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So I’ve been at this project for about 6 weeks now, since I bought that first load of wood.  This entertainment center project has kept me busy in the shop, and off the road.  I did find time to film that video review of the bug removal product with Stef, but most of my spare time really has been in the shop.  It’s not all bad though, because look – quail!

They're pretty distracting when they're right outside the window over your workbench.

They’re pretty distracting when they’re right outside the window over your workbench.

But with the time off around Christmas, I’m starting to make some real progress – when I’m able to ignore the quail.


What you see me doing there is measuring for the center section shelves.  With the two end sections completed, I just had the center section to finish before I could start gluing up the case.  The center shelves are panels that will sit between the front and rear rails you see me measuring.  Cutting the panels to size was done on the crosscut jig on the table saw.

I just realized I do that “biting my lips together” thing ALL THE TIME when I’m concentrating on something. Go back and look at the pictures! It’s true!

And with the center section done, there were only a couple more things to do before I could start the glue up.  The first was to cut out rabbets on some of the back rails that will ultimately hold the back on the case.  I did that with two cuts at the table saw.  Since they’re non-through cuts, I removed the splitter, and made sure the tiny offcuts did not fall between the blade and the fence.


The next step is pretty cool.  I used a hand beading tool to add the single bead detail on the front bottom rails.  If you’re not familiar with this tool, basically, I’m just using a piece of metal to scratch the profile I want into the wood.  There’s a “fingernails on the chalkboard” feeling I get when I use this tool, but I love the results.  I get a nice sharp profile that I just can’t get with a router bit.  I just have to pause after every stroke and wait for that spine-shiver thing to pass…


And speaking of routers – I did use my router table to chamfer the bottom ends of the legs.  This way they won’t splinter as easily when they’re set down on things.

End-grain routing with no tear-out? Inconceivable!

I actually can’t stand using routers.  They’re noisy and stupid.  Although, for not liking them at all, I have quite a few (like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and…).  I keep buying them thinking “maybe this one won’t suck.”  But they all do.  None of them work well at all.  Ever.  It couldn’t possibly be me.

One of my favorite woodworking sayings – something I say only to myself because nobody else really talks to me about this stuff – is that the best way to ruin a piece is to take a router to it.  They usually gouge, tear out, or otherwise destroy my projects.  I try to mitigate this by using a router table (which takes away some degrees of freedom error) whenever possible, and using fences, guards, etc.  Here’s the setup I had going just to get those chamfers.

James, tempting Charybdis with a leg from the entertainment center…

But luck was with me that day, and I didn’t destroy any of the legs.  Because starting over on a leg would be terrible at this point.

So now, it’s time to glue up.  When I took inventory of all the pieces I had made, I realized I had done quite a bit.  There was this pile:

Pieces 1And this pile:

Pieces 2And this pile:

Pieces 3

and there are probably some more pieces that I’ve misplaced somewhere.  When I counted them all up, not including the slip tenons, I had over 55 pieces that I had to glue together!  Not only that, there were well over a hundred dominos to glue in as well.  The dominos have a reputation of being very tight in their mortises.  That’s actually a good thing, and it’s what you want in the end product.  But when you’re trying to put 55 pieces together in a hurry, anything (like a tight fitting joint) that makes the process harder or slower is pretty unwelcome.

Obviously, I am going to have to glue this thing together in stages.  That’ll be the focus of next week’s work.