My first commission … the never ending project ends

17 Oct

Hooray! After many weeks of toil I finally wrapped up my first commission.

It was a surprise to me how much I had underestimated the time it would take me to complete the project. I felt like I was treading in quicksand as each deadline passed. I hate missing deadlines. As much as I was looking forward to getting my first commission I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! As I found out, two hour sessions in the shop don’t allow for very much momentum and flow. So I’ve resolved that before taking on future commissions I’ll carefully assess how much time I’d need to complete the project, and the complexity or amount of procedures involved and then ensure that the timeline is loose enough that I can still have a life outside of woodworking (which I haven’t had much of these past weeks!). Above all I want to make sure that woodworking doesn’t become a stressful activity that I start to hate!

Without further ado here are is the wrap up of my first woodworking commission!

I last left off with the seven pullout surfaces completed and delivered. Next I moved on to  building drawers…

I started by re-sawing the stock I was given. I set up my shop made bandsaw fence to account for drift and was pleased with the results. BUT feed rate made all the difference, on the right I fed the stock too quickly and the blade wandered. I then began feeding the stock at a more moderate feed rate and the rest of the re-sawing came out like the example on the left. Luckily the wobbly cut pcs. still planed out all the bandsaw marks.

I then pre-milled the boards and let them sit a few days on stickers before milling them to final dimension.

I was pretty impressed with the cut quality of my planer. There were some that tore out no matter which direction they were fed, but others came out smooth as silk. Sapele has reversing grain all over the place- it sure isn’t predictable!

I had to laminate some boards and then I cut them all down to size for the drawers.

Next I cut the joints at the router table- rebates and grooves.

Here are some of the parts awaiting assembly.

I then assembled all the drawers…

Then I fitted all the drawer bottoms…

And then I sanded them, here are the final drawers.

Four drawers in total.

Next I worked on the remote control caddies:

I started by cutting out my parts.

I then glued the faux frame and panel together.

The clamps at work


I then rounded over the top inside edge of the sides, and added a rebate for the bottom at the router table.

I then ganged up each pair with the routered parts facing each other and cut the angle at the bandsaw and smoothed that out at the edge sander …

… which I just bought myself as a birthday gift! Let me count the ways I love thee ridgid edge sander / spindle sander! I’ve already used it so much that I don’t doubt it was an excellent buy.

Next I realised I had read the plans wrong and the faux frame and panel was a bit too short! I hemmed and hawed a bit then decided to add a wood lip on the top edge to lengthen the panel. I edgebanded right over the endgrain on this late addition. It turned out to be a seamless fix that I quite like.

And the final assembly! The sheet stock off cuts in the middle are just spacer blocks.

Here they are completed. You can see here how the edge banding covers the endgrain of the top trim. The center of the panel will recieve moulding and the caddy will be mounted against a panel of the built-in which is why it doesn’t require a back.

And finally I worked on the wine glass racks:

Onwards I went with the wine glass racks. I cut out the parts and edge banded all of the parts first.

Here’s my set up for filing the edge banding flush.

Three sides on 7pieces and all four sides on 7 other pieces. That’s a lot of edge banding.

I drilled mounting holes in the backs.

I used two large push blocks when routing the profiles and that kept me safe and the profile consistent.

I decided to rip the molding off of the board each time so that I could work with a larger more stable board at the router table.

I sanded these moldings a little before moving on to the next step.

I cut all my moldings to size at the mitre saw.

I used tape to clamp the glue-ups, but I’d love to get some mitre spring clamps.

I pre-drilled holes and then screwed on the backs to the bottoms

Which gave me this. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that I sanded all the parts just before assembly.

Then I cut spacers and sighted the middle of the molding, then secured each end with one screw.

Which gave me this.

Here they are in all their glory. The racks will be fastened to the insides of the built-in’s cabinet doors, and then wine glasses will be stored in these racks.

I delivered each batch as it was completed and the final batch was just delivered to Tim on Monday. He still has to coat them with finish and have the components installed in the built in. The last batch I was the least proud of- some of my mitres were fugly- but I will now take the time to adjust my miter saw and even build a 45degree shooting board so that I can quickly fine tune miters. A mitre jig for the table saw and a hold down jig for the mitre saw might also materialize. I’ll probably also get some clamps in the near future- I seem to have  awkwardly long/heavy clamps and none suited to smaller and/or finicky glue-ups.

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