Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TV Stand - The Detail Bits

For this post I'm going review the various stages of a woodworking project so I can give some perspective on where I am in my current project.
1) The Idea Phase - This is where I get a hair brained scheme to build something. Sometimes it's from a plan, sometimes a picture and sometimes just an idea in my head. I work through all the details of construction from start to finish. Many a project dies in this stage. Sometimes because it's too expensive but once in a while it's because I've worked through all the various stages of the build and by the time it's time to build I'm bored with the project and on to my next one.
2) Material Acquisition - Money, money, money. Every project has options. I can go with fancy wood, plywood, cheap wood or a combination. Figuring out what should be good wood and what can be secondary woods is all part of the process. This stage takes a few weeks as I have sources all over the lower mainland. I let the various materials acclimate to the shop in this stage as well.
3) Major Build - I try to dedicate a weekend for this. If I start too slow, the project stalls. In this stage, the project starts to take on it's final shape though many details remain.
4) The Detail Bits - This is where the project seems to stall. All the little details that make the final project what it is. Even a simple curve on a leg can take an entire evening. The most time is in this stage and to outsiders, the least amount of progress.
5) Finishing - This includes the final planing, sanding, staining and finishing. This too takes way more time than it looks. I try to do this in the evenings during the week so I don't waste a weekend that can could be spent starting on my next project.
6) Nitpicking and Admiration - This stage can last weeks which is why if the project is for someone else I want it out the door. It's a back and forth battle between pride of the finished product and noticing all the mistakes or shortcuts that were made. No project is ever perfect.
7) Reset - Return to step 1 and repeat.

For the next few weeks I'll be solidly in step 4) just making the jig for the legs, shaping the legs and finish scraping them took Friday and Saturday. Friday was a trip to Lee Valley to buy a bigger template bit followed by another trip to Lee Valley on Saturday to get the 8mm to 1/2" collet adapter which they didn't warn me I needed. Then it was time to create the template, rough cut the legs, shape them in multiple passes to accommodate the bit that wasn't quite tall enough and finally an evening of spoke shaving, scraping and sanding. Next step is assembly of the sides and then on to the doors.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

TV Stand - Introduction to Woodswag

Not a very exciting first picture for a new blog but it's an important step in my woodworking career. It's my first full size design. I've done several pieces on graph paper and even some simple designs on the computer but I've never bothered with a full size plan. This particular piece is going to be a TV stand for our new Christmas present from the family. With the move to flat screens, TV stands are more like credenzas and I've had some ideas in my head about what I would do for a while now. What better place to draw up the design then on the box it came in. (I'll blacken the lines and add a better picture later.)
I thought about doing this as a proper piece of furniture with traditional joinery but I figured it was more modern piece with a modern purpose and it would be a lot easier with plywood and simple joinery. (Also a lot faster.) It's going to be white oak and I'm planning on using a dye to colour it. To avoid getting dye on the baltic birch on the inside I decided to pre finish those pieces before construction. It's a lot easier when they're lying flat and should help keep a crisp edge between the white birch and the oak.
The top will be 18 inches of solid white oak. I've worked with this wood in small amounts in the past but never anything this big. The ray fleck on the quarter sawn wood should look amazing. 

We got the TV for Christmas but because my wife had mentioned that we might buy ourselves one, the family decided to let us know about it in advance. Still 24 days till christmas. If I can get in a few solid weekends I should have it completed before the end of the year. Still need the legs, doors, shelves and a finish.