plain linseed oil, gave it a quick topcoat of garnet shellac and a coat of brown wax.  Here is the comparison with the original two finish samples.  I don’t know if I like the fumed sample, I’ll need to look at it in the daylight.  The ray flecks seem more distinct, but it’s “brown-er” than I wanted.  Hmmm…

Fumed oak in the middle

Fumed oak in the middle

 

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Byrdcliffe Door, Continued

Continuing along on my mission style adaptation of the Byrdcliffe cabinet…

I cut the “horns” off of my glued-up door and carefully planed the four sides until it was a snug fit into the opening.  I have a pair of non-mortise hinges I may use on this, but until I’m sure I’m not going any further with fitting the door.  I also need to figure out a stop block for the door to close against, and some sort of catch.  Maybe a small block of wood with a rare earth magnet, although I’m considering making a a “Krenov catch”. Needless to say, I’m very happy with the fit.  My next step is to sort out the hardware and and clean up the glue squeeze out in preparation for finishing.

Door before trimming

Door before trimming

Door fit to the opening - I'll remove more material once I'm sure what hardware I'm using.

Door fit to the opening – I’ll remove more material once I’m sure what hardware I’m using.

Speaking of finishing, I have some scraps of White Oak in a fuming out in the shop now.  I pulled one piece after 3 hours and it was too subtle.  After 7 hours I pulled another.  It’s darker, but still too subtle.  It also has a greenish cast, but I think that’s expected.  More on that later.

The next big thing on this cabinet is to make the glass panel for the door.  I’m using a Dard Hunter design for this.  To get the layout for this I started by updating my CAD model of the door that I did to figure out the joinery.  I made it as accurate as I could, then I imported the design as an image and essentially traced over it with lines and splines.  I’ll print out a full sized pattern at Kinkos on their large roll printer, as it’s a little larger than I can print on my home machine.  I picked out the glass that I want to use and ordered it today, hopefully it will come before next weekend, but I’m not holding my breath.

I’m going to do this using the copper foil (or Tiffany) method because that’s what I know how to do, although using lead came would be more traditional.  I’ll try the “leaded” approach some time, but I don’t want to mess with it now.  My guess is that leading would be way faster then foiling all of the individual pieces and soldering all of the seams.

Glass selections for the door

Glass selections for the door

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Byrdcliffe (ish) Door Done (ish)

I had a pretty good day in the shop yesterday and was able to glue up the door.  If you have followed my previous escapades you’ll know that I bolloxed the first attempt.  You’ll also know the achieved plausible deniability and was able to blame it my mortise chisel.

Yesterday I was able to chop four nearly perfect mortises and move on to cutting the weird staggered tenons.  As a footnote, I’m still not happy with the Sorby mortise chisel, I had to sharpen it twice while cutting the four mortises.  I probably could have pushed it through all four mortises, but the edge was knocked and rolling over and I was afraid it would push it off course or cause a split.  I’ll need a better solution before I mortise more.

This is the layout I came up with for the mortise and tenon construction on the door.  the rebate in the finished door is .300, which is just over half the height of the zinc channel that will hold the stained glass panel.  The mortise is 1″ deep (slightly over that, actually) to accommodate a 1″ tenon – but because of the rebate the front shoulders are .300″ longer than the rear.  Hopefully the picture below make this more clear than the my description…

Dimensions for the mortises, rabbets and tenons

Dimensions for the mortises, rabbets and tenons

I was concerned about how to get the rails cut to the correct length so that the door would be the correct width.  My experience tells me that measuring the stiles and subtracting them from the door opening, then adding in the planned lengths for the rebate and mortise leads to tolerance stack-up and it’s not exact enough.

Instead I laid the two stiles in the door opening, and knifed in the remaining width on a scrap of fine.  I cut this to length so it was just slightly oversize, and checked it at both the top and bottom of the door opening.  This gives me the target width for the exposed face of the rail.  Then I added in the mortise and rebate widths, times two, to get the overall length.  This gave me the final cut length for the rails.

Over-long rails with story sticks for the face length and overall length.

Over-long rails with story sticks for the face length and overall length.

With these two story sticks I could lay out the final width, the shoulders for the front of the tenons and then measure the offset for the rear shoulders…and double check everything before cutting.  In the end I’m shooting for a door that is just slightly too large, maybe .020″ to .030″, so I can plane it down and get the gaps exactly right.  When I’m a little more confident in making inset doors I’ll probably shoot for an exact fit with a shaving or two to dial it in.

In the end I was successful.  The tenons were slightly over thick, and a shaving or two off the back (to keep the alignment of the fronts on track gave me a nice snug fit that took a light touch with a mallet to seat (and take apart).  The front and back faces were flush, the joints square and not exposed, and the assembled door lays flat on the bench with no twist.  Joy in Mudville.

First joint test fit

First joint test fit, check out the nice alignment with the cut lines on the stiles!

Dry fit up of the door

Dry fit up of the door, I’m leaving the horns on the stiles until after the glue up

Glued up with Old Brown Glue

Glued up with Old Brown Glue (it’s actually upside down in the photo, you can see the layout triangles pointing at the camera)

Since gluing up with Old Brown Glue is something more of a process than just grabbing the glue bottle (I heat up a glass of water to warm the glue) I try to do all of my gluing at once.  I added walnut Miller Dowels to the case sides to reinforce the rabbet joints, and I also cut thin strips to fill where my earlier mistake led a gap at the corners.  I made the rabbet at the back of the case deeper than the rabbet at the corners, which left about a 1/8″ gap.  The repair should be invisible and certainly won’t cause any structural problems.

Drilling for Miller Dowels

Drilling for Miller Dowels

Dowels and corner repair glued in place, I'll flush these up today

Dowels and corner repair glued in place, I’ll flush these up today  (and yes, I managed to glue this on in facing the wrong way.  Crap.

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