Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Woodwork, My Bedside Table

I love making stuff. By trade I make software but I have trouble explaining to non-software types what it is that I have done. It is difficult to show my wife the amazing indexed search system I implemented or explain how I overcame the font underline issues in Apache FOP when using a font with a positive decender value. But wait! Woodwork on the other hand produces a tangible item that can be touched and felt, smelt and tasted... though you probably shouldn't.

Project 1: My Computer Desk
I used to live in Melbourne but since I failed to grow gills and/or a protective layer of fur and blubber (working on the blubber) I moved to somewhere sunny and warm. In the move I threw out my old student desk because I was struck by a sever case of good taste. I was left without a desk, but gained a large room I could work in. The short of it is that I designed and built a computer desk with three draws on one side and a shelf on the other for my computer. It turned out ok though it is clear there is a good reason we pay cabinet makers to build such things. If you cared to read my previous post you would understand that I spent a lot of time, little money and no experience in creating my desk. I really needed to spend more time I think.

Project 2: My Bedside Table
In this new house I am in there is a "granny flat" where my parents stayed while they visited. In it we put a bed but alas, no table beside it! So I am making a bedside table. I've got a couple more tools and a computer desks worth of experience.

The design:

A marvel of engineering and sensible elegance no? The whole thing is to be made of pine then stained and sealed. I've already made a start.
What I've done:

Here you can see one completed shelf and the four frame pieces for the second shelf. I'm using lap joins to cross hatch the frame because I think I'm tricky. To cut out the waste of the lap joins I initially used a hand tenon saw to cut each edge then make three cuts in the waste. I then used a chisel to clear the waste. This is what my big book of wood working tells me to do. What the big book doesn't say is that if you are an inexperienced tit with about seven thumbs, most of them on your left hand, you have little chance of making rebates that will fit together. I had to learn that the hard way.

None of my joins worked. Each plank had what looked like a suitable rebate but when put together they didn't sit flat and were really hard to squeeze in to place. Not to fear I'm a software engineer! When experience lets me down (I have so little) I look for someone else's technology to save me. I essentially wanted to download the Apache Joint Maker 4 Pine but that doesn't exist. Instead I used my Christmas gift vouchers to buy a router. I set the depth and ran the router over each of my chiseled rebates and it sheared off the wood I'd missed and now all the joins meet perfectly.

The actual shelf bit is made of three planks joined side by side with glue (I just need it strong enough to hold while I attach them) and joined to two of the cross pieces by screws hidden in pocket holes.

The next step is to make the legs and cut the housing holes for the shleves then a lick of stain and estapol and she'll be right.

Another project?
After I've done this I think I might make a little TV stand for my spare TV. Really just another excuse to use power tools and learn a bit more. I've told people I'm going to retire early (about 40) and they say "But what will you do? Wont you get bored?" (they actually misspell won't when speaking... somehow) As if the only thing I do is work! Pah. I intend to make stuff out of wood and build a car (from the ground up, not just do up an existing one) and race a car and probably crash a car and injure myself with power tools. What more could a man want?

I'll update my blog with my progress. Also I might write a bit about how it is that I intend to retire so young.

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