Last time around, the initial design had been loosely figured out and the first few cuts had been made.
I wish I had spent more time in the design phase, as I discovered that a number of things didn’t go “according to plan”. It has all worked out in the end, but I probably could saved a few headaches with some very detailed blueprints to work off of. I had also planned on building a cardboard mockup, but that got shelved for some reason or other. Moral of the story, spending more time in design will result in less time in development.
Without a set plan, I ended up building the base first and then building up from there. It wasn’t until the very end that I actually decided how tall the cabinet was going to be. I also ended up designing the control panel layout at the very end. My first cabinet went smoother in those regards, because I had used someone else’s design (with blueprints) for the most part. I think I also had a full model in Sketchup with dimensions.
Exhibit A: The Base
I had borrowed the ideas of this base from ChanceKJ’s thread (he actually got it from another forum user). Wheels are important for moving these heavy beasts around. But you also don’t want it to move around too much, so the feet add some stability. This ends up with a cabinet that you can tip back, roll, and set somewhere else. Also, given that I have had to rearrange furniture between rooms so damned much in our house, I knew I better put some wheels on it.
Unfortunately, sourcing the specific leveler feet I wanted and finding matching plates took way more effort than one would think. The wheels required a somewhat complicated apparatus to get them attached just right too.
After getting them all done, I decided to paint. Bravo! Something done!
Remember that bit about not having printed blueprints? Yep, it came to bite me in the butt here. Somewhere along the way, I had attached the wheels and legs to the shorter sides of the base (picture on the left). Of course, I didn’t discover that until after I had it fully assembled and painted. If our teen hadn’t been standing right there when it dawned on me, there would have been a lot of cussing and probably throwing things. Instead, I tried to keep my calm. Quit for the day, and brooded the rest.
It was a depressing moment, having spent all that time. I thought I would have to start from scratch again. After a day or two breather, I started thinking I could just remove most of the boards, redo it, without scrapping the whole thing. Which netted the picture on the right. Not super pretty, but it’s on the bottom of the cabinet and no one will ever see it.
Lesson learned. Don’t paint until all my woodworking bits are done. Which is how I proceeded for the rest of the project.
blocking / coin door cut
rear access door
template / cutting vent holes
rear access door w/hardware
jumping through hoops to get a volume control knob
solution for holding plexiglass in place
mount for removable control panel (cp), getting the cp lined up
things finally shaping up
last pic as boards get labelled and the whole thing gets dissembled for painting
Slew of pictures there representing months of labor. The base was the biggest mistake I made, but didn’t set me back too badly. I also had another day where nothing seemed to be going right, and I broke a piece of board. Again, recoverable.
Along the way, I learned about and how to use “pocket holes”.
Had I known that piece of wizardry and how simple it is, I probably would have changed the design a bit and cut out most of the blocking/support pieces I used. Streamlining quite a bit.
I’m still not happy with the method I used for supporting the access doors and am currently contemplating picking up some l-shaped aluminum bracket to try out a sleeker method.
Along the way, I also had an orbital sander, corner sander, and drill go out on me. Two of them were used on my first cabinet, so it’s not surprising given their age.
Oh yea, remember when I initially said “I have the controls from the first cabinet still, all I have to buy is some wood?!”. WRONG. I’ve bought tools, materials, new controls, and made so many trips to the local hardware store almost every weekend. I’ve totally lost track of how much this thing has cost me, but it’s been a lot.
Good tools are essential for something like this though, and I’d probably do a whole post on just tools. I found a good compact circular saw, a sawboard (you can make one yourself), jigsaw, router, clamps, combo square, and shop vac to be invaluable. One the combo square, I had read a bunch of negative reviews on Amazon that dissuaded me. I ended up picking one up from the local hardware store anyways, late in the game, but I used that thing almost every single day since. Really wish I had gotten one early on. Same with the shop vac. This sort of project creates a ton of dust, and attaching some tools to a shop vac (don’t get me started on adapters and hoses) will severely cut down the mess. Also handy for just cleaning up afterwards.
At this point I had wrapped up woodworking. I made a few mistakes, re-learned some things I forgot, and felt like I learned a good deal of new things. I was kind of relieved to be done with this stage, as screw ups can be costly in time and materials. I’m currently finishing up the last of the paint stages, which took a really long time as well. But more on that next time, as I tackle “Painting and Sanding!”.