Seems like a life’s work

I have not added any posts for over a year now mainly because I have felt like there has not been much to talk about.

But that is not really true. For that amount of time I have been working on one project – a bookcase for my daughter. It is something she saw in a store, for quite a bit of money, and asked if I thought I could make her one like it and I lovingly said ‘sure’.

Well that was, in hindsight, not the right answer. This bookcase is large, okay bulky. It is just under six feet tall and a little less than four feet in width, but is made of inch and a half stock and is almost sixteen inches deep; by my calculations it weighs over 200 hundred pounds.

None of the shelves go all the way across the width, so all of the joinery has to be precise otherwise the shelves will not end up level. And that is where a lot of the “rub” has come on the project – figuring out how to get all the joinery in line at each shelf location.

More experienced woodworkers would have been able to do this easier than me, but there is just me so it took awhile to figure out how to do that. Two jigs later, one I had to design and make, and it has come out well.

But this project has fought me at every step. I ordered rough stock, to save money, and after thicknessing I ripped the pieces to width (since I could not order stock wide enough I had to edge glues pieces). Somehow the rip fence on my tablesaw managed to move over a little on each cut (unbeknowst to me) so all of the pieces were tapered. Unfortunately I did not discover this until I had edge glued everything.

Since there was now a “centerline” (the glue line) I could not just rip them again on my tablesaw. I measured from that “centerline” out to each side, so I would end up with the correct width, made a guide for my circular saw and re-ripped the now completed pieces.

I left about 1/16″ extra width on each side and ran them across my jointer (some pieces weighed about 30 pounds and were six feet long rough length) to remove the saw marks.

After eventually getting all the joinery cut, a few “you gotta be kidding me” moments, a lot of sanding (random orbit and hand) I am finally at a point, almost, to begin the finishing process (I can’t wait for more sanding after raising the grain).

The stain is a very dark brown so that should hide any of my “sins” I missed. And hopefully in another month I can actually work on other things.

It has been very frustrating at times, but I have learned quite a bit that I can use on future projects.

So you won’t feel too sorry for me, I have taken minor breaks from time to time for some quickies; replace some fluted trim pieces on my house and make a storage piece for my wife.

I belong to a woodturning club and for the latest break I turned a small bowl at a recent mini-retreat we had. It was the first bowl I have ever turned and I took the time to finish it for my wife. And for my first ever bowl it came out pretty well.

But now it is back to the bookcase. I know it will be finished, it just does not feel like it.

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