Tuesday, October 10, 2017

First woodworking project in a while...

This past long weekend, Thanksgiving in Canada is in October, my son Matt asked me if we could build something together. I thought sure why not, it would be fun and help me getting back on my feet so to speak :-)

The project in question was for a wall shelving unit to house his electronics under his big ass TV.

Saturday, we went over his doodle for his project, made some tweaks. Introduced him to the idea of using a French cleat system to secured it to the wall, and choosing dadoes to strengthen the build, making it much more stiffer and solid, we will be using solid pine for the whole build.

Matt original design 

Will a French cleat system be able to hold all the weight of my electronics, Dad?
(TV is already fasten to the wall)

You bet, Son !! :-)

Before going shopping for wood, we developped a cut list. Matt said everything, plus spares, should fit on a 18ft board, can we get that in 20 inch wide board?
Hum don't think it would fit inside our cars, we would have to have it rough cut at the yard :-)

Our rough initial cut list. Made some changes on the fly. 
For example, forgot about the notch on the triangular gussets, oups!

Finally we gather up materials, and headed for the woodshop on the Wing.
We rough cut a few more pieces, on the Radial Arm Saw, then we glued up four boards to make two panels to get the required width. The yard being out of 20 in wide boards :-)

Sunday we cut to size our parts using a panel cutting jig on the tablesaw, and did most of the joinery, dadoes, using the tablesaw with a dado set.

Matt cleaning up the glue line on our panels, 
after scraping most of it first

After making sure we had all our required pieces cut and ready for assembly, except for two small dadoes on the back board for the triangular gussets...

It was time to stuff our faces with the big turkey meal that Jean prepared for our family: Us, my son, her daughter and her 2 kids (our grandpeanuts :-) and Rudy of course. For some reasons I never figured out, turkey meal is the only time I overstuff myself, twice a year, at Thanksgiving and at Christmas.

Rudy feeling stuffed and sleepy, just like me :-)

Monday, we finished the last two dadoes by hands using handsaw and chisel. While assembling it, we made a few more details changes, which required more dadoes... (because we forgot the notches). Done using the table saw with its regular blade (Freud chip limiting combination blade).  Everything is glued and screwed.

The idea was for him to learn as we go along, so I introduced him to a variety of ways of doing the same operations, with power tools and by using hand tools.

For example we cut all the joinery (dadoes) using 3 different ways, two using the tablesaw and one by hand.

That meant a few trips back to my hand tools shop, to gather tools. Thankfully, I was in the process of owning it back, so we were able to walk inside :-)

Some of the dadoes should had been stopped dadoes. But it is a lot faster, easier to make thru dadoes then filled in the exposed groove with a piece of wood.
The whole unit being painted, it is irrelevant which way we went, took the easy way out :-)

Used our dado test board made while setting up the tablesaw.
Cutting off a smidgen wider piece, tweaked on the Disk Sander, 
made quick work of it

So far he has learned about, using square and marking knife, chisel work, using router plane and side rabbet plane. He cut his first dado by hand, using a First class cut (making a trench using a shop knife on the waste side of the Marking knife mark) and using the reflection on the saw plate to gauge square and plumb,  with a Small Tenon Saw after seeing me done the first one.

Learned about safely use the Radial Arm Saw, table saw (swapping blades and tweaking the dado cutter set width, how to use a panel cutter jig on the tablesaw, ripping the 45 degrees for the cleat), the bandsaw, disk sander (precaution WRT to disk rotation direction and which side to use), Random Orbit Sander, the drill press (how to properly tighthen the chuck, using ALL 3 holes), the uses of special bits to pre-drill and countersunk our screws... oh and the vacuum cleaner, air compressor and broom to clean up :-)

The ha...Rudy, move...

The hand tools we used, all mine... for now :-)

And my power tools and accessories we used
in addition to the Woodshop machinery.

The shelving unit being 5 feet long and almost 17 inch wide, did not fit in either of our cars, oh surprise :-)

No way this would fit inside our cars...
Other on the fly tweaks, included 
adding a front batten to stiffen up the top shelf
 and encasing the top part of the cleat.
The bottom spacer is attached to the unit and would be fasten to the studs

So the unit stayed inside the Wood Hobby Shop on the Wing. After doing the prep work and painting it, I will deliver it to him using Jean’s truck, a RAM 1500.

Tuesday, me and Rudy went back to filled in the screws holes and do some sanding.

Rudy on guard for me. We were alone in the shop early in the morning, 
but for his own safety (and to keep him cleaner) I keep him attached, near me.

One side done

and the other side, now we wait again...

Should be able to deliver sometimes this week after work (Jean and Matt)
Later tonite, I'll go back and sand the areas I touched up with Wood filler.
Then after a quick clean with the air blowgun, I'll transfered it to the paint area in the shop. Hoping to get its primer coat by Wednesday, then first paint coat Thursday... Hum, maybe it will be next week....

Bob, who had a good time at the woodshop and inside my own shop. We even managed to talk about Heather without crying... We are on the mend... :-)


  1. I bet Heather was smiling, somewhere, somehow.

  2. Yes she was Diane, yes she was ...


  3. Hi Bob

    Workshops and dogs are good for healing souls.
    I like that you were able to pull out a living proof that a French cleat could support a bit of electronics.


  4. You are so right Jonas...
    Yeah, when I shown him my wall of tools hanging by French cleats, it kind provided the answer and reassurance he wanted :-)

    Bring in your Puny estimated 25 pounds of electronics

    Bob, starting to fire on all cylinders again

  5. Bob,

    Good on you and your Son.

    Sam has become the workshop dog from hell. For a long time he would just peek around the corner, then he figured out the shop had treats stored and he would sit and give me the "doggie eye". Now He's there almost anytime I am and he picks the spot that is most in the way to stretch out. Of course in my small and crowded shop that is almost anywhere :-).

    I'm just glad to have him with me.


  6. I hope Matt has a few projects that need Dad's help.

  7. LOL Ken
    My Bearded Collie, Jake, was like that. Being a herding dog he also liked to herd everything in sight. It was impossible to throw out a piece of wood he would always bring it back :-)
    That was when I started working by hands, it was easier to pick up wood shaving off him than sawdust :-)

    Bob, who loved that dog very much

  8. oh, not to woprry Ralph, he has a few nore in the pipeline :-)


  9. Hi Bob,
    I can understand you very well. Difficult to pull up yourself from a motivation gap.
    Pretty good that you found a good reason to go back into the shop.
    Nice story. Had to grin here and there. 20" wide boards are often out of stock. :-)

    All the best,

    1. Hi Stefan
      Yes, that was the proverbial kick I needed to get back into it. What better way than doing a father & son project together. It was good for both of us...

      Indeed 20 in wide boards seems to be in short supply these days :-)

      Bob, and his son Matt, on the road to recovery

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