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ShopCam HiLites for 12/7/00

Today was a good day in the shop. Despite the broken regulator (photo right) I managed to figure out what I was doing wrong with my topcoats. Yesterday, when I started to see the orange peel, instinctively I added more water to thin out the mixture.

As it turns out, that was the wrong thing to do. This stuff isn't like the solvent lacquer - thinning it out makes it bead on the surface. In essence, the PSL thinned too much behaves just like sprinkling water on a freshly waxed table top - it beads up.

And how do I know this? I sprayed some straight, un-thinned PSL on a couple pieces this morning and it flowed out perfectly. Doh!

I guess technically this isn't orange peel. But what to call it? How about "Beading"?

Anyway, here's a closeup of the "beading" on one of the shelf edges. To fix it, I need to sand if flat again. We'll do that next week since the shelves are the last thing which need finishing.

When I finally figured out the problem, I decided to re-spray the tops. Mr. D. said he didn't want it looking too plastic so I spent part of the morning sanding off most of the finish. To get it really flat, I used a small piece of Plexiglas wrapped in the 3M 216U sandpaper. The flat acrylic revealed any low spots in the top as you can see in the two oval-shaped depressions along the edging interface.

Do you know what they're from? Think about it for a second if you don't. Do they look like biscuits? Did I warn everyone about this before?

If you said yes, give yourself a pat on the back. Nice pickup! Obviously I didn't let the glue dry enough before sanding the edge flat. The still-wet glue in the biscuit slots eventually lost it's moisture and the wood shrank in the vicinity. I didn't notice it before because the satin sheen of the PSL didn't reveal it. Had we gone with a gloss finish, they would have been way too expressive.

Getting the depressions out required sanding clear through the finish - essentially starting over. That's OK, these are the little lessons you don't forget next time. Or, is that what I said last time...;)

BTW, anytime you hardblock with open coated sandpaper, an orbital action helps keep the sandpaper from loading far better than back and forth.

After lunch, I decided to do the little tasks I had wanted to do yesterday if the gods of woodworking had been smiling on me. First on the list is making the hanging rods for the file drawers. Lateral hanging files have to hang on something!

Normally I like to make them out of 1/16" thick by 1 1/2" wide aluminum bar stock. They didn't have any when I went by a couple weeks ago so I bout a piece of angled aluminum instead. In the photo, I'm ripping the angle off on the tablesaw - aluminum blade, of course.

There are other ways to hang files. You can buy an extruded clip-on strip which fits over 1/2" thick drawer sides. With the 5/8" thick walnut sides for this project, that wasn't feasible. And the racks you buy which fit in the drawers are just too tacky!

After ripping the stock, it's off to the Hammond Glider for crosscutting and notching the ends. In case you didn't know, the Glider was originally designed as a metal-cutting saw. It was used in the printing industry for precisely cutting lead type to size, prior to mounting upside down in the printing press. Any pieces of type which were too small would fall out.

When the pieces are cut to length, their ends are notched so the hanging part extends over the drawer side. If you don't extend the ends, the end files will slip over the rails and catch. It's a pain.

Both cuts for the notch are made at the Glider. The first is made with the stock on edge against the fence - photo above - and the second is made with the aluminum standing straight up in a jig - photo right.

Here's what it looks like when finished at the saw.
Aluminum is then taken over to the workbench, ganged together and the rough edges are filed smooth.
Then they go to the drill press for boring the mounting holes. Since the stock is lightweight, I hold it down by hand, drilling between my finger tips. Don't try this with anything which can get away from you, OK?

There are two types of metal-cutting countersinks in my drill drawer. The one laying down has five flutes and works pretty good on hard metals at slow speeds. if you use it on soft metals like aluminum and brass, the flutes clog with metal and it stops working.

The one in the drill press has a hole though it at an angle. It removes one long ribbon of metal and can't clog.

The other little job I wanted to get out of the way is mounting the magnetic door catches. These are much easier to mount to a block, before screwing to the cabinet, than trying to lay them out upside down and get them aligned after the fact.

I screw the catches flush with the block front edge and then...

use the metal plates for shims to set the block the right distance behind the faceframe.

That's it for now. After dropping off the lower cabinets tomorrow, I'm taking the rest of the day off and working Saturday. Look for the next installment late Saturday or Sunday morning. See you then!

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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