Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Last Of It

Well, Heter Brothers it ain’t, but I’m hoping the tour-de-force use of curly and burl redwood will detract from my obvious lack of fine cabinet building skills. Yes, it looks fine, but lets face it, people normally go through apprenticeships and train for years to be fine cabinet builders. I didn’t have that luxury, so it is was it is. What it is, is a very passable substitute for original 1895 cabinets in the dining room.

Here is the trim stock for the middle section after being run through the router, sanded, and oiled.

Most of this came out of that big chunk of wood I wrote about yesterday. It is interesting that the whole cabinet is being made of redwood, yet with the variations in the wood you might think there were different species of wood used. This last batch of redwood has some of the pretties grain. Some of it kind of reminds me of tortoise shell.

As I wrote before, the wood is difficult to work with. This batch had the added difficulty of being in such a large and unwieldy shape, but the curly redwood in general has its own idiosyncrasies that present challenges.

Because the grain undulates through the wood, all of the dark areas are like end-grain and the light areas and like straight grain. Even with brand new router bits and planer blades there is a lot of sanding to do with the “end-grain” areas. Straight-grained redwood mills up so nicely that it usually comes out of the machine needing little more than light sanding. Not so with this stuff.

I may not have enough of this curly trim to do the whole thing, so I ran a few pieces of regular redwood just in case. You can see them in the last picture. I’ll start at the bottom and more visible areas and work my way up. The non-curly stuff should end up in areas that will only be seen when you’re on you knees.

Hmmm, come to think of it, that happens a lot in this house. I'm on my knees a lot lately whimpering about how I will never finish this house. I may need more curly redwood.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Trim Stock

Once upon I time I bought a big, gnarly chunk of redwood burl. It turned out to be a very difficult thing to work with. In the end I was forced to cut it in to very small pieces in order to work with it. Over the past few days I’ve taken those small pieces and made them even smaller.

What I’ve ended up with is roughly 60 uniformly sized pieces of curly redwood which I’ll use to trim out the middle section of the cabinet.

Below is what I started with….
{The top slab in the back became the drawer fronts and the bottom two became the face-frames for the cabients}

It was really a difficult thing to work with. I still have some of it left in tact, but most of it ended up looking like this….

Now today I turned most of that in to this - 1.25 X 7/8ths….

There is still some of the cut up stuff left over….

Eventually the uniform pieces will be used to trim out the middle section like this…

Tomorrow I’ll run the uniform pieces through the router. Once the marble is in I can trim out the middle section. No word on when the marble is going to come in.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Seventeen Down

These last four doors are the best yet. It is nice to see that I can improve with practice. They all fit the openings well. The hinges are mortised in perfectly. They were a lot of work to make, but for the most part there were no real problems.

There is just one more door to make. It will be for that small, center opening in the middle part of the cabinet. You can see the opening in the picture above, and to the left of the opening you can see the curly redwood board that I’m going to use to make the panel for it.

Before I can do that though, I need to install the marble counter and trim out the middle part. The trim will define the jamb and casing for the door, so that needs to go up first. I’m going to order the marble on Monday and there’s no telling how long that will take.

There is still plenty to keep me busy. I need glass for the upper doors. I need to build brackets and shelves for the upper cabinets. I need to mill all of the curly redwood for the trim on the middle section. There are going to be a lot of small pieces of trim for that area and they are all in odd shapes and sizes. Finally, I need to make a baseboard for the bottom. Even if I don’t get the marble for a month, I think I have enough to keep me busy.

The bast part is, I have a punch-list and the end is in sight.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Slouching Towards Completion

I’m a little more than half way through 4 of the last 5 doors. I’m working on the 4 small doors on the bottom of the dinging room side of the cabinets. I now wished I had done these bottom 4 before I did the 4 uppers. These went pretty smooth with the jig to mortise the hinges, when compared to the uppers.

In this picture the doors are just sitting in the openings. The mortise and tenon joints are just dry fit. The hinges are mortised in but they aren’t screwed in to place. This is just to make sure everything fits. The next step will be to add a decorative bevel to the inside-front of the door and to mill a dado to accept the panel.

These doors will be solid wood, raised panels. This presented a bit of a problem and a missed opportunity. The panels need to be 12.5 inches wide by 14.5 inches high. I found some beautiful wood at Almquist Lumber that was almost perfect - almost.

Apparently there are some guys in Korbel, CA that are going up in to the mountains and salvaging old-growth redwood logs that were felled 100 years ago but never taken to the mill. For what ever reason – the logs were too big or not deemed good enough – there were left there. So now Almquist has a great selection of rough-cut, full-dimensional old-growth redwood. There is every size from 1X4 up to 1X12. They also have 5/4ths thick lumber, which is great for making the cabinet doors, since I milled all of the curly redwood to 7/8ths for the face-frames.

The problem is, the largest width is 12 inches and I need a minimum of 12.5 inches. It is not something I could fake, so I had to get some 1X8 and glue up two boards. Those are out in the garage in clamps right now.

The good news is, I should get these four doors finished by this weekend. Then there will be just the one center door left. Whew! If it weren’t for the fact that I need to write a fat check to the Government in 10 days I could order the marble, but that will need to wait. There is plenty to do still, so I don’t think the project will sit idle for lack of marble.