FAST and I want it BLACK were the last words I heard from the “design committee” as I was being chased into the shop. So, fast you got and black you got, the bonus for me was that I now wouldn’t have to keep chasing our cat Sasha off the converter box. That darn cat loves it up there and she dares me most days to chase her off of “her” perch……………Well, I’ll fix you cat, you’ll see,
I started out by purchasing a sheet of black melamine and a roll of black edging tape from my local big bulk store. The maple leg blanks I laminated some time ago for another project that didn’t turn out so they were pretty well ready to go except for final sizing. I jointed and thickness planed the legs to 3”X3” and cut them to length.
I built a half-template for the shelves out of plywood, took this template and overlaid it on a piece of melamine, cut and pattern routed both ends of the blank and ended up with a finished blank that I could use to fabricate the three shelves for this unit.
The process is quite simple, lay the plywood blank of the melamine, clamp the plywood to the melamine and clamp the whole assembly to the bench. Rough cut the melamine to within a ¼” or so of the plywood template and then with a pattern bit in the router, follow the plywood template for a clean precise cut. Flip the plywood blank end for end and do the same procedure and you have a completed template that you can use for cutting all of the shelves.
The completed template clamped to a shelf blank ready to be cut with the jig saw and then finished with the router.
The legs were next and after jointing, thickness planning and cutting to length, I cut three 1 ¼” deep dados into each leg. I wanted a very snug fit on this joint so I was careful when setting the dado blades…………….in the end it took a couple of tries but the result was worth it……………….a really snug fit.
Next came the dry fit, I wanted to make sure that there would be no surprises when it came time to put this thing together………………….remembering that I have only two hands and the
“design committee” isn’t likely to give the hired help a hand, I wanted to make sure that everything would go together smoothly.
Satisfied that all was the way it should be, I edged taped the entire shelves except for the area that the front legs attach to. I left the edge tape off of this area because the only thing that would be holding the front leg to the shelves was glue and I wanted a wood to wood glue surface. I installed the remaining black edge tape after the assembly dried.
The back of the shelves were completely edged taped because I was running a screw through the back of the leg and plugging it with a black plastic cap. The only one who will see this is the cat and I don’t care if she does anyway. This is why it was important for me to have a nice snug fit between the shelves and the legs, the strength of the unit was depending on it.
Anytime I paint a project I’m always concerned if I missed a nick or a divot or some small imperfection while milling and sanding that is going to show up when I apply the finish.
To combat this, I like to mix up a batch of filler and apply it to the entire surface; this lessens the risk of finding and then having to deal with a missed divot later. My recipe for this is to take regular wood filler and add water to it until is becomes as creamy as runny peanut butter. I applied this concoction with a 3” putty knife and when it dried, sanded it smooth.
After a couple of coats of primer and several coats of a gloss black, the whole assembly was brought into the house and set in place. The only thing left to do is deal with that “bird’s nest” of wiring which is laying on the floor.
The one real benefit of slapping this thing together was to see the look on Sasha’s face when she entered the room looking for her favorite place to have a snooze………………………….too bad cat, I won this round.