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ShopCam HiLites for 11/10/00
Ridem' Cowboy!

Good news! Made it into the shop on time and had more than eight hours of productive woodworking. We might get this job done yet! ;)

As you might remember from yesterday, the edges were milled from thick stock for the top of the base cabinets. There was even a cute little drawing of the molding. In preparation for routing the edge, a 1/2" by 1/2" rabbet was removed on the saw to waste any un-needed wood which would otherwise have to be removed with the router.

During the cuts on the tablesaw, my carefully prepared stock began to crook again - we had some real reaction wood on our hands, folks, and it's use as a molding was in doubt!

At the very least, using the router table to shape the edges was likely to end in failure. The grain of these pieces was all over the place and judging from the tearout on the jointer, it was doubtful I would get the necessary pieces for the edges and might have to make some more.

Finally I decided to go for it. I already had too much time in these pieces to abandon them and when it comes to dealing with reaction wood, there is a stand-by method which works every time - climb-cutting freehand style.

In case you don't know, climb-cutting is feeding the router the opposite direction. Instead of left-to-right, you move the router right-to-left and it cuts cleanly because the wood is sliced towards the workpiece, instead of away from it which causes tearout. When the bit hits the wood, the router wants to take off and run along the board. Needless to say, this technique can be dangerous! It also completely eliminates any tearout in the grain for a very clean edge.

For reasons we won't go into, you shouldn't climb-cut (feed backwards) stock on a router table unless you have a stock feeder. If you try, you risk having the stock ripped out of your grasp, leaving nothing between your hands and the router bit. The best way to climb-cut is freehand and that was my intention - hold the router and ride it along the edge and hope I don't get carried away - literally!

Here's a photo of a particularly nasty section after climb-cutting. Since the bit was fairly new, the cut came out good enough to...maybe...skip sanding.

Naaaaah, I wouldn't do that.

In practice, it took about four passes for each piece of molding, taking a small bite of the wood each time until the bearing finally rests on the wood. After climb-cutting for while, you get a feel for how much you can take off and your router drops into a groove between the force it exerts to take off and the force you apply to constrain it's propulsion. If you ever want to try climb-cutting, start out with something small like a 1/4" round-over bit.

Ridem' Cowboy! :)

When all three pieces were ogee-shaped, it was time for the 1/2" roundover - the lower half of the bullnose. To clamp the pieces on the bench, I trimmed a section off one piece and inverted it for a mirror-shaped clamping caul (photo right).

The other part behind the workpiece keeps the router from tipping during it's run along the edge.

Forming the roundover went pretty much like the ogee - right to left. Actually, it feels more like the router is pushing you backwards.
Here's the finished shape with the roundover ending about where the ogee begins. At the lower left, in the photo, you can see some planer tearout in the unshaped flat, and the clean section above it which was shaped with the router.
Once the moldings are cut and I'm pretty confident I can get the edgings I need, it's time to cut out the plywood tops. I cut them oversized and trimmed them flush to the cabinet ends. There are two benefits - the router doesn't risk chipping the veneer and the panel is sized exactly to the cabinet.
Then it's off to the mitersaw to cut some angles - basic stuff...

I want to put a few biscuits in the edge to line up the molding. When dealing with crooked parts, sometimes it's best to get the molding a bit higher than the plywood - it's much better than the other way around. At least you can scrape down the molding without worrying about burning through any thin veneer.

To get the molding to adhere just a smidgeon above the plywood, I slip an empty envelope under the biscuit machine fence when cutting the slots in the plywood. I know it's not as much fun as spending money on some special biscuiting accessory - sorry! ;)

Here's a photo of the clamped assembly.
While the glue is drying on my mitered edgings, I thought I would sand the other case parts for the upper cabinets. Since the finish is supposed to be water-based polyurethane, to match the finish of Mr. D.'s walnut floor, I thought I would pre-wet the veneer to raise the grain, and hopefully save me a sanding step later. Never tried it before - stay tuned.
With all the plywood panels wet from the water, I get an idea of the color(s) of the finished wall unit - I like it!
Out of the clamps, here's the mitered corner upside down. I was going to roundover the top edge, creating a bullnose, but the more I think about it, I think this looks better. Let me know what you think.

OK, my plywood is all wet and I can't make up my mind about the final shape of the top edge - what to do?

Fortunately, with a project of this proportion, there is ALWAYS something to do. Let's hang the drawers.

I used to use Accuride slides exclusively. Whenever you use something exclusively, you're never exposed to other, and sometimes better, products.

One problem with Accurides was all the grease you needed to clean off before you could handle them. And they didn't stop very exactly when you slid the drawer back and sometimes taking the drawer back out was a pain.

Then they didn't have Accurides for the job I needed to get done fast so I tried KV slides. Much better! :)

If you ever hang file drawers on full-extension drawer slides, throw away the instructions. All you need to know is for almost all of them, you need 1/2" of clearance on each side of the box.

Mounting is so simple. Line up the slide in the same plane as the bottom and flush to the front face. Put two screws into the horizontal slots and remove the slide from the mounting bracket. I use the horizontal slots in case I have to make some adjustments later. Notice the bench stop behind the drawer for support in driving screws.

In the cabinet, cut a spacer template to hang the upper slides first. With the center of the opening at 12", I cut the spacer to 12 1/8" wide and set the slide on it. Using a combo square set to 7/8" deep, screw the slide to the cabinet using the permanent screw holes (the round ones).
One in the front and one in the back. At this point we have two screws in each piece, the drawer and the cabinet. We'll put two more in later, after the cabinet has been installed and we're sure we don't need to shift anything one way or the other.
Then we slide the spacer out and lay a couple laminate shims on the bottom of the cabinet. This is our mounting platform for the lower slide and like the upper slide, we set the front about 7/8" behind the faceframe. A scratch awl leaves a little dimple for starting the screw in the center of the hole.

By quitting time, the drawer boxes are all hung. I still have to mount the faces but we'll save that task for the next time I can't figure out what to do.

See you Monday!

If you have any questions or comments about Mr. D's Walnut Wall Unit, please post them at the Info Exchange.

Jim Mattson

 Onward to the Next Installment

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