NBSS Week 33 – Key cabinet work, my toolbox and candle box review, and some summer work preparations

This week began with shaping the coopered door for my key cabinet. After glue up it was quite close to my drafted radius of 24 ½ inches so I had just a little work to do to fair the curve inside and out. I started by using a spokes shave across the grain to knock down the high spots. I then made a sanding caul using a router circle cutting jig and setting it to cut a portion of the radius of the circle to match both the inside and outside surfaces of the door.

With these cauls made I spent about 10 minutes on each side sanding the surfaces smooth. With the surface prep done it was time to veneer the doors’ surfaces. I’m laying down 2 layers of veneer on each side to help with door stability and also to decrease the chance of any small shaping irregularities showing through on the finished surface. Although this process can be done in the vacuum press by placing the door into the bag directly and letting it conform to the shape of the door, there is a small chance that the vacuum bag will pull the door out of shape a bit, and this is especially true on larger curved surfaces. To avoid this chance, and because I wanted to work with bendy wood for the first time, I constructed a vacuum press jig to help me veneer the door in the vacuum bag.

After this was completed I laid out the veneers the way I wanted, cut, taped and seamed the veneers, put some glue on the door, and placed everything inside the bag. One day later here’s the result!

For my next key cabinet task I started to lay out and test cut the pattern for the interior key hook panel. This panel will be pierced to allow light to filter up through it inside the case. My original design was this:

The instructors commented that it might be a bit difficult to scroll saw that pattern out cleanly so I made up a sample piece and also came up with a modified design. Here’s my sample:

It was definitely a challenge but certainly doable, however I had another bit of inspiration hit me while I was laying out the patterns. So I spent a few hours and came up with this design.

I liked it, as did many other classmates, so I transferred it to my actual panel and spent some quality time at the drill press and scroll saw. Here’s the result:

Also this week I received instructor review of my toolbox and candle box proficiency test. Things went well, we discussed my candle box mistakes and reinforced some of the principles of good cabinet design exemplified in the exercise itself. We also talked about how the toolbox construction process went and they asked for feedback to make the process better for future students. We then started talking about future professional goals and what my plans were after graduation next year. That got me thinking a bit and made me realize it would be a great time to follow up with some of my woodworking contacts about the possibility of summer employment in the form of apprenticeships or internships. So I spent some time sending emails out and making some phone calls…next week we’ll see what comes of my efforts.

Our Lance lecture this week was sort of a show and tell for him as he walked us through one of his recent tall clock builds.

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He explained the proportions, the construction process, the molding details, door fitment, and all about the clock movements. He also showed us a slide show of many of his other clocks and detailed what was different or special about each one. It was pretty fascinating.

Up for next week, more detail work on the key cabinet construction, the beginning of the student and alumni show, and a few other surprises. Until then…..

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