Friday, August 9, 2013

Starting the nightstand

Wow, two projects within 9 months of each other. I'm not going to know how to act now. I started work on Nadine's nightstand last night and did some glue-ups to make the top and the legs.

I'm really thinking I need more clamps in the shorter range. I bought some pipe clamp fixtures to make some 5 foot long clamps, but now that I think about it, I need more clamps in the 24" range. The bulk of what I make is smaller than 4 feet, so I should probably invest in more 12" and 24" clamps. I think I should probably make some shorter pipe clamps. Doing glue-ups with my regular bar clamps is a frustrating experience. I'd like Bessey K-body Revo clamps, but since I can make a pipe clamp in a comparable size for $15 less per clamp, I don't think I need those quite yet. I feel like $50+ per clamp is a bit steep.

As a side note, I'm pretty steamed that Home Depot doesn't have Jorgensen clamps any more. I went there recently thinking I should buy more clamps and I found out really quickly that all the orange clamps were gone and were replaced with Irwin clamps. I'm sure they're not terrible, but then my clamps won't match up on the rack. As much as that shouldn't matter, it does.

I spent some time this morning trying out some finishes on the poplar I bought for this table. It's a pretty well-known fact that poplar isn't the prettiest wood and it generally gets reserved for a secondary wood and for painted projects. I figured I could save some money with the poplar, and if I can figure out how to stain it properly, then I can make some nice projects on the cheap (relatively). I worked up a sample piece so I could test out the finish.

Test staining...
I've been a big fan of the Rustoleum Ultimate Wood Stains. I like the fast dry time, and I also like the color it produces. From what I've been able to research online, it's good for keeping color even on hard to stain woods like pine and poplar. My experiences with it on my projects have been good, so I figured that I'll make my samples with that. I do have a can of regular Minwax stain, but I figured I'd save that for something else. I might use it for my other shop projects since I used it on my router table, so I could have a matched set of shop furniture.

Stain with a little bit of wipe-on finish over it.

Much to my delight the colors of the stain seem to work well on the poplar. I have some golden mahogany, traditional cherry, and black cherry. I'm not 100% on the black cherry since it seems a bit purple to me, but I'm glad the mahogany and traditional cherry came out looking so good. I'm probably going to go with one of those.

I also took the time this morning to mill up the legs and rough out the side panels. I did the layout for the mortises on the legs, and so I'm just taking some time to look over my plans and make sure that I have everything in order so that I can get the layout just right. I don't want to have to glue up any more legs or make any other pieces. I still have another piece of wood that hasn't been milled yet, but I don't want to use up too much of that. I do have a drawer to make and I want to select a good part of the last board for that.

I have to taper the legs as well, so I need to do the layout for that, but I'm going to take care of that later today. I want to cut the mortises first so I can have a chance to see where I need to make the necessary cuts.

I think the woodworking on this will go quickly, and so I hope that I can put the table together by the end of the weekend. Of course the finishing will take some time, but now that I have a process for that and this is a much smaller project than Chibi's cabinet, I think that it'll finish up fast and end up in the bedroom soon. Then we'll have a place to put the lamp and alarm clock.

Legs and sides milled up. The Marples blade is great!