Saturday, July 7, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Part 2

(In case you missed part 1 from earlier today)

OK so now were up to yesterday, Friday (July 6) so I grabbed one of the flooring boards and cut it to length. Of course, for some reason I cut it too short by about an inch (no it wasn't a tape-measuring thing - I actually "fiddled" with my table saw and moved the reference mark - Lesson Number 2, if anyone is counting, is to finish "fiddling" before you start cutting the real material.). Fortunately I had plenty of flooring to mess with. After defining the length and making a quick sketch, I started working on the new tongue for the opposite end. I cut all the bottoms first, then the tops. This is a test fit on the floor of my shop:

I then calculated the ripped piece for the end (came out to 2 1/2" wide) and made the rip cuts for the tongue on that side. It took a bit to get everything to line up to within an acceptable limit (still not looking for perfection here). I took the time at this point to bevel all the edges and work down the extended parts of the dovetails (used a flush trim saw and finished with the hand plane). I also worked out all the faces with a Stanley 4 1/2 smoother and hit the whole thing with some 150 grit sandpaper.

After everything was in place I clamped everything together and removed the sub-frame for a test fit. About a quarter of an inch needed to be trimmed from one end. I then marked and pre-drilled holes for 5 screws that will be used to hold the top to the sub-frame. The sub-frame was reattached and then the top moved to the top of the bench - heavy sucker, especially for one person. I also had to pull the cabinet from the wall to access the screws in the back and no, I didn't remove everything from the drawers before doing so - this took a bit of man-handling but wasn't too bad, just time consuming (Lesson Number 3 - get help from a friend before lifting a 100 lb + piece of awkward counter-top):

Next I drilled and counter-sunk 5 holes on the front, Added shims so the top would be tight to the sub-frame and screwed the top to the bench. There are also some hidden shims under the center column and right front to level the bench (no leveling feet on this unit - doesn't even have holes for them).

I hope to put a couple of coats of shellac or oil finish on the exposed wood tomorrow, but I'm calling this project done. I may still fill the holes on the front where I cut the rabbets for the flooring tongues (right now they're ugly and will probably prompt me to wedge and trim a filler strip).

Quick shot of most of the tools used:

So that's about it - not a bad project if a bit more time consuming that I thought it would be. I also got to practice my hand-cut dovetail technique AND free up some space.
-- John

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