The Woodworker's Gazette Woodworker's Central Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette ArchiveShopcam HiLites

ShopCam HiLites for 11/20/00
Lost Weekend

Do you ever have a weekend when all your plans go flying out the window? Do you ever go into your shop with one goal and get completely sidetracked and before you know it, you don't have time to finish what you intended?

Saturday, I went to the shop and got some hair-brained idea to augment my compressed air line with a homemade water trap. Sure, it will only take a couple hours - go for it. Famous last words. Without going into details about one air leak after another, I have one recomendation - Teflon tape works much better than pipe dope in stopping high air pressure!

Because I frittered Saturday away (and still have a slow leak somewhere), I had to work Sunday on this rush job making 7 pieces of cherry molding for one of my favorite clients. You ever have a job you think will be only 5 hours and it turns into 7? Yeah, I thought so. And the shop was pretty trashed first thing this AM. Someday I think I'm gonna learn. Naaaah! ;)

Back to Mr. D.'s wall unit, we only have a few pieces of molding to shape. In the photo right, the router is cutting a base cap into a 1x6 piece of walnut. The castor on the end of the large chunk applies pressure to the walnut, keeping it firmly against the fence. The other stick applies pressure to the chunk.

Incidently, can you tell what kind of wood the chunk is from? it's walnut too but badly faded from several years kicking about the shop. You can arrest the fading with UV blockers to keep those deep chocolate colors. We aren't going that way with the wall unit. In fact, we talked about trying to expedite the fading to help the unit match Mr. D.'s fading floor. One way to do that is roll all the cabinets out on the shop's deck into the Sun. With snow flurries outside, that might not be an option!

The other molding to make is the shoe molding. In this photo, the hold-down setup is different and lighter. A spring stick holds the stock to the fence. Pretty simple, huh?
One of the things I did this weekend was improve the dust collection at the router table. With the new router, the old setup wouldn't work so I oversized the hole in the fence to let even the largest amounts of chips get sucked into the shop vac. Worked pretty good!
Here's the new baseboard and a sample of the existing baseboard. They aren't exactly the same but I think it will look OK. And having a walnut base instead of a painted one will tie the unit into the walnut floor.

Now that all the heavy machining is done, I need to start sanding the wall unit and I also need to finish the cherry molding for delivery by this weekend.

Before spraying, I try to get the shop as warm as possible. The exhaust fan won't work well without a couple windows open. Did I say there were snow flurries outside? ;)

The finish for the molding is catalyzed lacquer and the kerosene heater will have to wait outside.

I keep telling myself I'm going to build a great little finishing room as an addition to the shop. it never happens, probably because the one I'm using works pretty good. I recently upgraded the fan and the curtain to contain the overspray only takes a few minutes to set up.

There is a track I drag the mobile side of the "booth" on, and a couple notches in the track hold the side in place.

A frame holds the curtain tight against the fan housing, preventing any overspray from leaking out and any exhaust air from leaking in.. This reinforced paper curtain is covered with the lacquer, contact cement and paint overspray from about 50 jobs. It's getting a bit stiff to handle. I suspect around job number 100 I'll need a new one.

My spray gun is a bit funny looking with the cup on top. This is called a "gravity-feed" gun and it has it's pros and cons versus regular cup guns.

Regardless, I bought it for only one reason: the more spraying I do, the faster and closer I get to the work. Don't ask me why - it just is. And siphon-feed guns drive me crazy every time I drag the cup across a freshly finished surface. I can't do that with this gun - a real blessing!

Here's the molding after four coats of vinyl sealer (Sherwin Williams). The sealer is applied as two-double coats. The first coat flashes very quickly so it's followed with another coat to get it wet looking. When that flashes, about ten minutes later, the second double-coat is applied.

After drying overnight, the molding will get a good sanding and top-coated with post-catalyzed lacquer. You have to mix in the catalyst with the topcoat, so it's a bit more of a hassle than pre-catalyzed lacquers, which come already mixed. The up side is I have unlimited shelf-life as long as the two componants aren't mixed and the coating is a bit tougher. This molding is going in a kitchen so any toughness you can apply is a good thing.

While these dry, let's find something else to do.

OK, I've goofed off long enough. Nothing left to do but sand and boy, do I have lots of sanding to do! I guess I could go down to my neighbors to turn the columns, but I think we'll save that for another day. Let's go - we'll start with the hearth support.

As carefully as I could get the tongue and groove frame joints smooth, they still need some attention before going after them with a ROS. Random orbit sanders are great, but their soft pads tend to follow uneven wood. To get it even, I'm using a hard sanding block which takes a half-sheet of 100 grit sandpaper. I run the block at all angles to the grain, knowing the ROSA will remove the scratches.

There is 100 grit on the ROS too. Sometimes when I have sharp planer knives, I can get by starting with 150 grit. Not this time. (Remember the bullets?)

My plan is this - sand all the solid wood to 100 grit and then come back and sand everything to 150 grit. I'm hoping I don't have to sand finer before starting to spray but I'll do a couple samples first to make sure. Not having to stain makes sanding much easier as we all know how stain accentuates sanding scratches. Cross your fingers.

Some of the joints need a little more than flattening with a hard block - in comes the scraper. I know some folks can tune a plane to handle these sorts of chores. I never could manage it without lots of grain tearout. Maybe some day when I don't have to do this for a living.
After sanding the face of the fireplace surround, the edges need smoothing too. Did I tell you how great it is having a vacuum connected to my sander? If there's any dust in the air, I can't see it. I would like to have a vac that turns on and off with the tool. Both Fein and Porter-Cable have one. birthday is coming up...hint...hint! :)

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

Contact Us | Homepage | Back to the Gazette
We encourage all our visitors to send us
their thoughts, suggestions and complaints.