Tuesday, April 20

Case Assembly

I’ll start the day by trimming the parts blanks I made yesterday to finished length. To be sure the ends are square, I’ll cut a bit off each end, but where the two side pieces meet at the top I shave off just a little so the grain pattern is disturbed as little as possible, that way the grain will flow up up one side and down the other. I set up the chop saw to cut the 45 degree miters at the apex corners. To set the stop block I get it close, then schooch it in a hair at a time until the point of the miter is right at the edge of the board, don’t want to remove any length of the board. To make the 22-1/2 degree cuts I set up the table saw with the blade set at 67-1/2 degrees (90 degrees minus 22-1/2 degrees) mount the rip fence on the wrong side of the blade and attach my shop made tenoning jig to the fence backwards. Stand each board in the jig, make sure it’s sitting flat on the table saw top, clamp it in position and carefully make the cut. A little masking tape allows me to test fit the first case. If adjustments are needed, it’s best to figure that out before all the parts are cut. No adjustments were needed. Next I cut the little rabbet in the inside-back edge of each piece where the plywood back panel will sit. I do this by setting the blade ¼” high and set the fence so the OUTSIDE edge of the blade teeth are ¼” from the face of the saw. One pass with the board face down, flip it up on edge and run it again to complete the rabbet. I also cut a groove on each inside face that the glass will slide into. After sanding the inside faces, I’m ready to glue up the cases. I start by applying glue to the miters, being careful to stay back from the inside edges; glue squeeze-out in those tight corners would be a bear to clean up. Then I attach the three pieces of the case together with strips of masking tape… …set the assembly up on edge and wind it around into a triangle. Another strip of tape at the final corner holds it in shape while I clamp the corners together with – more masking tape! Yes, masking tape. If the joints are cut well, it doesn’t take much pressure to hold the joints together while the glue sets, so I apply some pressure with one hand, and stretch a piece of tape across the joint with the other. Do this on both edges of each joint and it’s done. I stack the completed cases and let the glue dry for a while. While I wait for the glue to set up a bit I mill out the small pieces needed for the feet and the filler strips that hold the glass in once installed. That doesn’t take nearly as long as the glue does, so I go find something else to fiddle with for a while.
Once the glue has tacked up, I set up the router table with a ¼” up-cut end mill bit and set the fence so the ¼” wide groove will be centered over the 1/8” groove cut from the inside of the case. This slot will house the filler strip that holds the glass securely in place. And that pretty much uses up this day. Tomorrow I’ll do some decorative routing and make the little bits. See you then!

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