Friday, November 11, 2005

The Final Cut

Mission Accomplished on the fancy doors. Well, “Mission Accomplished” implies that the job is completely finished, but obviously that is not the case. So perhaps I shouldn’t use that term. Using that term would indicate a lack of foresight on my part, or on anyone else’s part that chooses to use that term before the job is really finished. That would be pretty stupid. I’ll just say the doors are cut, and in spite of a major problem that I didn’t anticipate, they came out pretty good. Let’s go through it step-by-step in case anyone else wants to try this.

As you may recall from yesterday’s post, I went with Style #1. I started by drawing the outline of the design on the door. Pretty straight forward. You just line up the template with two sides and trace the outline with a pencil. You do this for two reasons. First, you will use it as a reference for the jig saw, but also in case the router does not cut the corners properly you will have a reference mark so you can finish up by hand.

Lined Up With 2 Sides

Next get out the trusty jig saw and cut most of the design out. Leave a ¼-inch or so of wood outside the line. This will be taken off with the router. It is important here to break your last jig saw blade when you are half way through the cut. This gives you time to reflect on your work as you drive to the hardware store.

Jig Saw Phase Complete

After the jig saw phase of the operation is complete you clamp the template under the work piece, lining it up with 2 sides just as you did when you traced the outline. Make sure the clamps are far enough away from the edge to make room for the router. Also clamp everything to the work table. You don't have to use an 1890s Eastlake door as a work table, but it helps. Then run the router left to right along the work piece. The ball bearing of the flush cut bit will ride along the template and remove the last ¼-inch of wood.

Notice How Low The Bearing Is
This Caused Major Problems

I didn’t notice it but a small piece of the plywood was missing on the underside of the template. I must have knocked it off when I was sanding or filing. It was a small piece of the outer ply of wood. Most of the wood was there and the template had a smooth edge except for this one small piece on the underside that I didn’t notice.

Because I had the bearing so far down on the template, when it got that point the bearing fell in to the missing ply of wood. Sort of like hitting a pot hole. What this means is that I gouged in to the work piece. The router follows where ever the bearing goes. When it went in the hole the router followed. Very much a drag.

Semi-Circle Gouge (Sniff)

I was really, really bummed when this happened. Fortunately it only went in about a ¼-inch. I went and got the piece of paper that had drawn the original design on and retraced the design on to the template a ¼-inch higher and re-cut the design. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it did kind of suck.

I then had to retrace the design on the work piece, re-clamp the template to the work piece, and then re-cut everything. I was also fortunate that this happened on the first door. Had it been the second door I would have had to re-cut both of them.

After I did the first door I could use it as a template. This ensures that both cut-outs are identical.

The Almost Finished Project

And as Norm would say, “Now this piece is ready for the finishing room”. In my case, the finishing room is an upstairs bedroom. One coat of primer and 2 top-coats and I can re-hang the doors and put on the hardware. After that there is just one more little thing to do with the cabinets. I want to put a small shelf under the sink to keep things off the floor and make sure you can’t see them through the cut-out.

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