Smoothing bookcase faces - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-05-2009, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Smoothing bookcase faces

Hi,

I'm fairly new to woodworking (and brand new here) and have built some small tables in the past. I tried my hand last week at building some built in bookshelves and have a couple of questions (and I learned a lot in the process).

1) I used a "Dowel-it" jig to assemble the face of the cabinets and the "self centering" jig did NOT self center well, leaving the edges of the arches and the styles unlevel by a large amount. I was able to fix this to a large extent with a block plane on three of the arches. The outage was only about a sixteenth and they planed out pretty well (for my first time with a hand plane, too). On the last two arches on the right, the arch and the style are out of flush by about an eighth (circled in red). I really should have recut and redrilled the arches and the style, but got in a hurry. The plane isn't really working to level this out. Will a belt sander with 150, 180, or 220 work for leveling this? I don't have a belt sander and from prior experience, my orbital sander won't remove enough wood to make it efficient. I can buy a belt sander if this will work best. Will be painting this when I'm done prepping. It's like the "self-centering" doweling jig got more and more out of center as I used it.

2) Overall, I'm really pleased with how this turned out, except for the fact that there is an electrical outlet behind one of the shelves (grrrrrr...). What is the best way to fill in this mistake? If I move the outlet, I don't think code will allow me to mount an electrical outlet in one of the nifty plastic clamping boxes... not sure how I'd nail a box into a stud without sawing out a large portion of the wall.
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-05-2009, 07:07 PM
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Since you're painting it...I would think an 80grit disc would take down a sixteenth without a problem. Even if your orbit sander is not that powerful try a lower grit, than work your way back up. Just don't let it sit and spin, keep it moving around or you'll be left with the reverse problem.

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post #3 of 16 Old 01-05-2009, 08:46 PM
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Justin,
I agree with the orbital sander. They will take down wood pretty quick with a coarse grit disc. Just be carefull and don't take it all the way down with an 80 grit. Leave just a smidge for smoothing out with your finer grits once you get close. Also, I don't know where you live but I use the 'old work boxes' all the time. Move your existing outlet either up or down to clear the shelf. Move it in the direction that the wire feed from so you'll have some slack to play with. Also, don't forget to allow for the cover when you are figuring on how far to move it. Nice job on the shelves, looks good. P.s. throw away that doweling jig. Pocket screws.
Mike Hawkins
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-06-2009, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by firehawkmph View Post
Justin,
I agree with the orbital sander. They will take down wood pretty quick with a coarse grit disc. Just be carefull and don't take it all the way down with an 80 grit. Leave just a smidge for smoothing out with your finer grits once you get close. Also, I don't know where you live but I use the 'old work boxes' all the time. Move your existing outlet either up or down to clear the shelf. Move it in the direction that the wire feed from so you'll have some slack to play with. Also, don't forget to allow for the cover when you are figuring on how far to move it. Nice job on the shelves, looks good. P.s. throw away that doweling jig. Pocket screws.
Mike Hawkins
An orbital sander it is, then! (and they look a little less expensive than the belt sanders, too)...

I will definitely see if I can find an old work box. I've used the boxes that clamp to the back of the sheetrock to run speaker wire for surround sound, but they were more of a frame than a box. Didn't know they made boxes that installed like that, great! Thanks guys!
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-06-2009, 06:34 PM
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Justin,
Looks like this
http://electrical.hardwarestore.com/...ox-602041.aspx
Your local home depot or lowes should have them. They are made by carlon. Also, the oribital sander is much easier to control than the belt sander.
Mike Hawkins
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-06-2009, 09:01 PM
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I'm looking to build some built-ins later this year. I like the arches. Did you use a bandsaw or just a jig saw to cut those? What kind of wood did you use for the frames and shelves?
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post #7 of 16 Old 01-06-2009, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Firehawk, thanks so much, that's what I will definitely use. Thanks for all of your help. I'll be investing in an orbital sander tomorrow. I know I mentioned orbital sander in the original post, but it's just a rectangular black and decker that vibrates, not an orbital...

David,

I used birch plywood to make the carcass (sides and shelves). Once I realized that the chinese plywood from big box isn't quite 3/4", it was too late. If you're going to dado, make sure you buy the right size bit or buy 3/4 ply. The bit would have been cheaper if I could have found the odd size.. anyways, it worked out okay.

The back of the shelf is the heavier bead board ply, not the thin slick stock.

The face frame is a combination of 1x2 pine, preprimed trim (basswood? it's really light, and I had it laying around) and some thin 1" pine for the fronts of the shelves.

For the arches, it's the preprimed stick of trim that I had, same dimensions as a 1x4 pine. Had I done this over, I would have cut the arches out of 1x6 material so as to avoid the top trim above the arches.

http://ca.geocities.com/web_sketches...ular_arch.html

This is an arch calculator that was really helpful for determining the radius of the circle to use for laying out the arches. I determined the width of the arch and how far into the board I wanted it to go (the height), and the calculator spits out the radius. I then nailed a long piece of scrap plywood to a board, and drove a nail through the other end at my radius length. Center the board and marked the arch. Cut it out with a jigsaw. It showed, but I was pretty steady and a little sanding cleaned them up just fine.

The shelves are just a hair wider then I intended (I tend not to plan the projects in enough detail before I start them. I think I ended up with a 35.5" shelf span, which might sag if I put too many books on them. I also faced the shelves with the quarter inch by 1" pine, which won't do too much to keep the sag from happening.

I still have some 1x pine that I've stained to match the base of the shelves that will overlap the top edge by a half inch or so. I haven't installed these yet because I'm painting the shelves and didn't want to have to cut in around the top board.

Hmmm.... also, ran speaker wire before I put in the shelves and it is routed down the wall, under the wood floors, and up the far wall. Can't wait to get the surround sound going again.



Probably a little more information than anyone wanted to know, but I had a lot of fun building them and learned a lot....

1) Assembling cabinets on a less than perfectly flat surface (two sawhorses and a sheet of plywood) is less than ideal.
2) 3/4" router bit is about 1/16th wider than chinese-made plywood from big box.
3) Self-centering dowel jig needs some adjustment (will be looking into the pocket screws on the next project, firehawk!)
4) Measure for electrical outlets before laying out the shelf height.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-06-2009, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and P.S. - I still have to build 10 drawers for the bottom unit down below (arrrggghhh!!!) - time to figure out that dovetail jig I bought 8 months ago!
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-06-2009, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by justin2009 View Post
Oh, and P.S. - I still have to build 10 drawers for the bottom unit down below (arrrggghhh!!!) - time to figure out that dovetail jig I bought 8 months ago!
I appreciate all the detail as I'm at the earliest stages of learning woodworking. I hope my built-ins look half as nice as yours. :) I just spent the last bit drawing it out on my computer so I can play with the design elements. If only I was as good with woodworking as I am with computers...

Also, out of curiosity, what do you plan to do for that middle section?
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-06-2009, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by davidadner View Post
I appreciate all the detail as I'm at the earliest stages of learning woodworking. I hope my built-ins look half as nice as yours. :) I just spent the last bit drawing it out on my computer so I can play with the design elements. If only I was as good with woodworking as I am with computers...

Also, out of curiosity, what do you plan to do for that middle section?
Ha! Thanks, it definitely looks good from a distance ; ) Then you start to notice things as you get closer!

I have a collection of antique boat paddles and oars that I'm going to stand up/hang in the middle section, but I told the misses that if she ever wanted shelves in the middle, I could install them.

Thanks for the compliment, for sure. I'm learning, too, and every project teaches me some good lessons (unfortunately in hindsight!) If you're drawing yours out beforehand, they'll probably turn out much better than mine did!
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post #11 of 16 Old 01-06-2009, 11:50 PM
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Justin,

That is a very respectable looking job especially for someone new at it. I have never like self- centering doweling jigs for a few reasons.

The first you have already discovered. The second is that there is normally one face of the stock which is prominently displayed - the top of a table, the face of a face frame, the front of a raised panel the top of a shelf etc etc.

To me, it is most important to do as little sanding as possible on the prominent face. Therefore, the registering of any gluing alignment tool is best done off that face. In many instances, it is not even necessary that the backs or bottoms of glued up boards be sanded or even have the glue removed beyond a swipe with a wet rag.

In other instances, you may not even want dowels in the center in the first place.

Below is a doweling jig I made for myself - since I have a macine shop. To raise the position of the dowels, I use steel shims of varying thicknesses.



I think I see beadboard for the backs of your unit. I also assume tht you did not build it in place and can get the unit down. If so, I would rip along the grooves either side of your empty outlet hole either full length and insert a long strip.

If you want to get fancy, you could rout rabbets on the existing back pieces after ripping out the strip, and do the inverse on the piece you are putting into it.

But that is a very nice upper unit with nice proportions.

Cheers,
Jim

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post #12 of 16 Old 01-07-2009, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Jim,

Thanks for the compliment and ideas! I think I'll take the center portion of the jig I have to the machine shop and have them weld a lip on one side of it that will rest on the work piece like yours.

I can pull the entire unit out from the wall enough to cut the strip - I think I'll give that a try!
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post #13 of 16 Old 03-01-2009, 07:51 PM
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Make sure before you start grinding/sanding/ planeing that much material you give yourself a nice straight reference line to show you what material you want to remove. You can not see the divots you will make when close but they will be very obvious when you step back. Just get a good straight edge, get a nice sharp pencil/scribe and make a line. Then get to it. I would recommend a good belt sander for this job, as it is much better at controlling the material you need to remove, but it will remove the material so fast that you can quickly destroy your project. Get to it; it just takes time and patience.
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-11-2009, 09:37 PM
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Your work looks really good. Orbital sander for me. Check out my pics.
http://www.caseysbuilding.com/Custom_Bookshelves.html
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post #15 of 16 Old 03-11-2009, 10:26 PM
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Looking good. You should check out a kreg jig for your next faceframe build. It will make life much easier by using pocket screws versus dowels.
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post #16 of 16 Old 03-12-2009, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I haven't updated in a while. I've been practicing dovetails for the drawers in the bottom section of the cabinets! The random orbit sander worked well and the shelves are painted. I have a little more trim at the very bottom to paint and install, and I plan on doing that when I build the drawers. In the meantime, I've built a workbench and have started slipping down the handtool slope... I love wood planes and how they work...
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