Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Covid 19 week 14 - finishing the case

I started the weekend off strong. Friday afternoon I called my local woodworking store and ordered a 40" metal ruler and I called my glass guy to order glass for the door. Unfortunately my glass guy didn't have any textured glass that was suitable for my project and my local woodworking store didn't have any mineral spirits. So, when I was out doing my running around doing my best to stay away from people I ducked into my local Home Depot and picked up a piece of plexi-glass and a gallon of mineral spirits. I didn't want a gallon but that's all they had.

Friday evening I jointed and planed the boards for the shelves and planed the toe kick down to about 3/4 inch thick. Then I glued up the shelves.

With the prep work from Friday night I was able to use my new ruler to trace out an arc on the toe kick and cut it to shape on my band saw. I went real slow and cut very close to the line. Then sanding...  I cleaned up the curve on my oscillating spindle sander, then I used the off-cut and some 150 grit sandpaper to fair the curve.

I then broke out my random orbit sander and cleaned up the faces of the toe kick and the shelves. It was a lot of sanding but frankly the Sapele cleans up a lot faster than the white oak of my previous projects so it wasn't that bad. I did have to use some 60 grit sandpaper on one of the two shelves but it still went pretty quickly.

To finish up the day I glued the toe kick to the bottom of the case.

Sunday morning was our weekly puppy play date. Jackson from across the street and Yogi from around the corner came over and more or less sat in the shade together with my pooch for a couple of hours. There was some light playing but it was really too hot for the dogs to do much more than some half-hearted stick chewing.

Sunday afternoon was final sanding of all the edges and basically getting the parts ready for finish. I rescued my saw ponies from my finishing room that my wife is using as an office during this pandemic and set them up in the garage. I started cleaning up the pieces with shop towels and the mineral spirits I'd bought on Friday. It was miserably hot in the garage. I was just able to bear it but the biggest issue I had was the sweat dripping on the work pieces as I was trying to clean them off. I did my best and only got a couple of drips on everything. I hoped for the best.

"The best" was not what I got. After the mineral spirits evaporated I found that I had a number of blotches in various parts of the project. I had been wearing gloves but apparently they left marks on the projects. I waited overnight to see if perhaps it was just the mineral spirits taking a long time to evaporate but alas, Monday morning the blotches were still there. I grabbed some 180 grit sandpaper and went to town. It was pretty warm but again I managed to keep my drips of sweat off the project. After sanding out the blotches I again ran a shop towel with mineral spirits over everything to clean the dust off.

After work Monday afternoon I went out to check on how everything looked and while the blotches were really gone it looked like all the wiping down had done was smear the dust all over the project. It was extra apparent on the side panels I'd already finished. So, it was time for more shop towels and mineral spirits. This time with nitrile gloves instead of synthetic vinyl. I'm kind of thinking that perhaps the mineral spirits degraded the synthetic vinyl and is what caused the blotching. Moral of this story is to not be lazy and walk up the extra flight of stairs to get the appropriate kind of gloves for the project at hand.

Anyhow I digress...  This time - with nitrile gloves - I made sure to refresh and replace my paper shop towel frequently and kept wiping down the surfaces until I was picking up very little residue. It took a while and was hard on my feeble wrists but I think the project is actually ready for finish.

Then today (Tuesday) while looking at the project I remembered that I was going to add a magnet to the door which required me adding a block of wood to mount the magnet in. My original plan was to use a door catch from Lee Valley. Specifically one of these spring catches. The problem was that the springs are actually pretty strong and I just needed a little bit of force to keep the door closed, not a lot. A tiny magnet would work just fine.

Then this afternoon I was looking at the catch I realized that I could reduce the amount of force needed to separate the spring catches by using a pair of pliers to pinch the sides of the triangle together (sorry, no pictures today - you'll just have to look at the picture in the link above and use your imagination.) It seemed to work so I'm going to use the catch rather than wedge a block and a magnet into place. Yay, back to being ready to put finish on.

But, no finish today. It's been hot and humid today so I didn't want to risk the finish curing weirdly. At least the rain will be good for my yard. It's been getting pretty dry. Hopefully we'll have some nice weather later this week and I can start putting my finish on. I'm still a couple of weeks away from finishing this project but the end is in sight.