Wednesday, August 8

Wednesday – Haid Scratchn’

Most of the morning was spent cleaning glass, installing shelves and taking pictures of the completed cabinet. I’m sure a professional – with a fancy studio – could do better, but these will suffice. There are more pictures [on the web site]
After removing and packing the shelves I cut and installed vibration dampers inside the cabinet, wedged between the front glass and the mirrors.

There is a reason we do not attempt to charge for the time spent building a crate; it would be WAY too expensive. Especially on a large, fragile piece like this. Even a coffee table or CD End Table will consume a full 10 hour day. Something like this curio will take a minimum of two days, especially if I’m working alone. This puppy is heavy!

There is a system that we use to build our crates that is consistent from one piece to another, but exactly how it works out will vary with the size and complexity of the piece being crated. This is not the largest piece I’ve ever crated; that would be the walnut Murphy bed we built – it’s crate was 6’ tall, 8’ long, almost two feet thick and weighed over 600 pounds, but this curio is the next largest, and far more fragile.

So I did some haid scratchn’ this morning (scratching stimulates brain wave don’t ya know) as I noodled out the math. Nothing on paper, just figuring it out as I go.

The first step is to affix enough Styrofoam padding to protect the case and the moldings. Because the crown molding sticks out quite a bit from the case body, several layers of foam are required on the side and front. The pads must be made to fit around the irregular shapes of the front moldings as well, and they all must be attached together without getting any sticky stuff on the case itself. This is not at all like tossing an item on a box, dropping in enough foam peanuts to fill the space and sealing up the box.

Laying the cabinet on it’s side rather than shipping it standing up will offer two advantages: one – it will be less likely to topple over when it’s being moved about, and two – it will allow a fork lift driver to see over it (a little) when he’s moving it about in the truck docks. I don’t want to ship it laying flat because bouncing in the truck would get the glass to flexing in the plane of the glass, which would almost certainly cause it to crack. By setting the large panels vertically, the up-down shocks of road travel will affect it less. And because a large flat crate will most certainly invite the loaders to set other things on top of it. That would be bad unless I built trusses inside the crate above the curio to support the weight. But even if I did this, we’d still have that “bouncing the glass” thing to worry about.

The ceiling in my assembly room is not quite high enough to be able to just tip an 80" tall cabinet over on its side. Even if it were, doing so would rip out all the Styrofoam at the lower corner as the cabinet rolled over and shoved the foam up and away. So I spun the cabinet around and laid it on its back – very gently. Don’t think that was easy either! I’ll be needing a long hot shower tonight to ease aching muscles. But at least it didn’t tear up the wrapping.

Next I built the base of the crate out of spruce 1x6’s and a hunk of plywood. The crates base is like the foundation of a home: if it is solid and supportive, the rest is much easier. But it also has to be sized just right. Too tight and it will tend to burst apart at the seams, too loose and the cabinet and its packaging will move about inside, wearing away the foam that is protecting it. Using levers and blocks I raised the bottom edge of the cabinet and slipped the crate base onto it. Then I joined a couple of band clamps and wrapped them around the perimeter to keep the cabinet pressed firmly against the base, so the base would roll with the cabinet and not just scoot out from under it, and stood the cabinet up.

I layered foam rubber between the glass shelves and bundled them with duct tape earlier today. That bundle went atop the cabinet with Styrofoam between it and the cabinet.

Believe it or not, that was a full days work. It’s pushing 9:30 PM as I write this; I started at my usual 8:30 this morning. So this is as far as I’m going to take it tonight.

See you tomorrow!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Appropriate comments are welcome. All comments are reviewed before being posted. Spam messages (anything not a direct discussion of this message) and all profanity will be deleted. Don't waste your time or mine by posting trash here.