This weekend I took a break from commenting, to actually get into the garage and do some woodworking. I started Saturday morning with just a bunch of boards, but now I have a few pieces assembled that are starting to look like more than a random pile of wood.
The plans for this crib call for a ton of dowels (something I’m starting to lament). Given the first few holes I drilled, I knew I was going to need some help making the reciprocating holes in the second pieces of wood. Since there is a Sears Hardware right across the street, I headed there first in search of help. I wasn’t able to find any dowels centers, so I decided to drop a couple of bucks on these:
That’s a pair of 3/32 inch drill bits, with 1/4 inch chucks. Since I’m using 1/4 inch dowels, I figured I could slip these guys into the holes I drilled, marking the second piece with the bit tips. It sounded like a good plan, until I tried to actually fit the bits into the holes. Things were a little snug, to say the least – I wasn’t willing to force them in. So this learning experience brought about a trip to my local Woodcraft store. Since this was my first trip to a Woodcraft (or any woodworking-specific store), I made a little list of things I wanted to peruse and likely buy. Atop that list was a set of dowel center pins:
The set came with four pairs of varying sized pins. Luckily for my project, there are a pair that fit into 1/4 inch holes as well as a pair that fit onto 1/4 inch dowels, allowing me to mark two sets of wholes at once. I picked up a handheld countersink bit (something I’ve wanted to get for a while) and a set of cabinet scrapers, from E. Garlick & Sons:
I’ve done quite a bit of sanding for this project so far (the crib rails), so I’ve been willing to try anything that would ease the amount of time I spend with grit in my hands. These cabinet scrapers certainly fit the bill. Right off the bat, I put them to use smoothing the outside of the butt-jointed legs of the crib. Not only did it remove the slight lip caused by my less-than-perfect clamping, but the scraping left an amazingly smooth surface behind – a bonus I really had to experiece to believe! And, oh those wispy, sexy shavings:
Now armed with smooth boards and the proper marking devices, I began to assemble the pieces that will form the base of the crib. The first part I worked on was the back of the base. It consistes of two horizontal board, doweled to a pair of legs, framing a sheet of plywood to cover the back. The front is a matching frame, but without the plywood sheet – there are drawers planned for that space. Here’s a view from what will be the inside of the piece:
And a picture of the front frame:
Given I’m assembling the first parts, I’ve offered myself the first opportunity to make a large mistake – which turned out to be an offer I couldn’t refuse*. Any one notice how there are about two inches of space on the front frame between the bottom of the legs and the bottom of the frame? That same lift is supposed to be on the back piece as well, but I was in too big of a hurry when I started assembling. Like I say – Measuring twice doesn’t help if you only think once.
As things stand right now, I’m willing to live with the aesthetic mismatch of the piece as it stands – especially since that part will be against a wall. Aesthetics aside, I had to deal with the fact that the piece of plywood covering that hole had to be arrange just so in order to fill the gap. If you look at things just right, you can see the slivers of light that make the gaps:
If I had made the frame properly, there would be about one inch above and below the frame to ease attaching the plywood. As it is I have only adhered the sheet at the ends. I figure that I need to do some kind of sealing along those “gaps,” as well as putting in some angle brackets along the length of the plywood, to further secure the piece. If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix this problem (besides reworking the whole piece), I’m all ears – please leave a comment.
The sides of the frame were a little easier to assemble, being two frames of oak secured to a piece of plywood:
Each of the oak pieces will be drilled for dowels and attached to the legs (that are already part of the front & back assemblies). On top of this will sit the massive 66″x33″ piece of 1/2 inch birch plywood. Of course, that is all predicated on me clearing out enough floor space in the garage to actually assemble this. That will likely prove more difficult than the slip-ups I’ve encountered so far. I guess I better get to cleaning…
*No horses were harmed in the typing of this blog post.