Thursday, August 31

Day 5 - HD Tray Tables

Today dear readers, we completed the spreaders and legs and assembled them into leg sets. They are now ready to attach to the trays to make tables.

Day 4 – HD Tray Tables

We now rejoin our regularly scheduled project, already in progress. Today we roughed out the table parts and built the tray tops. Full details are available in the journal for this project. See you tomorrow. Doug

Monday, August 28

Day 21 - Deluxe Sewing Center

First thing this morning I made a run to International Paper in Morristown, to pick up the crate board Then to the lumber yard for the lumber needed to build the crate for Paula’s Sewing Cabinet. That consumed 2 hours. Then I began wrapping the cabinet with Styrofoam as padding against the rigors of being shipped across country in a freight line truck. Not that Old Dominion is rough – just the opposite – of the companies we’ve used over the years, ODFL is the only one who doesn’t destroy our shipments. So far (knock on wood) they have a perfect record: no losses. But part of this record is the fact that we package the shipments carefully and protect them against the bumps and jolts of being transported in a semi tractor-trailer. I got most of the foam work done before taking my lunch break. After lunch I finished the foam wrapping, cut and applied the crate board then got going on cutting the lumber framing, and finally built the skid that goes under the whole thing. Finished up around 7:00 pm. In the crate it weighs in at 212 pounds. I’m going to grab a bite to eat then get the shop cleaned up and get the crating supplies tucked out of the way so I can get started on the next project. Here is a photo of the finished crate. Exciting huh? OK. That wraps it up for this project. Thanks for following along!! God Bless, Doug Click here to read today's Journal entry.

Thursday, August 24

Day 20 - Sewing Center

Long day today.

Today we were scheduled to spray lacquer -- and we did spray lacquer, but not as early as I had planned. This morning we had a heavy ground fog that didn't burn off for quite a while, and since lacquer is sensitive to moisture, I had to delay the start of the spraying until I could be assured that the lacquer wouldn't blush on me.

Blushing is a white, cloudiness in the finish that occurs when moisture from the air gets trapped as the finish is sprayed on. It can be removed, but it's better not to let it happen in the first place.

So I worked on the new web site for most of the morning, then went down to see how Mom and Pat are getting along and fired up the spray gun after lunch. Didn't get finished up until after 9:30 this evening.

Now it needs to set and get good and hard before I scuff it smooth and polish it.

I won't be able to hook up with my guy at International Paper to get the triple wall crating board I'll need until Monday, but I'll drive over there (Morristown -- about 30 minutes away) early Monday morning so I can get started on the crate as soon as I get the cabinet all put back together.

But now I desperately need a shower, some chocolate, and a good nights sleep.

Tomorrow I'll be in Treasures, and we have a church picnic on Saturday, so this will probably be the end of this weeks work.

For details on todays activities, click the title above to go to today's entry in the journal for this project.

See you next week.


Wednesday, August 23

Day 19b - Sewing center

I worked on staining the loose parts during the second half of yesterday, and I stained the cabinet this morning, so for the purposes of the journal, I'll call these two half-days Day 19, even though they weren't on the same day.

The staining is complete. It went quickly using the Varathane stain, it's different than any other stain I've used. Most stains have to be applied wet, allowed to sit for 5 to 10 minutes then carefully wiped off. But the Varathane gets wiped off immediately. No "set time" required. And the color goes on very even. It's more like an aniline dye than a pigment stain. I *like* this stuff! I'll have to do some research on it and see what I can find out.

So, the cabinet is completely stained, but I can not do any finishing work on it until it has dried for a minimum of 8 hours. Therefore, the shop is closed for the day. I can do no more work in there until the stain is cured out -- or dry; depending on if it's a pigment stain or a dye.

I guess I'll spend the afternoon mowing the lawn. Oh joy.

Till tomorrow!


Tuesday, August 22

Day 19 - Sewing Center

This morning I worked on Brenda's TV Trays, but this afternoon Marie gave me the go-ahead to begin staining Paula's sewing center. So that's what I've been doing. First I had to clean the shop again... been making saw dust. Then I had to take the cabinet all apart; remove all the hinges and latches and such. Next I spread protective covers over my work surfaces and began staining parts. I now have all my horizontal surfaces covered with pieces parts, waiting for the stain to dry enough to move them off so I can do another batch.

That Varathain stain does dry pretty quickly, so I expect that after supper I will be able to get the rest of the loose parts done. Then I'll get after the carcass tomorrow.

So, I'm gonna grab a bite to eat and get back at it. See you tomorrow!


Monday, August 21

Payment Pending

It's Monday and I'm waiting for a payment to clear before I can proceed with staining the sewing cabinet, so I did some more work on Brenda's TV Tray Table set today. I also took care of a little favor a neighbor asked me to do -- a threshold for the house they're remodeling. They said they can't find a wooden threshold anywhere -- just metal.


avast! Antivirus <> : Outbound message clean.

Virus Database (VPS): 0634-0, 08/21/2006 Tested on: 8/21/2006 8:15:55 PM avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2006 ALWIL Software.

Friday, August 18

Day 18 - Sewing Center

Today I began split shifting: I'd work on the sewing center for a while, sanding and filling the small chips and dings I found while sanding, then while the filler dried, I'd work on Brenda's Tray Table set. Today I was gluing up the strips that compose the tray panels.

Sand, fill, glue, clamp. Sand, fill, glue clamp. That was my day today.

Tomorrow is my turn to go hang out in the air conditioning at Treasures, so I'll check in again on Monday.


Wednesday, August 16

Day 17 -- Sewing Center

A red letter day today; we finished the construction of Paula's sewing cabinet.

Today I completed the installation of the top by installing the fancy sewing machine hinges and fastening on the two fold out leaves. That finishes up the construction stage.

Just as I completed this, Brian came over to buy some cherry from my stash. He's making a cradle for his new grandchild. I haven't seen Brian for a while so we had some catching up to do. Then I had to go send Paula a notice that we'd completed this step and ask for a payment.

This evening I cleaned up the shop and put away all the tools except the screwdriver I'll need to remove the hinges and latches so I can stain the cabinet.

Tomorrow morning we have a TV crew coming to Treasures to film a segment for a PBS program. As President of the corporation (Treasures not PBS) my presence has been requested.

Afterward I'll begin the finish sanding. Mostly done by hand, this is tedious work, but any good finish is based on the surface prep of the wood beneath it.

See you tomorrow,


Tuesday, August 15

Day 16 - Sewing Center

Today we finished up the two plates for two layers of the top, and machined the lower top to completion.

My new trick worked out pretty well. The large, bulky planks were a tough wrestle, but it all worked out just fine.

See you tomorrow.


Teaching an Old Doug New Tricks

Monday's mail brought a new router bit that I had ordered for use on this project. It is a glue joint bit.

It's something I've been reading about in the magazines, and they say it's the best thing since sliced bread. The way it works is that it routes an interlocking tooth pattern on the edge of the boards to be joined together into a wide panel. Thus they are self-aligning, and the glue surface in the joint is about doubled from a jointed butt joint. It's supposed to be quicker, simpler and stronger than dowel pinning a glued-up panel.

It came with no instructions, but real men don't read instructions anyway. We just intuitively 'know' these things. (OK, OK, when I read about them in the magazines, they explained the concept).

I spent the afternoon teaching myself the ins and outs of using this bit. It's pretty slick but there are some things to be wary of, especially on long boards.

A full explanation of the process will be covered in the Journal for Day 16.

Thanks for dropping by!


Thursday, August 10

Day 15 - Sewing Center

This was an odd day.

The classic oak knobs for Paula's cabinet finally arrived -- been on back-order for two months -- so I went ahead and installed them and the brass catches that hold the doors closed.

I also got started on the top parts. A special glue joint bit I ordered is still not here. The supplier says it shipped today (yeah, right: you guys LOST the order didn't ya!) and it should be here Monday or Tuesday.

I made the jig that is used to position the sewing machine hinges for the flip out leaves. This thing serves not only to position them accurately, but to guide my router as I cut out the pockets that the hinges recess into. Since the ends of the hinges are semi-circles, this is not something I can do very well with a chisel.

However, since I will be building another of the cabinets in walnut for Dan in a few weeks (and probably one for Marie next year) the building of this jig was done on my own time; this jig will become part of my permanent stash, so I took the time to do it up pretty and five it a finish. I don't bother with this on single use jigs, they just go in the burn box to heat the shop in the winter.

We've got a major electrical storm moving in right now, so I need to shut down and unplug the computers. I won't be able to get the Journal posted tonight, but I'll get on that first thing in the morning.

Tomorrow is my day to be shopkeeper at Treasures, so I will be away all day.

See you Monday!


Wednesday, August 9

Day 14 - Sewing Center

I got a lot done today, although it may not look like it from the pictures, there was a lot of fitting and fussing going on.

I started by finishing up the feet and installing them, then I prepared the doors for mounting, cut the hinges and installed the works.

This completes the case construction. I'll install the knobs and latches later.

Tomorrow I'll get started on making the top. 14.php



avast! Antivirus <> : Outbound message clean.

Virus Database (VPS): 0632-1, 08/09/2006 Tested on: 8/9/2006 7:36:45 PM avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2006 ALWIL Software.

Tuesday, August 8

Day13 - Sewing Center

It was a muggy day today. Quite uncomfortable, but perfect for checking to see if the drawers will stick in humid weather. Some did, now they don't.

I got all the drawers assembled (with glue this time) and fine tuned, then I built the feet. I'll do the final shaping tomorrow after the glue hardens up.

It's getting late and I'm tired so I'll do the pictorial journal tomorrow.



avast! Antivirus <> : Outbound message clean.

Virus Database (VPS): 0632-0, 08/08/2006 Tested on: 8/8/2006 9:06:02 PM avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2006 ALWIL Software.

Monday, August 7

Day 12 - Sewing Center

I have just a few minutes left on my lunch break, so I'll get today's adventure started.

I had to take a few minutes first this morning to pack up two paintings that were sold through Treasures Of Appalachia this weekend. No, neither of us paints, these were Allan Barbour's work, but we're the only member artists with a UPS account and taking them to a shipping store involves hefty mark-ups. So Marie and I do all the shipping for TOA to save TOA customers those added fees.

Then I got started trimming the drawer box lumber to finished size. But before I started trimming, I double checked to be sure all the roughed-out blanks were the right size and in the right quantity. There were several parts that were to be cut from larger pieces, and it's always a good idea to check these things before you go cutting up a nice wide board. I got all the height-wise trimming done before lunch, will get to the length-wise trimming when I start back.

... And it's time to get back out there.

It wasn't so hot today, so I figured TVA could spare a kilowatt or so to let me work through the afternoon. I got all the drawer boxes made, temporarily assembled (using masking tape) and test fitted to their slots. They all fit pretty well. I'll do a small amount of tweaking on them with a sanding block later this evening and they'll be perfect. Then they'll be ready to assemble permanently with glue and screws. 12.php

See you tomorrow,



avast! Antivirus <> : Outbound message clean.

Virus Database (VPS): 0631-3, 08/04/2006 Tested on: 8/7/2006 5:28:23 PM avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2006 ALWIL Software.

Day 11 - Sewing Center

This was a Friday, often an odd day, sometimes a long day because I don't like to leave things half-done over the weekend. But the power usage constraints that we've been asked to comply with forced me to close up early -- intending to get back to finish up after supper. But Marie had other plans for our evening, so I didn't get the drawer box lumber planed all the way to finished thickness. I'll need that lumber first thing Monday morning, we were away all day on Saturday, so I took a couple of hours Sunday afternoon to finish that step. Normally this is forbidden, but under these circumstances...

So, "today" I installed the large drawer guides and permanently assembled the larger pedestal.

Then I took a little time to put away the tools and clean up the shop before roughing out the poplar lumber for drawer boxes and planning it to 1/2" thickness.

Two of the drawers are almost 10" deep, requiring w-i-d-e boards, so surface planning them was a slow process; take too much off in a pass and the wide shavings choke the planer's dust collection hood. But, I got it done.

Now we're ready for Monday.

We are coming up on a step that is difficult to do by remote... fitting the opening in the cabinet top to the machine to be used in it. In the past, the lift used in these cabinets had two positions: 'up' and 'down'. In the UP position, the shelf the machine rides on comes up to seal the opening in the cabinet top, regardless of it's size. Then we found a professional version that offers a mid-way position -- they call it the "free-arm" position, but I believe that to be a misnomer. This would be the typical working height when using the sewing machine in normal mode. To use the free arm (if your machine has one) you'd want to raise it to the full height.

When Marie was a professional seamstress, they had commercial sewing cabinets that were designed to accommodate most any standard sewing machine. The biggest aggravation she had with them was that the large gap left around the machine (being a generic cabinet) allowed her rulers, scissors, and what have you to fall through. It would have been nice to have the opening more precisely fitted to each machine to reduce the time spent retrieving her tools.

So that's what I've been discussing with Paula. She has measured the case on her machine as 14.5" by 6.125". I would like to keep the opening as snug as possible; maybe 1/4" gap all around, but worry that if the machine should shift at all, it may get clunked by the cabinet top as it rises into working position.

With a narrow gap, there is no room for cleats around the base of the machine, so perhaps I could route out a pocket in the lift shelf -- 1/4" deep or so -- that would serve to hold the machine in position. But then a non-skid pad may be all that is required, and would be less laborious.

Still pondering that one. I have a little time to do so because I must first get the drawers built and the doors mounted. And make and mount the feet. But I like to know where I'm going before I get there.

Thanks for looking in. See you again Monday.



avast! Antivirus <> : Outbound message clean.

Virus Database (VPS): 0631-3, 08/04/2006 Tested on: 8/7/2006 6:21:42 AM avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2006 ALWIL Software.

Thursday, August 3

Day 10 - Sewing Center

I�m happy to report that the bee stings are all healed up, that Benadryl is amazing stuff!

Yesterday I spent the morning getting my monthly invoices out, preparing for the month-end bookwork, and catching up with the back-log of communications. I spent the afternoon milling drawer fronts and installing the lift mechanism.

Today I will complete the drawer fronts and mill out the poplar lumber needed to make drawer boxes, and mill out the drawer slide parts.

Due to the record high demand for electricity and low water levels, the TVA is asking businesses to reduce consumption (or close) between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm when demand is at its peak or face rotating black-outs. I'll do my part, but I suspect that the real problem is all those folks who insist on keeping their home at 68� even while they're at work. But that's just me.



avast! Antivirus <> : Outbound message clean.

Virus Database (VPS): 0631-2, 08/02/2006 Tested on: 8/3/2006 7:52:20 AM avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2006 ALWIL Software.

Tuesday, August 1

Day 9 -- Sewing Center

It's getting late so this will be brief. Yesterday (Monday) was a disaster. Full details are available in the Doug-Bob blog ( so I won't re print it all here. Let's just say it involves 2 power black-outs, a recalcitrant tractor and a nest of yellow jackets.

Today went much better. I got the four filler panels and surger shelf made, trimmed and temporarily installed: just screws, no glue. Because of the waiting for glue to dry thing, it made for a very long day -- much of it non-billable hours. Bad for me, good for Paula!

I'll post the journal entry on all this in the morning. Right now everyone is waiting for me to turn off the lights so they can go to sleep. That's life in a one room cabin!

Till tomorrow, Doug


avast! Antivirus <> : Outbound message clean.

Virus Database (VPS): 0631-0, 07/31/2006 Tested on: 8/1/2006 10:09:11 PM avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2006 ALWIL Software.