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Craig Ruegsegger

Yes, I’m still working on my TV stand

Dance lessons and rehearsals (for the daughter, not me) are eating up time that I might normally spend in the shop, so progress on the TV stand is slow. A lot of the pieces have been cut to size so I’ve been finishing them as I go and that’s taking a long time. Here’s why: Each surface needs to lay flat so the finish spreads out evenly. For one of the vertical dividers, that’s three surfaces (each face, plus the narrow edge that faces forward). Each surface gets three coats. I can apply one coat a day. That’s nine days just to finish the dividers. Then I could move them out of the way and find room for a couple more pieces.

However, I’m beginning to have doubts about the brush-on poly I’m using. There was the earlier post about repairing bubbling on one of the frame and panel assemblies. Now on one of the dividers, I’ve got a couple of spots that are adverse to having any polyurethane on them. There must be some sort of oil contaminating those spots. I’m afraid it may come down to refinishing that face. Tack on another 3-4 days for that. Hopefully, the finishing will be smooth (pun intended) from here on out.

Craig

Bubble, bubble, causing trouble

Progress on the TV stand creeps forward. To get the best possible finish, I’m finishing parts as I go. This way, parts lay flat while brushing on the poly top coat and the finish lays out more smoothly without runs.  But I came across a problem with one of the end panels. See the bubbles?

Bubble poly finish

Bubble poly finish

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Straightening grain patterns

When choosing the lumber for the 7″-wide raised panels in my TV stand, I found a board wide enough to allow me to cut them in one piece without any glue-ups. Except for one. Can you find the joint line in this panel?
20090126Panel2
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TV stand progress

Construction of the TV stand has finally begun. (BTW, I had a friend give me some grief about my glacial rate of progress on this project. My response was that what I lack in speed, I make up for in procrastination.)

TV stand model

TV stand model

I’ve milled all the pieces for the frame and panel sides, I’ve dyed the frame pieces, and have two of the three coats of varnish on the frames and panels. I brought them into the house for a dry assembly in the family room to give my wife an idea of the completed size. She likes the look, thank goodness, because I’d hate to start over. Then she said, “You know this is just the start, right? I’m going to want tables to go with that when it’s done.” No, I didn’t know that. But yes, I guess I should have expected it.

One more coat of varnish, then I can glue up the end panels. I’ll post some photos as they come together.

Craig

The coffee timer in action

In my last post I outlined the on/off switch I made from an old coffee timer. Last weekend, I had a chance to try it out. It fulfills its intended purpose, providing an easy-to-reach on/off switch, perfectly. And there’s the benefit of having an easy-to-read digital clock in the shop.

There was one thing I did not anticipate, however. After 2 hours, it automatically shuts off. A smart function for a coffee pot. Not so much for the stereo. So I’ve taken to just plugging and unplugging the stereo directly from the wall receptacle.  And the timer? It will serve nicely as a clock until something presents itself that needs to shut off after 2 hours. Air compressor perhaps?

Craig

Maybe I’ve had too much coffee

One of the final loose ends in my shop reorganization was finding a place for the stereo. It’s three stacked components, an old garage-sale find, but it works and allows me to plug in my iPod. The only suitable spot I could find was on top of my wall cabinets. I can j-u-s-t reach the volume control, but not the power switch. So I decided I needed an on/off switch that was easier to reach. Hmmm, how to do this creatively without spending any money? Digging through my junk drawer produced a switch and timer salvaged from an old coffee maker (see, I knew I’d find a use for it), and a female replacement plug for an electrical cord. The scrap bin yielded some mahogany. After milling the lumber to size, cutting box joints, and mounting the electronics, here’s what I had. Read more

Sketchup makes you sleepy

I found time to sit at the computer Saturday and watch some of the excellent on-line video tutorials for Sketchup.  By 1:30p, I’d been at it a couple of hours, and I was getting a little bleary. My wife and daughter were gone, so I lay down on the couch for a 20-minute “power nap“… and woke up two hours later! Very unusual for me, as I seldom even nap. Anyway, I’m much better versed in Sketchup now (and better rested), so time allowing, I’ll begin designing my TV stand this week.

Craig

Ego & Impatience

There’s plenty of hyperbole about how “easy” Sketchup is to use. Just ask these guys.

They do amazing things with the software, but I should recognize that these guys have graphics backgrounds, art degrees, etc. and that I don’t. I should also recognize that learning any new software requires some learning time, no matter how often words like “intuitive” and “easy to use” get tossed about. So why did I expect to plunge right in, start clicking and dragging, and have my TV stand designed with scaled drawings in just a couple of evenings? The answer lies in the title of this post.

Despite some initial frustrations working with the software, I’ve managed to create a basic look for the stand that the wife and I like…

TV Stand model

TV Stand model

…but I’ll have to go back to square one and start drawing it correctly, with parts that fit as they should, so I can then output dimensioned plans.

I should make it clear, I’m not dissing Sketchup, just my ignorance in jumping in without first doing a little training. So in the days ahead, I’ll backpedal and put in my study time so that I can move ahead. Lesson learned (again): Take the time up front to save time and frustration later.

Craig

Some quality time

My 10-year-old daughter joined me in the shop Sunday. I wasn’t her first choice, though: she’d done her chores in the house, wasn’t in a TV-watching mood, and none of her friends were around to play. So she decided to see what kind of help Dad needed. Read more

Completed cabinet

Well, it’s finally complete! My step-back cabinet is finally done. First, here’s a shot of the drawer that had to be grooved to accommodate the over-thick drawer slides:

Drawer slide

Drawer slide

As you can see, I got the drawer fronts on and the pulls installed. Here’s the finished cabinet:

Completed step-back cabinet

Completed step-back cabinet

So far it’s swallowed a dovetail jig with three templates, two router kits and associated accessories, air nailers, various jigs, hardware and more. I haven’t devoted a lot of time to putting stuff where it works best, but at least it’s out of the boxes that were scattered all about.

Now I’m in the process of designing a TV stand. It’s my first real effort with Sketchup, so I work a bit, get stumped, poke around the on-line tutorials, then try some more.  I’ll post some sketches in progress.

Craig

 
 
 
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