Tuesday, July 24, 2012

the credenza part 9 - finishing and moving

after a smooth recovery from the shelf cutting fiasco, it was time for me to pack my bags and head back home. up to this point, i had spent a total of 3 weeks working on the credenza in the shop. this is where mom picked up the project, as she is the resident finishing expert.

throughout this process i found myself being constantly corrected by my mom. i would ask her a question about what state the credenza needed to be at in order for her to start staining. she would say that she is not "staining" the credenza, she is simply finishing. this was her nice way of saying that staining is when you take cheap wood and make it look like expensive wood.  she would be finishing, which is sealing and protecting my beautiful wood with no alteration of color.

here we have a picture of the shelves with the first of five coats of finish. all of these pictures are compliments of my parents, as i was not around during these steps.

we decided to go with a satin finish as the granite had been finished with a satin finish, and this would match well.

here is the base being finished.

the top and granite came back from the stone cutter's shop while i was back home. my parents sent me this picture of the top frame and the granite remnant in the back of the truck.

and shortly after, i received this picture of the granite top fitted to the mulberry top frame.

receiving these pics really got me excited.

mom and dad slated a few days to drive the credenza up in the truck when it was all done. i felt bad not being able to help them load the credenza since it's so heavy. but they got it done, and did a great job!

the cooler in the back is full of a wheat beer that my brother and dad brewed when he flew home for a visit. it was christmas in july for me and my brother.

a few shots of the shipment.

the tape has N S E W labeled on the tape so that we knew which way to orient the stone slab when installing

the top was secured between a few boards and saran wrapped

under the slab of stone were the doors and shelves

proof that we used the best of the best, walnut a-1.

there is still a few hours of work to be done. shelves need to be hung and the top needs to be attached to the base. these are the shelf hangers that have predrilled holes and edge banded on the visible surfaces. they are ready to be measured and secured.

my parents also brought me a little gift, a rechargeable drill for drilling and screw-driving.

here the top, shelves, and doors are stacked in the corner.

and the base, sitting approximately where it will be when all completed.

we left things at this point because my parents had been driving all day and needed a good meal and a drink. we had the next day off and allocated the daytime to assemble the credenza and get everything all set up.

link to part 10 - project complete

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the credenza part 8 - shelving

after the doors were made it was time to get to work on the shelves.  when taking pictures in the shop, be sure to take a few self portraits so that the end user of your fine furniture knows what true craftsmen look like.

the design has three shelves, with 13" of clearance for the lower and middle shelf, and about 6" clearance for the top shelf. the 13"gap will allow records to be stored on the bottom and middle shelf.

the first step to making shelves was to measure and calculate what portion of our remaining ply could be used for shelving. the ply sheets are 4 feet wide and 8 feet long, so we have to cut them using saw horses and a circular saw with a guide that my dad built. here is the setup outside where there's room to cut these big pieces.

i measured 37" but somehow transformed the 7 into a 1 in my head, and ended up cutting 31". this happened during the euro cup soccer tournament, and we were paying more attention to the tv than the tape measure. 

this was my first mistake!!!! the night before, while drinking some wine with my mom and watching tv she asked me how the credenza was coming along, and if everything was going as i planned. she asked if we've made any big mistakes or had any hangups. perplexed as to why she would ask me this, i said that everything to date had gone smoothly and we were following the plans exactly. i then knocked on wood.

i took the time to photograph the cutting of this sheet in order to make two shelves, but didn't double check that i was cutting the right length. here it is set up to cut 31" of ply, when i needed to cut 37" of ply.  shortly after i will realize that after this cut, i will no longer have any pieces of ply that are big enough to make the 37" wide shelves that are part of my design. the plan was to cut this one piece, then cut that in 1/2 to make two shelves.

but that's woodworking. dad says that you have to improvise when woodworking. you turn lemons into lemonade, you use your screw ups to your advantage. in this case, we decided to cut two 3" strips, and glue them to the short sides of each shelf using the same biscuit technique used for the door edge bands. this way the shelves look to have more detail, and would be seen as an intentional addition as opposed to a way of fixing a careless error.

while we were adding the two strips of ply to make the shelf whole again, we edge banded the top and middle shelf, as their face would be exposed. the bottom shelf will lie flush with the front face bottom support, which you'll see later when we hang the shelves.

here's the edge band being clamped.

that one incorrect cut cost me about 4 hours of extra shop time. it also required me to glue 4 more pieces than i would have had to glue, and you know how i feel about gluing! but that is life in the shop, my mom knew this better than me, which is why she asked me about making mistakes the night before.

to make myself feel better, the next day when the glue was dry, i put the top shelf where the granite slab will eventually go. this gave me a view of the credenza that i had never seen before! the doors, the top frame, and now a top. i stood at the credenza, walked around it, set things on top of it all the while envisioning how it would be when everything is complete.

things are really coming together now!

link to part 9 - finishing and moving