[Rocket Bookcase] Liftoff!!

Once the paint dried, there was not much left but to install the drawer-shelf (with a piano hinge):


Here it is closed:


And then glue and attach the main hatch (I put 2 screws up from the inside to hold the hinge as well) and here she is:


Then the final step was carrying it upstairs and installing an anti-tip kit and one screw through the back into a stud (just to be extra safe as this thing is really tall lol):


And the critics love it!


I think my daughter likes it just as much as my son, but she just woke up from a power nap so she’s easily impressed…


What an adventure this project turned out to be.  It was delayed for about 4 months by the “Polar Vortex”, but in the end, everything worked out.

And the moon nightlight on the wall above it is the perfect accessory!  Now my little astronaut has a place to store some books and toys.  Thanks for following along!

This project officially started on August 4th, 2013.  Nearly a year later, it went from a rough sketch to completed and set up in my sons room.  Between my back, the nasty winter and some operations, this is the longest running project I’ve ever completed!

Now….what’s next?

Time today: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Total Time: 21 hours, 30 minutes.

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[Rocket Bookcase] Detail Painting

I got back to work on the painting today after a week or so of bad weather.  It helped a lot that Mom was in town and kept the kids occupied 24/7 (hey, when grandparents are around, mom and dad become chopped liver –  I have learned to embrace this blessing!)

Started to add the black detail stripes today.  Here’s the prepwork:


And the first layer of black paint:image


And I also painted the letters that will spell “USA” on one side and “KJV” (my son’s initials, not “King James Version” lol) on the other side…


Also put paint on letters and hinge.  You can see I put a random screw in the bottom to hold it up for painting and drying.  The paint I used (a sample can of Behr paint in flat black with the primer built in) is in the background:

To get the hinge arms,  I used a dowel to hold everything separate:


With warm temps and a decent wind, everything dried very fast.  I put the second coat immediately after finishing the first!   After peeling the tape off, I noticed the lines needed some tightening up…image

And the upper stage (including cabin windows for the Apollo capsule – those little triangles at the top):
imageAnother couple hours worth of work but she’s getting really close to being finished.  Once I tighten up the lines with some white paint, it’ll be time for the shellac and the final assembly.

Time today: 2 hours, 30 minutes.

Total time: 20 hours.

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[Rocket Bookcase] Painting (at last!)

It has been entirely too long since I last worked on my son’s bookcase.  Since then, my wife has given birth to our second son, and now there’s a toy box looming on the horizon to build!  I’ve been waiting on the weather mostly the last month but winter is FINALLY losing it’s grip on Wisconsin…

Today was the first reasonable day (56° and sunny) that I had help with the kiddos and time to work.  So work I did.

Spent three hours and got two coats of Behr Ultra Premium Plus paint and primer (“satin gloss white” for those of you keeping score at home).

Here’s the first coat in progress:

Thanks to the sunny, breezy low humidity day today, they were dry to the touch a few brief hours after painting.  So I went ahead and slapped on the second and final coat.


Also painted the hatch and drawer front.


In the next few days I need to paint the details black (call it rocket racing stripes) and the hinge.  And then its assembly time!

Time today: 3 hours

Total time: 17 hours, 30 minutes.

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[Desk Repair] Routing the trim…

Today,  taking advantage of the 50° temperatures outside after another cold snap (yes, it snowed two days ago)  I used my hand planes to knock down the slight lip on the maple support of the shortened desktop and the pine trim piece I glued up last time.   It only took a few minutes – it took me longer to remember how to stand and hold the thing than it did to start the shavings flying.  It’s been entirely too long since I was in the shop.  Nevertheless,  I quickly had a nice level surface on the bottom.


Once everything was prepared, I pulled out a classic cove (5/8″) bit for my new router (a Dewalt compact kit with plunge base) set everything up and went to town.


The router started smooth, is a heck of a lot quieter than my other ones and was a joy to maneuver.  Three shallow passes and I was in business.  I will likely do a review of this little router later.

Anyway…As you can see in the next photo, I got a bit of tearout on the very end, but that was because I was climb cutting (very very slowly, even) to get it smooth in the curve.  I don’t fault the router in this, but rather that I didn’t get this section of the pine completely flush to the particle board backing. The gap let things vibrate and it just chipped out. I think.  Here’s what it looked like:


No worries though – a little touch up with my carving chisels and I had a nice flowing transition from real thing to repair job…on one end:



And t’other:



I knocked off the sharp edges with sandpaper and called it a day.  Most importantly, I impressed the heck out of my wife – bonus points!

Now I just need to wait for a day when it gets above 65°-70° so I can play with stains to try and match colors.  Then I can cross another project off the list!  (And get my desk back!)

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[Desk Repair] Back to work…

Back in the heart of winter, oh, about a month ago, before my surgeries, before Percoset, before spring….my wife and I decided to switch our dining room with our office.  We had wood floors put in and the change has not only made the house look better but made us (her) VERY happy.   The flooring was installed while I recovered from surgery #1 (planned).  The  everything had to wait while I recovered from surgery #2 (unplanned!).    Despite all that drama during March, things progressed smoothly.

With one small problem.  Our desk, a big L-shaped Sam’s Club monster from when we lived in Texas, has lived through a lot and this final move was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

It simply wouldn’t stay together and the top had warped enouh that my humble repairs (two years ago) were straining to keep it in one piece, let alone in place.

My solution, remove the long side with the warped top.  Cut the top to fit just the left end of it (the drawer section) and then use a router to fix the edge profile and reattach to the leaner, meaner, remnant of a desk.

So, with the requisite spousal approval, I got to work.  Turns out the solid wood desk we thought we had was actually particle board with a wood veneer (even undrrneath…which is why I had been fooled for 8 years!).


To repair this and route the edge, I needed a wood support and wood trim.  So I got a piece of 3/4″ maple and cut it to fit.  The  I used some scrap pine, set up my resaw fence on the bandsaw and cut two custom-sized pieces to make the trim.  In the first actual use of this shop made fence from last year, I can safely report it worked like a charm!

Here is the moulding I’m trying to mimic:


After some judicious use of clamps, the glue dried and I have this:


Now, I have something for the router to shape!


Just need to spin up the router and when it’s shaped, I should be able to play with stains and match the color.

Looking forward to some warmer weather this week to try my hand at the new router!  That and I’d like to get the file cabinet out of my shop and get some space back….

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Opening Day 2014

It’s official!  The Vaught Woodworks Shop is open for 2014.  The weather finally eased the death grip it’s had on our necks up here in Wisconsin and it got to 65° today!!!  It felt like high summer after a George R. R. Martin winter (any longer and I would have started seeing white walkers….).

After the month I’ve had (a scheduled…ahem…family planning operation for me in the first week of March, followed by my father-in-law having a life threatening run in with pneumonia and then (and I kid you not) an 11th hour emergency appendectomy for me, a mere two weeks to the day from my…other…procedure, spent some quality time with Percoset and quick as a flash,  I lost an entire month to recovery and bed rest and late nights with my now two month old son.

Add a dose of  cabin fever, a house tore up (because we decided to do some reno work and have the kitchen floor refinished while my wife was on maternity) and two older kids that just cannot WAIT for spring and you can see why March is now on my list.

I need woodworking and I need it NOW.  So when the weather cooperated and the kids were turned loose outside, I grabbed my new Stanley chisels (I’ve been staring at them since Christmas…) my new oil stones and headed out to the back deck to do some soul cleansing and sharpening.

I got three of the five chisels sharpened to a nice mirror edge.  Oh my goodness did that feel good.   Too soon, too soon, the clock chirped and life intervened again – time to get the kiddos to swimming, time to prep dinner, etc.   On the way in to the (for the first time in about 6 months) not-freezing garage shop, I checked the weather, hoping for a chance tomorrow to continue sharpening.

Tomorrow’s high?  40°.


Today’s session may have been short and just a tease, but after the long bitter winter and this crazy month, it was just what the doctor ordered.

I’ve got a lot planned for the shop in 2014…more info on that soon!

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[Rocket Bookcase] The Hinge

At long last, I was cleared (sort of) for duty back in the shop.  This back injury has been a doozy and has brought my woodworking almost to a standstill—and at the worst time too.  With daytime highs now in the low to mid 30s, my shop is all but closed up for the winter.

Undeterred, I am powering through the rough spots.  I picked up where leaving off oh, a month or two ago, and cut out the pieces for the hinge.  I think this picture is pretty self explanatory:



As you can see there’s a base split into three parts: a middle support glued in place between the two curved…things? arms?….and the dowel keeps everything nice and tidy but lets it swivel nicely.  I just need to tweak the angle of the curve where it meets the door.  An easy trim.  All parts of the hinge were cut on the bandsaw back in September.

Then I turned my attention (on a balmy 40º day recently) to the screw holes and imperfections on the two base pieces.  Using some wood epoxy putty, I plugged every hole I could find then went back and sanded everything smooth.  Ready for paint and finish now!

With the base pretty much ready to go, I busted out the router table and hogged some wood off around the four sides of the door. This allows the oversize door to fit inside the lip of the “hatch”:



Now, assuming I didn’t make my back worse by doing this, the next time I head out I should be able to round the corners on the hatch, attach the hinge base in position and paint!

But how am I going to paint and finish in a garage that’s only 40º on a warm day, you ask?  Yeah.   Haven’t figured that one out yet…

Time today: 2 hours.

Total time: 14 hours, 30 minutes.

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