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Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by ultimatedesk, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. (FIH) The Don

    (FIH) The Don

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    lookin forward to it :D
     
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  2. ultimatedesk New Member

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    Drawer Time

    Thanks for your support The Don!

    I was able to spend some time in the shop this weekend, and didn't get as much done as I would have liked to.

    One of the main things holding me back right now is the fact that I have not selected the motherboard tray, and template for the motherboard input and outputs, as well as PCI slots. This prevents me from cutting the holes accurately in the back of both of the modules, which prevents me from assembling the actual modules.

    I have some "spare" desktop chassis lying around, and will be working to find a solution to that soon.

    In the meantime, I started working on the drawers for the right-hand module.

    I first took them through the table saw again, trimming off the last 16th or two from some of the boards.

    [​IMG]

    Then went to work sanding all of the pieces down with 150 grit. I will likely go up to a 180 grit before the final stain goes on. I clamped a straight-edge on to the table saw so that it was easier to sand with the grain (Thanks Mike)

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    Slowly, but surely, I went through all the pieces for the drawers, except for the faces. Yes, bad things happen when I don't have my sketchup drawings. I start drawing with markers.

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    Mike was doing some work in the shop at the same time as me that day, so there was quite the mess.

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    I put together my tools of the trade

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    And here are the gluing steps I went through

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    A few somewhat artistic clamp shots ;)

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    Everything looks pretty straight

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    Glued and clamped together the largest of the drawers, I will likely put some hanging folders in here.

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    Then I screwed everything together with #8 1.5" screws, all holes pre-drilled and countersunk. Most of the holes will be covered by the actual drawer sliding mechanisms, but the exposed ones will get some wood putty.

    It's funny being in someone else's wood shop - I couldn't find the countersink bit anywhere - I tried looking through all the drill bit boxes (There were several) and nothing, so I had been using a small bit, then switching to the big bit to countersink, and then switching to the screw bit to screw in the holes.

    Mike walks in half-way through the holes and you could tell he was rather amused - he goes to the back of the shop, pulls out a box, pulls out a box from the box, and then a small medicine container out from the box in a box - "Geez, didn't I tell ya to just look around? Oh. Wait. I guess this one was sorta hard to find eh?".

    At that point, he also points out that there are several drills in the shop - silly me. So one drill with the countersink bit, one drill with the screw bit. It's been very interesting working in a shop dedicated to this type of work - very, very different from working in the basement with just basic hand tools.

    [​IMG]

    I haven't attached the faces of the drawers yet as I haven't determined how I would like to attach them. I would also like to attach the trim to the outer edges of the faces before attaching them to the drawers, since it'll be much easier to clamp all the faces together at once.

    [​IMG]

    And that's it for todays update - a bit short, yes, a lot of pictures of clamps, sorry, I got carried away ;)

    I'm spending some time in the shop tonight, so hopefully I'll have another update for all of you tomorrow or the day after!

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. majestic12

    majestic12

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    This looks like a fun (although time consuming) project. I can't wait to see the finished results!
     
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  4. Ross211

    Ross211

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    sub'd ;-)
     
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  5. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    subbed;)
     
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  6. NAVI_Z

    NAVI_Z New Member

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    will be watching with great anticipation!! subed.:rockout:
     
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  7. ObSo-1337

    ObSo-1337 New Member

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    Subscribed :)

    I will be watching this with a keen eye. I have always wanted to design and build my own integrated desk and have 2 pc's in it was a great idea. I will be picking up hints and tips from your thread and using them in my own design, when i finally get around to it ;)

    Good luck and i hope this turns out great!:toast:
     
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  8. ultimatedesk New Member

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    2nd Hole

    Thanks for all the comments everyone - it is indeed extremely time consuming. I just came back from the shop, I spent a whole afternoon doing trim on just the drawers, and I didn't even get to finish completely!! Hopefully I'll get lots of time to spend in the shop this week, since I don't have too many other plans so far ;)

    Here's a quick, small update for those of you ~waiting in anticipation~ oooooohhh! ;) ;)

    I finally got around to putting the second hole in the desk surface area (Since the desk is composed of two sheets of plywood, there are two holes needed, with the "top surface" needing a hole that is .5" larger all the way around, so the "bottom surface" supports the piece of glass which covers the gaming computer).

    I took a few more detailed pictures compared to last time.

    As with before, I started by cutting out a rough shape with the jigsaw. I was able to get within .5" comfortably of my marked lines. Sometimes if you rush the jigsaw, your cuts can get a little squirrely, so I was playing it safe. This is the top surface, so no screwing up here!!

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    I then took an extra dose of patience, and went in straight to the corners with the jigsaw. This is a step I did not take last time, and I made a mistake with the router because of this.

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    I then took the router and pressed the bit right into the corner, and clamped a straight-edge on behind it. This is how I set the distance from the bit to the straight-edge. I repeated the same for the other side.

    All it took was a good solid pass from right-to-left and I had a very clean straight edge without having to go all the way into the corners, where mistakes can be made, since it is quite difficult to see where the actual router bit is when the tool is running.

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    Unclamp, reset router, reset clamps and straight edge, lather, rinse, and repeat:

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    This hole had a very small margin of error overall, and I am very pleased with the result. The jigsaw is an incredible versatile tool and can be very accurate, as long as you have patience. This one corner is the only one that will need a touch-up with a file and/or sandpaper, and you can see, it's only going to need less than a 16th of material removal!

    [​IMG]

    And that's all I had time for in the shop that day ;) Enjoy some of my mess!

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    Until next time - I have some images in the queue, but I haven't quite gotten around to resizing them just yet ;)
     
  9. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    s-s-s-subbed.
     
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  10. copenhagen69

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    looks great so far!
     
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  11. PopcornMachine

    PopcornMachine

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    Love the pic of the tape measure with sawdust on it.

    You are working hard at the desk and at taking good photos. :toast:
     
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  12. MT Alex

    MT Alex

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    Off to a nice start.:toast:

    I would recommend making your drawer fronts out of real wood, as running your edging is almost impossible to make perfect, unless your planning to paint the desk, not finish it. Look how your kitchen drawers are made. The entire inside of the box is ply (usually baltic birch or apple) and then an oversized front is screwed from the backside. This makes it easy to adjust your drawer faces square to one another, and also gives the drawer something to stop on, when the front hits the carcass.
    Also, use a scrap piece of wood as a stop and start point when routing, makes things flawless. Just measure from the edge of the bit to the base, and add that to your total cut length.
    I, too, have been building a desk mod in my head. We are, however, different in our planning. I will build it over and over in my head, and never draw anything up, maybe just a small cut list.
     
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  13. ultimatedesk New Member

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    Desktop Chop Shop

    Thanks guys, I really appreciate the encouragement. I love that pic with the tape measure as well ;) I'm thinking of bringing the macro lens to the shop especially for those cool dust-covered shots!

    Thanks MT Alex - after playing around with various trim, I've decided that I will most likely use solid wood for the drawer fronts. I just can't get the trim to look as good as I'd like, and using solid wood would allow me to route the edges as well.

    When I go ahead and do the dado's, I may go ahead and do as you suggest - taking a scrap piece and measuring ahead of time instead of doing it "manually".

    Thanks for the tips, stay tuned, sometime in the next week I may even begin putting it together!



    It's been a little while since my last update, so here are a few snapshots. As some of you might know, I've been a little held back in the project due to not having selected my motherboard I/O plates and motherboard trays. Without having the actual items, I couldn't make the appropriate measurements to make cut-outs in the back of the cabinets, and therefore, was unable to make the dado cuts due to worry about everything not fitting properly.

    So I scrounged through some old desktop systems I had lying around, emptied their components into my bins, and decided to take apart their chassis in search of some good motherboard tray and I/O parts.

    So - off to the spooky basement with a pair of chassis, my trusty drill and dremel.

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    Having never drilled rivets out of a case before, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. At first, I started with a bit that was a little bit small, so the rivets came up onto the drill bit itself and got stuck on there pretty good. Eventually, I moved to a bigger bit, and all it took was one good squeeze of the trigger and the rivet would come right out nice and cleanly.

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    Starting to rack up some parts here

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    You can see in the image above that the I/O and PCI Plate is built right into the back of the desktop chassis - this is unfortunate, as you'll see in some future photos, my other case actually had a modular I/O plate. I'll have to take the dremel to that part to get what I need.

    Time to grab the pliers...

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    Here is the shot of the back plate of the other desktop chassis - see how the I/O plate was actually riveted in, and not pressed as a whole back sheet like the other one? Soo much easier to deal with.

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    That was a pretty fun experience taking apart the cases. I've got a bunch of scrap sheet metal now too - wonder what interesting projects I can come up with to use them...

    I need to dremel out the section that I need, as well as the power supply brackets.

    [​IMG]

    Huh.. that actually didn't work out too well, at least, not the way I would like. I'm going to take these parts to the shop to see if there are any better tools for getting nice clean lines.

    Until next time!
     
  14. ultimatedesk New Member

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    Chop Shop Old Desktops Part 2

    Sorry for the lack of updates lately, things have been overly busy lately with the Christmas season getting into top gear.

    I had some time to take those motherboard tray and I/O Plates to the shop to try out a few tools / techniques for shaping them into something I actually like.

    First off, yes, Mike and I tried using the nice Dewalt Jigsaw, but the Mastercraft metal blades we were trying to use just wouldn't stay in the darn clamp. It would cut like butter for maybe 10 seconds and then bam, the blade would fall out of the bottom of the jigsaw onto the ground. Not sure what was going on there.

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    Next up, we tried this neat little Mastercraft oscillating tool with a metal blade as well, but no such luck. Couldn't figure out a good way to clamp down the metal tray, so it just vibrated it like crazy instead of actually cutting.

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    Our next contestant was an air compressor powered cutting wheel, which, was ultimately less accurate than the dremel, and just as slow.

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    So we took out the big gun, the sawzall.

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    Ha, no, just kidding. It wouldn't work even a tiny bit for a piece like this.

    In the end, you know what ultimately worked the best?

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    Yeah, a hacksaw. Go figure.

    Anyways, here you can see my mangled I/O plate for the motherboard. It's not a pretty sight at all in my opinion.

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    This is the nice I/O plate that I didn't even have to do anything except drill out a few rivets.

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    I think I'm going to have to come up with a better solution for this. We'll see shortly ;)

    Hope everyone who is getting snow is enjoying it, I know here in Ottawa, it's been a pretty crazy few days!

    Stay tuned for more updates, will be spending some time in the shop this week and working with WOOD!
     
  15. driver66

    driver66 New Member

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  16. ultimatedesk New Member

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    Setting up Drawers

    Thanks for the link driver66 - at some point after I had cut the wood, I had discovered that this type of edge can be pretty easy to install, but since I had planned for 1/4" solid maple, a lot of my dimensions would be off. Maybe next time!

    I had a bit of time in the shop this week to work on getting my drawers up to speed. I decided to take the advice of a fellow forum member and add "false fronts" to my drawers so that I can attach the "real fronts" using screws by screwing from the inside of the drawer, so I wouldn't have any screw heads to cover up on the outside.

    Here they are, with my roughed out false fronts - I happened to have 3 pieces of wood almost exactly the size I needed.

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    Time to take out 'ol trusty

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    A quick test fit, and all 3 fit perfectly

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    Add a bit of glue, and some trusty clamps, and we've got ourselves the beginnings of some false fronts!

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    All 3 of them fit rather nicely. I think they helped square out the drawers overall as well (Even though they were only out of square by around 1/16th of an inch).

    So, I've got some time for the glue to dry. I'm not sure if anyone can remember this, but in my original cut sheets, I had planned on cutting out a specific piece of wood using the wood that I jigsawed out of the desk surface.

    Here's that piece:

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    Not, exactly.... square..

    So I take this nice little protractor attached to a table saw slide - it's set at 90, so here we go!

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    I do 2 sides, and then use the actual table saw fence to square out the other 2, but something just doesn't seem right..

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    It's not really square. What's going on here?

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    Aha! Looks like the protractor was a little bit off, resulting in a shape one step closer to a diamond as opposed to a square. After a bit of readjustment, I redid that bit and cut it to size - it's the drawer face for the large drawer.

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    Now that the glue is settled, I decided to throw a few screws into the false fronts.

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    Awesome. And solid too!

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    Now, this is kind of embarrassing, but I had to go back and fix a mistake I made in my initial cuts. This piece of wood was supposed to be 20" x 28", but it ended up being more like 19.8" x 28". It may not seem like much, but this is the back piece to the left-hand cabinet. I would have to adjust the width of all 3 shelves if I were to continue using this, and I've got the space already pretty tightly packed with computer components on the top shelf.

    So... don't do this at home, just cut a new piece of wood (I didn't want to cut into a new sheet of 4x8 just for this one piece...)

    This piece looks like a good fit...

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    :banghead:

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    No one will see it, because it'll be in the back, but you will all know. So... let's just forget that ever happened, ok? ;)
     
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  17. PopcornMachine

    PopcornMachine

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    Forget what happened? :confused:
     
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  18. MT Alex

    MT Alex

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    Groovy! You are making some good progress. For future work, here is another simple and very effective way to straighten stock with odd sides on the table saw. You push the material and the straight edge (or straight plywood rip) at the same time, so the straight line is transfered to the material. Do one edge, then flip and trim the opposite side, and square the ends with the chop saw.

    Good luck.

    [​IMG] [/IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
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  19. ultimatedesk New Member

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    Thanks

    Hehe, thanks ;)

    Thanks MT Alex, that is a good idea that I haven't seen before. I don't think I would have been able to use that technique this time because I'm pretty sure the piece of wood I was using was rounded outwards on all 4 sides :(
     
  20. copenhagen69

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    looking great so far!!

    dang all 4 sides rounded out? get better wood lol ;)
     
  21. ultimatedesk New Member

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    Desk Gluing Time

    I decided it was time to glue the two surfaces together that would comprise of the actual desk surface and take a break from working on the drawers for a while.

    Here it is, the first piece. At first I wanted to lay it face down, so I could evenly distribute screws through the bottom, but in the end, I went face up so I would protect the surface, and it would be a LOT easier to line up the holes.

    [​IMG]

    I threw on the top layer, lined them up, and thought to myself: Hmm, I wonder what it'll look like with the top shelf stacked on:

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    Pretty cool. This was the first time I had actually pulled a chair up to it to get a real grasp of how big this desk is going to be. I was pretty psyched.

    Just a note, the two pieces of wood on each end holding up the shelf will actually be the inner supports (ie, pushed inwards towards the middle of the desk a foot or two), and the cubby holes on the outer ends will support the long shelf. The long shelf also has to be trimmed a couple inches, it won't reach right to the end of the desk.

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    This next part was really quite a challenge on my own.

    I lined it up as best as I could (According to the holes that I cut out, since the edges are easy to trim later), lifted one end with a mighty, strong arm, squirted as much glue as I could with my other arm (And only as far as I could reach!), put it down gently, ran to the other side and repeated.

    Let me tell you - with the amount of glue I put down, and the fact that each side weighs 20-30 pounds - it did NOT want to slide around easily to get into perfect position.

    In the end, I had to muscle it around a bit to get the holes lined up satisfactorily.

    (I spoke with a couple friends about this afterward, and one of them suggested making some pilot holes and screwing in a few screws BEFORE the gluing, and then retracting the screws so that just the tips go through the bottom board. That way after the glue is put down, you shuffle around the top board until the tips of the screws find the pilot holes, thus, eliminating the issue of getting proper alignment before the glue becomes too tacky.)

    I then threw some weight on top of the table, attached as many clamps as I could find, and started putting some 1.25" screws through the bottom.

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    A few clamp shots of the hole - everything lined up pretty much perfect. 1/2" on the left and right, 1/2" at the bottom, and I think just a little under 3/4" at the top. (The size of the lip between the upper and lower holes)

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    I wasn't satisfied with the way the clamping was going on lengthwise on the surface. I didn't have enough clamps to place them every half foot, so luckily, Mike had some of these nice, big, cedar logs lying around that I re-purposed temporarily.

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    The end result turned out quite nicely. The hole was lined up properly. There is only a small overhang / underhang of maybe 2/16's of an inch on two of the edges of the surfaces that should be easy to correct with a flush-bit on the router later.

    We'll take a look at them next update! Thanks for staying tuned!
     
  22. ultimatedesk New Member

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    lol, if only it was a problem with the wood! It's because if you'll look back, the piece that I was trying to square out was originally cut out of the desk surface with a jigsaw. I was able to get nice and close to the edges of the original square I was trying to cut out, but I did big circular cuts for the corners, creating the effect of rounding out all 4 sides ;)
     
  23. ultimatedesk New Member

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    Start of Drawer Trim

    Hey all, hope everyone had a good Holiday!

    I got a chance to do some work on the drawer face trim - this was my first time doing solid wood trim.

    I cut a nice piece of maple into 1/4" strips, glued, and sanded. I only did one piece this time, as I am not totally sure that this is the way I would like to go.

    Something about the trim not meshing quite well with the plywood.

    First, I set the table saw to the right width:

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    Measure 3 times, and you get a nice solid cut:

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    Made a few strips:

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    Cut, glued, and clamped on the initial pieces of trim. The trim pieces were about 2/16's of an inch wider than the plywood, which is great, since there will be no voids, though, I'll have to do quite a bit of sanding:

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    Took the sander to the top and bottom:

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    Overall, it looks pretty good. I'm still not 100% certain about it, however. I'm thinking there is a strong possibility I will go with solid maple for the drawer faces.

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. ultimatedesk New Member

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    My Place

    Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates recently, I've been quite busy.

    I'll put up some new shots of my progress sometime this weekend, but here's some food for thought in the meantime.

    This is the upstairs of the place I moved into a few months ago, and where the desk will eventually go. It'll fit nicely in the space, about 6 or 7 inches wider than the current desk you see there, and it will occupy most of the length of the hallway.

    My current desk is a real pain in the butt. I purchased it used last year, and needed the smallest desk possible since I was living in a little bachelor on my own, in fact, my computer desk was beside the kitchen table and it was the only way I could get any work done! My knees always get jammed underneath the keyboard tray, so this new desk will resolve that issue as well! ;)

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    There she is. Yes, it's a Guild Wars mousepad that I got for free with the game so many years ago. Yes, that's a BMW M5, the sweetest kind there is / ever was. Yes, it's a crappy desk.

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    And here's my current system, an old Pentium 4 3.2Ghz. The Coolermaster CM690 was upgraded to only a year ago or so (Thanks sis).

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    You can see I had to cut away a portion of the desk in the back to make the tower fit. Hilarious, I know.

    Take care, I'll get you guys a nice big update posted on the weekend ;)
     
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  25. ultimatedesk New Member

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    Trimming the Drawer Faces

    Had another really busy weekend and unfortunately, wasn't able to post the update on the weekend like I originally wanted to...

    BUT! Made a new friend - meet Mr.Air Nailer.

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    Nice and fast, no need to clamp everything down, and I can get a lot more trim done a lot quicker.

    I really did a better job of being picky with the trim, and selected cuts that matched the colour a lot better:

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    Compared to the first drawer face that I tried:

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    That had to change, so I took my most subtle and elegant tools:

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    And, replaced the two mis-coloured pieces with nicer ones.

    Anyways - this is what my trim production line looked like for the day:

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    First, I would mark off the lengths on an appropriately coloured piece of trim just using a pencil and holding the trim against the piece:

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    Take it over to the miter saw and trim it to within a sixteenth of an inch or so on both ends:

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    See that cedar log in the bottom right? Remember it being longer? Mike was in the shop today turning them into table legs, which partially explains the big mess!

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    I then took the piece that is being trimmed, as well as the trim, to the little sander. I would sand to a good 90 degree angle, and get the length just right.

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    Glue down, and nail down!

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    Occasionally, I'll crack the trim with the nailer... which means it has to be removed, and re-done with a new piece of trim:

    [​IMG]

    After some sanding:

    [​IMG]

    I finished all 3 drawer faces and then got started on the actual drawers. They look pretty decent. Not perfect, but they look nice.

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    HammerON and PopcornMachine say thanks.

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