Painting the Cabinet Doors

Figure 1 :  Thinning the paint

So, I didn’t really know much about finishing cabinet doors with paint when I started this project. Sand it once, slap on a coat, and call it done – right? Yeah – I think I’ve upgraded my skills somewhat with the first run of four doors that I’m finishing for the lower cabinets.

I figured out what is the most important tool to have in your arsenal in order to get a good finish on painted wood.  Is it the sand paper?  Is it the router bit or the saw …

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Novice Wood-Ruiner Studies the Door Build

Figure 1:  A Door in the clamps (Big iron Besse ones!)

So … the doors are going together – but I’m doing the bottom ones first (using the birch panel inserts instead of the glass inserts that will go into the top cabinet panels).  Before I could get to the glue-up shown in figure 1, I ran the frame parts over the table saw (to cut them to length and to put the panel dado grooves into the edges of them), and then I ran the frame parts over the router (to put the biscuit mortises (grooves) into the ends of them.  I had previously used the router to put an ogee style inner profile on all of the frame parts.

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Glass Case Project – Magic Router Bits

Figure 1:  Roman Ogee router bit makes a good profile on the door frame

So, for a novice wood ruiner, my books tell me I’ve made some correct guesses about how to build doors.  The selection of the Roman Ogee router bit to make my own door frame stock was a good idea.  It halves the cost of the frames, and I can say it’s unique to the project (because the depth-of-cut personalizes the profile a little bit (many slightly different profiles possible).

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The Glass-case Wall Project

Figure 1: The big iron Besse clamps are indispensable it seems to me

This page starts the next project, which is the build-out of the north dining room wall with glass-case (and other) cabinetry.  The purpose of the cases is to display a significant collection of antique Tiffin glass (circa 1870 – 1925).  It’s quite beautiful, so needs cabinetry to match.  This may be a tall order for a novice woodruiner, but I’m gonna give it a fly.

Note in figure 1 the huge Besse clamps.  One thing I did pick up from the local woodworker’s gathering spot – and that’s the importance of the clamps.  My first shell glue-up has proven that to me.

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The Closet Project

Figure 1:  The original closet was pretty boring and dark.

So, one of the first projects I used as a test vehicle for the newly built homemade router was the “closet project.”  You can see that the original closet was pretty plain and dark.  The carpet had seen better days, and was a dust magnet.  So, we designed into the new closet a new look with the new wood floor and the shelves and the hi/lo clothes rods (to hang more clothes).  The result is in figure 2:

Figure 2 : The “after” photo for the closet project.  Much less boring.

The middle picture seems caddywumpus, but that is mostly an optical illusion.  The new homemade router was used mostly to smooth some of the trim pieces, which had been rough-cut with a circular hand saw.  I had not yet received the Delta table saw, so the hand saw put some woodworking bloopers into a few places (not going to say what they are LOL).

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My Little Table Saw

Step 1:  Speedread woodworking book to become instant woodwork guru.

The term small means different things to different people.  But, in this case, it means I’m saying something with – as they say – my tongue in my cheek.   Recently, I decided that the skill saw in my possession (as nice as it is) – was not up to the approaching cabinet project that I find on the honey-do list.

I looked at saws, and found that most were of the 1 inch tube fold-up frame variety.  This seemed to be a little less “solid” than what I told myself would be the ideal firmness for a table saw.  So, I went a little overboard in the opposite way of thinking – and purchased a contractor saw made by Delta Power Equipment company.  Cost-wise, it was only a little more than the fold-up jobs, which was surprising.

Step 2: Morning of delivery – early coffee – watching frosted window.

The particular Delta model I purchased was quite heavy, so I let the truck deliver it to my temporary assembly site / work area.

Step 3:  Clean a spot for the saw to land on.

So, I cleaned a spot on the floor, and waited for the magic hour.  It was an early afternoon delivery, which I would find to be fortuitous.

Step 4:  Jump for excitement after the delivery is made.  Whew -hoo!

Every retirement-aged boy needs to do this when the new table saw arrives.  It’s normal.

Step 5:  Gulp when I notice weight printed on the side of the box.

I did say it was heavy.  But, fortunately, it was packed very well, and all the pieces and parts were securely tucked inside of the box.  I pulled some small parts out of the box, and then removed the topside styrofoam packing piece.

Step 6: Start the unpacking

Below the topside packing foam I found an assortment of things, including the large tubular frame in two sections, the deck top and motor housing, the T-Square, the side rails, handles, wheels, blade guard parts and pieces, and other things.  The tubular steel of the base frame is all of two and a half inches wide, if not more.

Step 7: Read the assembly instructions

I found a “quick assembly” guide in the box.  Those are always a treat to find, and my main go-to assembly procedure.  I guess quick is a relative term.   Between reading the guide, adjusting my video camera for the unboxing video, and being generally non-speedy about the whole affair, i managed to steal about five hours from old man time in order to have the finished result, shown in Step 8.

Probably, I could do the assembly in two or three hours the next time, but I’m not thinking that’ll ever be necessary.  The spin-crank on the blade height and tilt controls works nice and smoothly:

Step 8:  Finished saw is awesome!

I was impressed by the solid feel of the rubber wheels, and the saw moves around quite well on them.  Of course there is a lock-down that stabilizes the table for actual usage.  Everything lined up well, there were no bent pieces, and the supplied setup feeler gauges said my installation was up-to-snuff.

The table has a nice solid feel to it, and trying the shake it doesn’t faze it much.  I think this was the best choice for me, but time will tell.  Day two will have the first cuts, so stay tuned !

The Eighty Five dollar Router Table

Figure 1The author’s $85 router table (not quite finished in photo).

So, router tables are pretty pricey, if you’re looking for a good one.  They’re upwards of $500-600 for a good one that is of the steel frame and legs variety.  So, I spent a few spare weekends digging around in places like Habitat for Humanity’s Restore outlets and other such places like that.  I found a discarded motor stand for $15.  These are often used to hold grinding wheel motors.

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