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ShopCam HiLites for 11/21/00
Grunt Work

A piece of carpet on the bench. A vac attached to my ROS. Some tunes on the radio. Sounds like the perfect recipe for for some major grunt work - sanding.

As much as I don' like sanding, you really have to pay attention and do it right. A poor sanding job definitely shows in the final product and we don't want to drop the ball so close to the end.

Some of the plywood has a dent here and there from some rough handling in the past. If they aren't too deep, water will raise them back up so they can then be sanded. I usually don't stop the sander to go get a rag - a drop of spit is much faster...;)
After a couple hours, all the shelves are sanded except for breaking the edges. I try to round over all my edges by hand as the last thing before spraying. I get another look at the pieces and I find there is more consistency in the look and feel of the edges.
With the shelves out of the cabinets, it's time to take them apart. I'm marking the back to the door cabinets so I know which one goes where; we want our screw holes to line up!

I've decided to remove the base cabinet tops for ease of spraying and ease of installation. This means the upper cabinets will be unsupported at the bottom. To prevent any joints from cracking, I attach a scrap bottom to the upper units made of melamine. I have a bunch of it laying around the shop and much of it has the test holes from making the shelf pin jig. Let's use that, OK?

Before screwing the melamine to the bottoms of the verticals, I attach, with screws, a 5/8" wide strip of scrap plywood to isolate the walnut verticals from the melamine during spraying. I've done this before and the final appearance is definitely superior and worth the extra effort.

With the cabinet laying flat on it's back, the faceframe is sanded first with 100 grit and then 150 grit.
Then the unit is flipped up for sanding the frame edges or anything else I can do with the ROS. like the shelves, any hand sanding will be saved for later.
The easiest piece to sand is the cabinet back - no hand sanding required! :)

After lunch, it's crunch time with the cherry molding for my other client. If I'm to make my deadline by Thanksgiving, the topcoats need to go on today. Transporting freshly finished furniture is a great way to avoid a pay check! :)

In the photo, on the left I'm hand sanding a strip of molding with 220 grit paper. The piece on the right is already done and shows the white dust from the sanding sealer. The dust is easily removed with a bench brush and compressed air.

Mixing the lacquer is pretty easy - one tablespoon of catalyst per half coffee can of lacquer. Then I spritz the mixture with some thinner to yield about a quart of finish. The only hard part is the smell. Since it's about 25 degrees outside, I'm both anxious and not so anxious to get some ventilation.
Here's a closeup of the freshly sprayed molding after three or four passes with the gun. I keep putting it on until it stays wet-looking all at the same time. So far, no sags.

Finally, the moldings are propped up on the tablesaw for hardening of the lacquer finish. The sheen is called "Medium Rubbed" by Sherwin Williams, yet no rubbing is required. I like it! I only hope in my quickly cooling shop it will dry enough for shipping. I'm supposed to wrap it in plastic and leave it on my client's back porch so his carpenters can install it this weekend. Cross your fingers!

And since it's so stinky and cold in the shop, let's go to my neighbors to start turning the columns. At the time of this writing, I have one roughed out and I'm looking for feedback about the shape. For the full story, tune in tomorrow night, OK?

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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