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Moving Day

Whenever I meet someone new in an informal setting, and they ask me what I do for a living, I'm often tempted to say I'm a glorified furniture mover - first I move it from the jointer to the tablesaw, and then to the workbench, etc. The poignancy of this aspect of woodworking is really driven home today - no pun intended! :)

Friday morning, there are only three large pieces and the moldings left to topcoat. Normally, I like to let everything dry for a day before transport, but with another storm coming, it's important to get everything loaded and on the road soon. It will be interesting to see how well the PSL holds up with only a few hours to dry.

The last piece to spray is the mantle. The shelves and cabinet tops all have four coats of finish. As the only other horizontal surface, I wanted the mantle to look the same and have an equal level of protection.

I sanded just the mantle top and and angled the spray gun so the overspray only hit the top of the bullnose. The topcoat blended perfectly on the unsanded edge - I like it!

Then the fireplace surround is laid on the tablesaw and the whole column/mantle assembly is carefully placed into position. Using a square, the bottoms of the columns are aligned with the bottom of the surround and then screwed into place from the back side.

With the bottoms locked into place, first one side and then the other is cantilevered over the edge so I can screw the mantle from underneath. Screws are only used along the bottom edge of the upper frame. The piece below the mantle is wider and needs more room to expand and contract. This piece is held tightly against the mantle with a wood cleat screwed to the upper frame.

The final finishing chore takes finds us at the bottoms of the columns. I was worried if any water seeped into the interface between the hearth and columns, it would soak into the bare end-grain and blister the finish. Two coats of water-based poly should do the trick.

After lunch, I forgot to turn on the camera so you miss me roughly screwing on the upper cabinet back for the piece over the door cabinet. Then it's loaded into the pickup truck.

The shelves will ride best if placed into the cabinet. They lose their feet and are loaded up two at a time.

Each of the tops gets wrapped in it's own blanket. Not taking any chances here!
The baseboard and shoe moldings are rolled into a blanket. The exposed end is wrapped in a piece of carpet and everything is held in place with packing tape.
Here's a picture of the loaded cabinets. Except for the molding bundle, everything is sandwiched between the two upper cabinets. To keep the whole thing together, I screw some scrap blocks across the pieces on top and in the back so they can't shift around.

A large drop cloth wraps the load and is held in place with a band clamp. My lil' pickup came with some great tie-downs bolted to the interior of the bed, so roping the load down is pretty simple. I'm still planning to take it easy around corners...;)

In the end, I'm on the road by 5:15 PM and I'm happy to say everything arrived OK. I couldn't find one scuff mark in the relatively fresh finish and I'm giving the PSL an A+ for being a good traveler.

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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