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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm building a toy train showcase for my father in law. I guess they're not actually toys but they are electric train set engines put out to be collectables from a major rail company that has 20 different brands all under one main brand (21 in all, I guess they're the GM of the rail industry). He paid around $3000 for all 21 engines so I really hope this showcase STAYS on the wall.:eek: My plan is to attach the back REALLY WELL as in a LOT of nails, and then screw through the plywood back into the wall, hitting studs in 4 places. Please tell me now if this isn't a good idea.

I made it to hold two engines per shelf, each sitting on a piece of HO track, and the main name engine will sit alone in the center on the top shelf. 11 shelves in all. The top shelf has boards slanting backwards toward the rear to create a centered position for the main name engine. I figure he might later have a brass plate made with whatever info pertaining to the engines on it and these boards will be a good place to display that. Since there was an odd amount of engines this was the only thing I could think of to keep the top shelf from looking like it had a bunch of wasted space. Cutting the back angle was fun. They were 69 degrees and the other end had 21 degree angles. My miter saw will not do a 69 degree angle. So I left it centered at 90 and put the 21 degree cut ends against the fence and gently dropped the blade into each board. It worked and I only had to make three to get two good ones. LOL

A large sheet of plexiglass will slide in from the right side between the face frame and the main carcass of the unit. I routed a slot in the bottom and top boards to serve as a track for this. The unit is made from poplar wood with two coats of early American Minwax stain on it to darken it up almost like walnut. Tomorrow it will get a coat of polyurethane. I still need to cut the lauan back and I will put maroon felt on that to make a nice backing visible behind the trains. Right now, it's fully assembled and stained.

This thing has several mistakes I made, being as I'm only a novice wood worker, but I think I covered them pretty well. For one thing, it was supposed to have a top piece of face frame to go with the side pieces but I forgot to allow for this when I cut the sides so I had to rethink my whole top piece to try to achieve the trim look I wanted. Originally the very top board was going to round over like it appears now, with cove trim below this. Instead I cut the cove into the top board and then made rounded over crown molding for the top. This retained the trim look I wanted and compensated for the mistake in my measuring. As a bonus, I think it looks better without the top face frame after all. So it was a happy mistake, but sure wasn't the only one. But overall, I'm satisfied with how it is turning out and I learned what NOT to do for next time.

I've learned a lot on this. It was my first experience with dadoes for shelving. My first project using poplar. My first display case also so I got to figure how to make the plexiglass install (still have to cut it to fit). My first experience gluing and clamping a face frame where I relied on the glue only to hold it, it worked and I actually got the edges lined up near flawlessly. Light sanding afterwards took care of a very slight inconsistency in the alignment. I've had a lot of firsts in this project. Next time I'll be more prepared.

Overall dimensions are about 32" wide x 48" tall so you get an idea of its size.

I'm absolutely loving the way the stain shows off white grain lines in this wood. Some of it was a little unpredictable. I think the board on the top shelf that's slanted came out a little dark. Also the bottom of the right face frame was dark also. I think maybe I over applied the stain on both areas, but otherwise I love the white lines showing in the wood. I'll definitely do this stain/wood combo again on other projects.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here you can better see what I did to the top shelf with the angled boards. Also you can see my crown molding fix for my short measuring mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Close up of the crown molding from the viewing side. Top shelf was routed using a cove bit, then crown molding was made with a round over bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
For the bottom shelf I used a large ogee bit. I hope my choices of profiles was ok to do, mixing like I did. I like it. I tried to take inspiration from furniture I have here at home. The makers of it used a mix of bits there also, having crown differing from bottom boards. I was making this on a budget and had to choose from bits I already owned. I actually did buy a bit to work with though, a 1/8 straight bit to make the slot for the plexiglass. Had to have that. Nothing else would work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
One thing I didn't show you that I'm wholly ashamed of was all the nail marks going up the sides to hold the shelves in. A couple of my pictures barely show it. My dadoes weren't all that good so glue alone wouldn't hold it. I had to shoot no less than 2 nails per shelf per side, so I have 20 nail marks up each side. Not only that but the nail gun was a nail/staple combo which left a mark that looks like _ instead of just a . only. I HATE HATE HATE THIS. I learned my lesson and have switched guns now. I'll make better dadoes next time also so maybe nails won't be needed. But as said earlier, I'm a novice, so maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Having no one to teach me wood working except the internet and magazines means stuff like this happens until I learn to keep it from happening.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Hey, this morning the stain looks different. I guess it had time to dry out more? The dark spots have evened out with the rest of it now. Awesome! It's also not at black looking as it had been. More of the rich brown that early American stain normally looks when on pine, but this is poplar. That's fine but I sort of liked that weathered wood look I had when it was wet.
 

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One thing I didn't show you that I'm wholly ashamed of was all the nail marks going up the sides to hold the shelves in. A couple of my pictures barely show it. My dadoes weren't all that good so glue alone wouldn't hold it. I had to shoot no less than 2 nails per shelf per side, so I have 20 nail marks up each side. Not only that but the nail gun was a nail/staple combo which left a mark that looks like _ instead of just a . only. I HATE HATE HATE THIS. I learned my lesson and have switched guns now. I'll make better dadoes next time also so maybe nails won't be needed. But as said earlier, I'm a novice, so maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Having no one to teach me wood working except the internet and magazines means stuff like this happens until I learn to keep it from happening.
Same thing happend to me when I built my easel for wfc a couple weeks ago. I sprayed my pieces before I assembled them thinking it would be easier but I guess I got some poly in my rabbets and dados and the glue wouldn't adhere. So I had to nail them I also only had a crown stapler and was very upset about the marks it left. Its all good though Its just a learning experience.
 

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Nice display cabinet/shelf.

My only comment though is your use of nails. Nails are for building houses, not shelving. Counter sunk screws would be a much better choice. I like course threaded drywall screws and buy them in boxes of 500. Over time nails will come loose and fail to hold.

Glue and screw....
 

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I officially politely demand a picture of the thing when it's full of trains! I have a lifetime supply of them sitting in boxes in my attic (though none as expensive at that!), all kinds of gauges, and I've often thought of lining walls with shelves in one of our spare rooms have at least give them room to sit on. So I'd love to see the finished product, in full use!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'll post a pic of it once he fills it with the engines. In the mean time here are some more pics of the finished product.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I made the back using lauan plywood covered with maroon felt.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
The plexiglass front slides in from the right side between the face frame and the cabinet itself. There are routed grooves for it to slide in on the top and bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Plexiglass front fully closed. These pics really do this NO JUSTICE. I'm using my cell phone and then emailing them so I can use an iPad to post them here. Up close and in person this cabinet looks much better than these hazy pics show.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Here is a porch lamp post I made for my sister from the left over poplar used in making the train showcase. I added a light socket to a votive candle lantern and used this as my light. It looks like it's painted black but that's actually a dark blue.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Close up of the lantern.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The front door opens on this lantern to put candles in, but now it's to change the light bulb. I used a 3/4" plumbing coupler as the candle stick, and a 1 1/2" plumbing drain pipe cap cut down to make a candle base. These conceal the socket assembly and give it a country look. Plumbing pipes can be just the right colors for this kind of work. I shaped the coupler fitting to look like a slightly melted candle using my random orbital sander and a 220 grit disc. Was easy as pie and came out great. I also used it to sand off the lettering, seams, rough spots, and glossy finish the fittings had. Both pieces now look almost exactly like they were cast from plaster, just like ceramics look before being baked. I liked the flat look so I left it. Was going to paint them but even the colors are right so I'm calling it finished. The pipe is made to hold hot water, and the bulb is only a 15 watt bulb so it doesn't make enough heat to hurt the PVC at all. Doesn't directly contact it anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
And it works!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Originally I had roughed out this light from wood for the top.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I had it working too but decided I didn't like it as well. It left the bulb fully exposed. It wasn't until after I had assembled it that I figured out how to add glass to it. I may make some more in the future from wood and add glass but I really like how the one I made came out using the metal candle lantern.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I may as well show you some more gifts I made. This is a trophy display for my brother. He got an award for a high bowling game. He bowled a 290 (has since bowled a 300, no higher score can be done without a handicap) and this was given to him to show it. I made a lighted display for it.
 

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