Monday, September 24, 2007

No Longer an Amateur

I had a budget of $800 to build this pair of book cases that flanks the fire place for a client. It was a remodler who had too little time and too much to do. I figured I had about two days to work on this project before I'm in the minimum wage category.

With the proceeds, I bought a Festool plunge cut circular saw which did short work of cutting the shelves to size once it was at the work site. This German made circular saw rides on an aluminum guide rail and cuts perfectly straight line every time. It lets one person rip and 8' long panel and takes up very little room in the hatchback, so I didn't even need a table saw, that's good because I don't have one. The Rockler 32 mm shelving jig made fast and accurate work of drilling the eight rows of shelving holes. This allows the home owner to adjust the shelves' height to display art.

Roll of tape became the radius of the curves on the shelves. This complements the curves on the existing mantle and made the bookshelves look less bulky. I cut the first one, with my handsaw and used the spoke shave to smooth it out. (I don't have a jig saw). This became the first shelf and the template for the other five shelves. Careful planning, left me with just a little waste in materials. A 21 gauge pin nailer attached the template to the next shelf securing it for the router with the flush cut bit. Pin nailing the template to the work is secure, fast and the resulting holes are undetectable when the project properly finished. I don’t have much time, so I stained all the pieces with Minwax stain, set them in a secure place and let it dry for a couple days. On the last day I put put two coats of wax on all the parts. Flat pieces of wood are easier to buff then having to wax the book case installed. The owners were just going to put books and art on it, so a super durable finish was not needed and wax was a safe and easy protection to apply in a dusty remodel site. As you can see, I buffed it to a shine. Then it's carefully assembled on the stone veneer base with screws and liquid nail. The crown molding was added last and cut on site since it needed to be scribed into the stones of the fireplace. That took a compass and a coping saw and an understanding of compound scribing along two axis.

Now, it's not the prettiest nor the best built book case, I think the proportion could have been better, but given the time constraint, the limited budget and the fact that there's no other people who could do it this fast for this cheap, it's the perfect bookcase. What's more important is that the homeowners likes them and they will last until the next remodel.

No comments: