Thursday, June 21, 2012

the credenza part 4 - a quick dry fit

once the top and front face were dry fit, and oogled for a while, it was time to get back to work. first task at hand is to sand off the burn marks. every wood works differently, and i can see why mulberry isn't a popular wood to work with. it was very likely to burn during cuts and is very hard. other woods i've worked with have virtually zero burn marks and the tools cut through them like a hot knife through butter. regardless i still enjoy the mulberry, as it is extremely unique and i've read that over time the yellow tint changes to brown.

back to sanding! the top edge of this piece shows the results of a table saw burn.

with a little sanding...

abra-ca-dabra, the burn marks have vanished!

it is important to not sand faces that will be glued together. the cut faces are as flat and perfect as you'll ever get them, sanding will cause that perfectly flat face to become imperfect, and you'll see this imperfection when you glue the pieces together.

in our calculations, about 1 1/2 sheets of plywood were needed, which means we had to buy two sheets of plywood. i know what you're thinking "plywood?!?! i thought this was a fine piece of furniture!!??" don't be alarmed, not all plywood is created equal. most people only have experience with the cheap  and ugly plywood from home depot. we went to a lumber store and sifted through over twenty sheets of grade a-1 walnut ply. each sheet of grade a-1 walnut ply costs $100. that's right, i spent $200 on two sheets of plywood, but trust me this stuff is beautiful.

most of the time when we're woodworking we are on our feet and the hours fly by in the shop. in order to sustain this, we have to take breaks. when we are done working with power tools, we'll crack open a beer for a break. but we only do that when we have to glue, sand, or work with something that has no potential to take off a finger. another type of break we take involves a damp rag and plenty of oogling.

getting the wood damp with a rag shows what the wood will look like when finished. in this pic the brown wood is the walnut ply, the vertical top piece of mulberry is dry, and the front face of the vertical piece has been wet with a damp rag. notice how deep the yellows and browns are in the vertical piece vs the dry horizontal piece of mulberry.

here's a shot of the walnut, look at how the colors become far more dramatic and beautiful. unfinished wood is ashy and grey.

short breaks like this not only give our feet and backs a rest, we become fueled with motivation to press on with a temporary glimpse at just how fantastic our piece will look when it's all done.

as i noted earlier one aspect of woodworking that i enjoy is choosing the right piece of wood for the job. here's an example. for the rear of the credenza i needed a large sheet of ply to fit between the rear legs. the ply has different looks on either side so i had to choose which side would face out, and which would face in.

this side of the ply had dark ovals, that reminded me of ghosts for some reason

this side of the ply had more of a waterfall look, with some sapwood peeking out. i ended up choosing this side of the pannel for the rear of the credenza, and in the orientation you see in this picture.

after cutting the ply for the rear and sides, it was time to do a dry fit. this is where we put everything together just as if we were gluing it, but with no glue. we always dry fit before glue for a few reasons. many times there needs to be some rework in order for things to fit as they should, and a dry fit exposes these things. secondly we can get a practice run in as to the order of events when gluing. another quote my dad seems to repeat quite a bit in the shop: "all hell breaks loose when the glue hits the wood". it's better to be over prepared for that glue!

front of the credenza, dry fitted.

the side panels have the beautiful walnut waterfall that made me choose the specific sheets of walnut ply. i also plan to use panels with the same pattern for the doors.

with the legs, panels, and front face all dry fit, we set the top on, to see how awesome things were looking and to also figure out how we would be attaching the top to the base. i love that slash of mulberry sapwood on the right hand side of the front face.

(dad leaves his finger print on the pictures he takes, literally)

remember, this is a ttt (turntable table) so i had to give it a dry run. i'm practicing a mix with my phantom tables and headphone.

this is my dad's patented thinking pose, with his hands tucked into non-existent pockets behind his woodshop apron.

and this is how i feel about the project at this point!

link to part 5 - this time for real.


jonyangorg said...

I was concerned that this wouldn't be PG anymore when I got to this sentence: "Another type of break we take involves a damp rag and plenty of oogling." Phew, making a credenza is still family friendly!

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Emi Goya said...

You and your dad are awesome!!! I can't wait to see the finished product!

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