So, this is where I’ve stopped at around 11am today and it’s good to see this project start to take shape. My client knew that this would be; as I’ve termed it, a real head scratcher and he was right on the mark with that assessment! I always enjoy the challenge of taking on the unknown project but it’s difficult to estimate how much time it may take to produce when you challenge yourself with one of a kind work. Sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised and find that what you thought might take 15 hours was successfully accomplished in half that time, other times it’s the opposite — afraid that’s the case on this one but it’s definitely keeping me on my toes. Boy, there’s a lot of things to keep in mind.
This was the first success after many hours of preliminary work, being able to clamp the unit together and place the monitor in it and see it fit. It’s sitting on top of the table saw so the angle is a little weird but everything is correct. Now I could figure out the placement of the ventilation fans. They need to be placed near the top and back far enough to clear the monitor. This meant they couldn’t be centered which affects the hinge placement.
The fans require a hole about 3 inches in diameter. A circle cutter made that task easy and all that remained was to locate and drill the four holes used to mount the fan. At the same time, holes were also cut into the bottom piece for ventilation and for a cable chase.
The case will be joined using screws which will be concealed with plugs. Although this isn’t the fine, hand cut joinery I would use for building a dining set it seems to be the best choice for this project. The inside bottom is made of Baltic Birch plywood which is laminated between the Alder for the back and front shelf. Biscuit joinery was used here to help keep all in alignment. As usual, glue up was a bit hectic and I debated whether or not the temperature was too warm in the shop but the bottom line is that I wanted to get things over and done with so went ahead and put this project together.
One concern I had was keeping everything square, the opening for the monitor itself measures 22″ tall by 35″ wide and you can’t put a brace of some sort down the center of the monitor — don’t think my client would appreciate that! Screwing the monitor to the case (6 screws) will stiffen it somewhat but I decided to use a furniture technique of putting glue blocks in the corners to strengthen the entire case. They are generally applied with a rub joint which I further reinforced with a couple of 23 gauge pins. These glue blocks are attached at both the top and bottom of the case and essentially increase the glue area and over-all rigidity of the case.
All that remains for the main portion of the case is to attach the dividers that support the bottom and also provide the storage space beneath the unit. I’ll do that after lunch plus glue in all of the plugs to conceal the screws. For that I’ll use liquid hide glue since it cleans up better than cabinet makers glue. Then it’s on to the doors which is a pretty straight forward operation.
In spite of my complaining at the beginning of this blog about the challenges of this particular project I truly enjoy it. Just like when I’d compete in my 50 mile mountain races there are smooth stretches and some you’re not so sure you’ll be able to overcome. A lot can happen during the 9-13 hours it would take me to finish one of them. The majority of the time though you finish and feel much better about yourself and ability to cope with life. Completing a challenging project gives me the same sense of satisfaction. Diane and I recently came back from a vacation in Kentucky and I purchased a dulcimer. There is a very well known mountain dulcimer maker there by the name of Warren May. He and I have traveled somewhat similar paths in that we were both Industrial Arts teachers. He stopped many years ago to pursue making his dulcimers. He has numbered and signed each and every one of them — mine is #16,831. It’s a beautiful piece of work but I’m not so sure I would enjoy making that many of anything no matter how beautiful or satisfying it may be. I think I’ll stick to being the one of kind project guy like I am.