[Castle Bookcase] Prepping for Paint

I wrapped up the final bits necessary before painting in the past few days.  Here’s the rundown on what I’ve been up to… 

First, I sanded everything.  This took a whole day’s session…there’s a lot of surface area on this beastie.

When satisfied the kids won’t get any splinters and everything was nice and smooth, I worked on the draw bridge.  I used the router table to rout vertical grooves to simulate planks.  Like so:

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Oops, the picture is rotated.  Well, you get the idea.  Next, I routed two 1/4″ wide grooves horizontally and glued in some 1/4″ square dowels I had laying around. 

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Now it’s looking like a proper wooden door.  But it was a little hard to grip.  I thought a out putting a knob on, but that would encourage Kylie to snap it off.  Then I considered having a rope come through from the back and make a rope handle….but that wouldn’t look right to my eye.  Then I happened to be in the car trying to referee a fight in the backseat at the grocery store when inspiration struck:

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There in front of me was the window controls…just a hollowed out part that lets you get a finger under the button!  I could do that!   So I whipped out the carving chisels and hollowed out a notch under the upper crossbar:

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After a few test pulls from Kylie and Keaton, I finalized the slot and sanded it smooth.  Best part is, if you’re not looking for it, it looks like there is no handle!

All I had to do was stain it!  So I took an old Minwax ebony stain pen and filled in the grooves.  It bled a little, so after drying, I simply sanded off the offending stain, leaving nice smooth dark grooves.  I then applied a Minwax honey oak stain to the whole thing and wiped it down.  Here’s the result:

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Looks a proper drawbridge now!

With that done (I’ll add a layer or six to finish it when the castle is painted), I turned back to the castle.  Detail time!  

I plan on putting Kylie’s name on the toy storage front, so I went Michaels and picked up some wooden letters:

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These will be primed and painted a contrasting color and glued to the bookcase later.  I also picked up a laser-cut frame and mirror to install under the middle tower platform:

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This is gonna be awesome….I decided to go ahead and finally attach the middle tower while I was at it:

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Once the frame was trimmed with the coping saw (there were a few too many pointed fleur de lis that stuck out a little too far…) I made the last of the crenelations for the back.  This is decorative and it will keep anything from falling down behind the bookcase:

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Then, at last, it was time to prime.  Last night after the kids went down I spent 2 hours priming the the bookcase and mirror frame.  It is just flat white, but now that everything is a uniform color, it looks great!

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I cannot wait to got get the paint and start the final steps….paint and shellac and install the drawbridge and she’s ready for books!!

Time today (three days): 6 hours.

Total time: 27 hours.

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About Steven M. Vaught

A native son of Delaware, now living in Illinois, Steven is a writer, family historian, amateur astronomer, sometimes-gardener, woodworker, father to three wonderful children, husband to a wonderful wife, and caretaker of one cheeky vizsla.
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