And They Said The Theatre Was Dead, or Wood Project Number Four: “Travel Home” (Part Five: The Fire Box)

The Photography of Russell J Young

The final piece of the series is the centerpiece, in a way. Although only appearing on-stage for the opening and closing scenes, the fire box was deemed sort of the spiritual center of the story. Given this importance, I figured the light box was the one where I had to get some nice wood and give the design a bit more intricacy.

IMG_0904Above, you can see the materials for the fire box, consisting of four pieces of 2×2, a number of 1x3s, some aluminum foil, and a battery-powered fake-fire bowl.

The first step in the process, after all the pieces were cut to length, was to bevel cut the appropriate edges. This was to give the 1x3s clean, 45 degree meetings with all the pieces in contact. For some, that meant just the ends, while the top and bottom slats required the long edges as well.

Then the 1x3s were attached to the 2x2s, perpendicular, with the 2x2s serving as vertical columns. All the screws I used on this were inset, to make it look nice, yes, and because that’s a good habit to get into.

Next was the lid, which was the same deal, except with the 1x3s connected to another 1×3 down the middle, rather than 2x2s at the end. This, of course, is because there weren’t 2x2s going down the ends. As you can see, everything was the right size, which is mainly because I had good tools to work with, finally, having moved the whole operation into the shared workshop. I can’t imagine how shoddy this would have looked if I was doing all my angled cuts with a free hand jigsaw. *Shudder*

Next I used some of the 3/8″ ply I had left over from other set pieces to make a floor and a false floor for the fire box. The first was so it had something to rest on on the bottom of the box. The second was so the cheap-looking, black plastic “bowl” was not quite so visible. This was accomplished with the help of a few small pieces of 1×3 that I used to hold the false floor at the proper height, since I had no desire to try and drill holes into the edge of the ply.

So that left me with something that, not turned on, looked like this:

IMG_0926Which, you know… is pretty good. The woods nice and all, but what’s up with that yellow cloth in the bowl?

Well, turn on that fire bowl and bam! You get:

IMG_0927Okay, that’s a little better. That looks a little bit like fire. But it’s lacking that oomph. Let’s see what it looks like in the dark:

IMG_0928Much better.

To enhance that glow, we layered the interior with the aluminum foil, to catch and reflect some more of the light and color. Then the outside got a blue paint job, which ideally would have been a little darker blue, closer to a night sky shade, but we were limited in our paints at hand, and the black (if you’ll remember from the table box) didn’t like to play nice.

IMG_0946Then it got some white stars painted on it, which you can see in the final shots at the top and just below:

The Photography of Russell J Young

And that was that. Those are the pieces I built for “Travel Home.” It was a really great experience, something that was both interesting and challenging, and although I didn’t make enough money to retire on, I got to practice with wood on someone else’s dime while helping some very nice people put on a show. Not too shabby.

The Photography of Russell J Young From left to right: Rafa Miguel (Director), Lily Warpinski (Writer/Actor), Rob Lauta (Actor), Garret Conour (Set Design and Construction/Me), Mishelle Apalategui (Actor), Edwin Galvin (Actor), Nadav Hirsh (Lighting Designer)

And They Said The Theatre Was Dead, or Wood Project Number Four: “Travel Home” (Part Four: The Dinge Box)

The Photography of Russell J Young

Because “Travel Home” is a show that deals with the homeless, it made sense to have a box that felt like something you’d find on the streets. Not pristine lumber, discolored, maybe a little broken, and certainly not just a cube.

The construction of this box was fairly straightforward. It was, in fact, thrown together in probably 45 minutes as I rushed to be home from the shop by a given time for I don’t remember what. Every piece was scrap I’d already collected, so the design was very much influenced by the pieces I had. I was inspired to do the two-tier design after watching a rehearsal. They were using folding chairs as prop stand-ins, and Michelle, the actress most connected with the piece, gave her speech with one foot on the seat of the chair, and the other atop the back of it. So both levels needed to be load bearing, which was no problem.

For decorations, we didn’t want to paint it as well as the others. The plywood surfaces, with white splotches already on one of them, made good candidates for some more white. The red-brown walls got some more red-brown paint on it to make it look a little less like wood, texture-wise, along with some splotches of sickly green. The top level also got a nice pile of red-brown, which tried hard into a strange lump.

Then we added some accoutrements, to give it a kind of personal feel. These included the stuffed bird, which stood in for the character’s imaginary seagull friend “Billy,” an old orange bag, a sprig of fake plant, and an old clock chain. The chain actually came off of a clock I inherited from my grandparents. The wood glue, very very old, had failed, and the chain no longer attached to the clock itself. I didn’t want to throw it away, so it was great to find a use for it that would keep it alive and ticking (so to speak). The chain was also great for a scene in which Michelle dragged the box across the stage in the dark, using a string run through two drilled holes. As she pulled it, it scraped the ground and thumped, clanking in the chain, and making things a bit eerie.

And yeah, that’s all for that one.

The Photography of Russell J Young

And They Said The Theatre Was Dead, or Wood Project Number Four: “Travel Home” (Part Three: The Chest… Box)

The Photography of Russell J Young

“So what is this one going to be?” I was asked by another gentleman at the workshop.

“Well, still working on the set. This one’s a fake chest.”

“Isn’t it just a chest?” he asked.

“You know, I guess it is.”


So yeah. This box is actually a chest. But it also ends up being a couch too. And a refrigerator. Fake ones. But a real chest.



I’m not sure why this piece is so poorly documented, but I’m going to throw you in part of the way here. The frame of the chest is made out of 2x2s cut to size. I built the end squares first, then added the long connecting pieces from there. The plywood is 3/8″, which is, as it was with the others, the cheapest, thinnest I could get. The dimensions are 2′x2′x4′, which, in retrospect, was much too big. Something closer to 16″x12″x4′ or something like that would probably have been a little better. I think the size as it was worked well on the stage, but made for unwieldy transitions for the actors.

Then I finished skinning the long edges, although I only have a picture of the first edge.


Next was to put a band of 1x3s along all the edges, to give it that trunk-like, leather-edge kind of look, and to hide the edge seams of the plywood. So these were 45 degree angle cut on the connecting edges to hide all the end grains, which you can kind of see in the first picture in the slideshow.

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Next was to put handles on the ends and one on the lid for carrying and opening respectively. I cut those out with a jigsaw after having drilled starter holes (no starter for the handle, course).

Then, using a very conveniently left-behind hinge that was lying around the workshop, I attached the lid, simple as that.

Then we painted it. The “leather bands” were black, because that’s how I always think of chests, and the sides were brown, because of the same. The lid we painted the sickly motel green, for when it needs to be a fridge.

You can probably make out in the very first picture of the post that a black pillow was attached to the underside of the lid for couch mode. This was a stand-in for dress rehearsal until we found more suitable ones. Which we did, but not in time for fancy pictures.

The Photography of Russell J Young

And They Said The Theatre Was Dead, or Wood Project Number Four: “Travel Home” (Part Two: The Table Box)

Part Two: The Table BoxThe Photography of Russell J YoungThe Table Box is so named because, natch, it was a table. But it also served the unlikely second role of a car. The front of it, at least. The rest was left up to the imagination. Hence the curved shape, which made it slightly more car like, and helped give some variety to an otherwise very square collection of set pieces.

The Table Box was, for the most part, a fairly simple build. The frame is build from scrap. Mostly 2x4s but also a couple, uhm, 2x6s maybe? Four vertical pieces and a square at the top and bottom. I didn’t quite have long enough scrap pieces for the fourth leg, so I rigged up a connecter for two pieces of wood to become one leg. Ideally smaller pieces would have been used, as it didn’t really require the stability of 2x4s, but it wasn’t quite as unwieldy as the Wall Box turned out.

The table top is a piece of, I believe, 1/2″ plywood. The other sides are all 1/4″ ply. All of that was, again, scrap. I did what I could to use as much scrap as possible to cut down on costs as I was working with a $200 budget. Because of the size of pieces I needed, scrap didn’t work for everything, but some things, at least.

I don’t have pictures showing this in an unpainted state, but I did put a matching curved piece on the back as well as rectangular pieces closing in the sides.

For the painting, we used a few colors. In table mode, we wanted it black, so one curved side and the top are painted in black. The black paint we had caused some problems, as it was thick, incredibly sticky, frighteningly noxious, sloooowwww to dry, and once dry: very shiny. A careful look at the almost obscured by paint label revealed that this was all likely because the pain was a machine enamel, rather than wood paint. Oops. It gave the thing a nice, laminated smoothness once dry though, and even the shine worked out okay. The side panels were white, for no particular reason. The car side was red, because red is a bitchin’ color for a car, of course.

If you’re wondering what the hell’s up with the tap lights, well, they’re headlights. The car-ness was further enhanced by the addition of a rectangular, uneven metal “grill,” which can be seen in the action shot below of the finished product.

The Photography of Russell J Young

And They Said The Theatre Was Dead, or Wood Project Number Four: “Travel Home” (Intro and Part One: The Wall Box)

The Photography of Russell J Young

One advantage of having done something once is that it makes it easier to convince people to let you do it again. That is, as far as I can tell, the only sensible reason why someone would have hired me to build the set for their play. As I may or may not have mentioned in the intro post on this blog, I spent several months last years volunteering at a local high school helping build the set for their fall play. I was able to parlay that experience and, I guess, my natural charm and striking good looks, into a job designing and building the set for a small production here in Portland, “Travel Home,” an original play written by Lily Warpinski and directed by Rafael Miguel, who together make up the group The Honest Liars.

The set consists of five stylized boxes that, along with a couple chairs, stand in for all the required objects. Because of the size of the project, I’ll break it up into five posts, one for each box.

Box One: The Wall Box

The Photography of Russell J Young

The Wall Box had two initial purposes, then had a third one added in during tech week. Obviously, one of those purposes was to be a wall that someone could lean against. The second purpose was a bed, on account of its shape. The third purpose, which is more of a second and a half purpose, was to be a sideways wall to be sat on.

Because the bed role meant the Wall Box had to be load-bearing, I built the frame out of 2x4s. This made it crazy heavy, unfortunately, but the actors (who had to run the set changes) handled it pretty admirably. That process, shown in the slideshow immediately below, was fairly straightforward, the only semi-noteworthy aspect probably being the beam across the middle, which was needed to have the 2x4s no more than three feet apart.

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The next step was to skin the wall with plywood. On the top, I went with 1/2″, again because of the load bearing. I had to add a bit of support underneath one half though, as I needed to use two pieces of plywood for the surface and had a seam that caused considerable bending.

The left side, facing the wall, took a bit more work than simply skinning with plywood. But it was more fun. To work the bed angle a bit, the producers wanted me to use two panels they’d picked up at a scrap store. Those are the pale-green rectangular guys you’ll see in the pictures below. To fill the space between them, I decided to built a replica panel. This was made out of 1x3s cut to size for the frame, and a piece of scrap 1/4″ plywood I had lying around. I used a table saw to cut the slot in the 1x3s that the plywood slips into. Then I attached the four pieces straight onto the frame without connecting them to each other in any way, which was enough to keep everything in place and correctly shaped. A pair of small wooden knobs were attached later, and can be seen in the action shots if you look closely.

The back I left open, to save on weight and cost and make it a little easier to grab. The other three sides (top, bottom, and right [facing the wall]) were 3/8″ plywood, the thinnest plywood I could get for cheap at the hardware store I was frequenting. I also cut handles into the two vertical sides to help with moving. Later, during tech, I added handles to the other two sides as well.

So that left me with the constructed but naked finished product you can see from all angles here:

For painting the wall, the most important thing was for the face to be brick. To do this, I painted a rough white grid across the front. Then we put painters tape over top the white and painted the brick-like “Mexicana Brown” (or something) on top. Once the tape came off: voila, bricks. For the “fake” panel, we conveniently had a shade of green in our free, scavanged paint collection that was exactly the same green that the panels had come already painted in. So we used that. The other three sides are a gray paint with some green and yellow mixed in. I don’t have a good picture of just the finished front brick, but you can see it in the action shot near the top.

The Photography of Russell J YoungThe last matter was attaching a curtain of black cloth that would fall over the front to hide the brick when the Wall Box was either on the side of the stage or serving as a bed, which didn’t always work perfectly, but well enough, I think.



And that was that for the Wall Box.

The Photography of Russell J Young



Deigning To Speak To Me, or Interview Number One: Joshua Winkley of Maple Tree Cabinetmakers


Let’s just say that you actually read the “About” section of this here blog. First off, thanks. Even I didn’t read the “About” section. Second off, on the off chance that you remember what it said, you may very well be pissed at me. “I was promised interviews and researched essays!” you shout at me, because you’re a very passionate fan, you.

Well I’m sorry that I let you down. But now I’m going to remedy at least part of that as-yet-unfulfilled promise I made to you. I present below the inaugural interview here at Dovetail Joinery.

chester_ct_plumbing_services_and_plumbersThe subject: one Joshua Winkley of Maple Tree Cabinetmakers, who plies his trade in picturesque Chester, Connecticut. The two of us connected via our shared love of an oft-maligned improvisational rock band from Vermont as expressed in a blog comment section. I mentioned my burgeoning hobby in the comments, in the hopes that people might be interested in checking out the whole thing I’m putting together here. Josh mentioned his own status in the trade and I reached out for an interview, which he graciously agreed to. So I emailed him a number of questions, which he answered. Those answers are below. My questions are in bold, because I’m more important.

1. Starting at the very beginning, when and why did you get involved in woodworking?

I had always dreamed of being an architect.  But when I chose a liberal arts college that did not offer an architectural, I went for the practical route of economics.  Well I hated it and ended my senior year with the only sense of direction being as far away from an office or banking as possible.    My older brother, who had been building things with wood since he was a young kid, was a self employed carpenter and landed a nice addition that summer.  So I figured what the hell and went to work with him.  I never thought I would work with my hands for a living but loved the experience.  At the end of the summer, we had to build a set of maple kitchen cabinets for the addition.  We had a makeshift shop in my parents garage.  My brother gave me the job of building all the doors.  I had no clue what I was doing.  And my brother wasn’t much help as he tackled the boxes, face frames, and drawers.  But we pushed through and got it done.  It was around this time that I stumbled upon Fine Woodworking magazine.   I realized quickly that working with wood was what I was going to do for a living.  I just didn’t know in what way.  So I played carpenter for a few years with my brother, volunteering for every built-in or kitchen I could.

row_house_kitchen_022. What was your “career arc,” so to speak? At what point did you decide you were ready to do this for a living, and how did you know you were ready?

Well, I loved being a carpenter but was mesmerized by the amazing works of art I saw in Fine Woodworking and other magazines.  I wanted to learn how to cut dovetails, make mortise and tenon joints by hand, tune a plane, and shape wood.  But it was not a practical job for me at the time.  My brother and I were rolling pretty good with his remodeling business and I saw an opportunity for a decent living as a carpenter.  But as time went on, I was drawn to the shop.  After a couple of years as a carpenter I said screw it and quit my job.  I figured at that point I had to go for it or stop dreaming.  So I applied for every decent job in a woodworking shop I could find.  I landed in a custom shop that built all kinds of cool stuff.  My first experience in a real shop and I loved it.

3. What’s your procedure like for working on a project? Where and how do you get your ideas? Do you find you create/change your ideas in the drawing process? How much planning/drawing do you do before you start actually handling wood? Do you find you have to or want to change your plans in the middle? How often do you run into unforeseen problems in your plans?

My ideas come from everywhere, literally.   Pictures on the internet, magazines, past experiences, other woodworkers, friends, family, etc…  I mostly design and build custom kitchen cabinets and built ins, which means the projects need to fit a specific space and serve a unique need.   Every project I do is tailored to the clients taste, their home, their budget, and whatever other parameters are present.  So my design process starts with those parameters.  I have a basic set of guidelines I use for my projects and try not to reinvent the wheel every time, but i end up doing so more often than I’d like.  I used to design just by hand sketching and then onto hand drawing.  But now I hash out concepts quickly by hand and then go right to a program called CabinetVision.  It is a solid modeling program that enables me to engineer my projects 3 dimensionally and then present drawings utilizing typical CAD tools. The great thing about the software is that it gives me cutlists and material needs.  For a kitchen that has hundreds of parts of all shapes and sizes, I find it essential.  I have an extensive design process with my clients.  Once we agree on what is being built, I finalize shop drawings and that is it.  We are off to the races.  I try hard to hash everything out before I build and make sure all site conditions are taken into account .  Carpenters usually work off of my plans to prepare the site, so the plans need to be spot on or else we all suffer.

4. How do you feel about the differences in doing projects for yourself versus doing projects for customers? Are there major limitations or benefits either way?

I struggle to build stuff for myself.  I can’t make up my mind.  I love having a problem to solve for other people.  Much easier.  I have too many ideas and am too much of a perfectionist.  I have sketchbooks filled with curious ideas that I’d love to build some day.  I guess that is what retirement is for.

Limitations to working with a client would be budget and their tastes.  But those are also benefits.  They force me to be creative and solve problems, which I love doing.  I find designing solely for myself to be somewhat of an empty process to be honest.  Like Phish playing to an empty house.    Yet I have some crazy ideas that no customer would even know they want unless I built it first…

5. What are your favorite kinds of projects? Presumably you work mainly in cabinetry, but are there other types of things you enjoy building as much or more?

I love designing and making kitchens.  They are the heart of the home and what people use every day.  I get a kick out of helping people create meaningful spaces for their families.   Aside from that, I like building just about anything in the shop.  If it challenges me, all the better.  If it has beautiful wood, bonus.


6. What project would you point to as being your “best”? That could mean the process or the product.

Three years ago I completed an extensive project for a home that included a kitchen, vanities, living room built-ins, bedroom built-ins, and architectural millwork.  The project was designed by an architect and had a very modern design.  Lots of veneer work, no room for error.  It pushed me to the limits, both skill and sanity.   Up to that point I had never worked with veneers, and this one had it everywhere.  I also had to design custom knife hinges for all the doors.  Modern designs look simple but of course are the most difficult to carry out.  Life changing experience for me.

Here is a link to some pictures of the kitchen.
7. Conversely, what project would you point to as being your “worst”? Again, that could mean the process or the product, but I’d probably be more interested in the process. To put it another way: share a horror story.

Interestingly, that project I also considered my worst as I lost my shirt financially and it damn near drove me insane.  I ended up closing my doors for a year right after.  Working 80 hour weeks for 2 months doing the most technical work of my career to meet an unreasonable deadline that I agreed to will do that.
It culminated in a 36 hour straight work stretch where I had to get a set of cabinets ready for installation so countertops could be templated.  Otherwise, more delays.  During this stretch, I fell asleep at the wheel of my truck while towing my trailer.  Thankfully, I only blew out a couple of tires with minor damage to the truck and trailer.  Thankfully I did not have any cabinets in the trailer either.
But it all worked out, I was just a little freaked out.

painted-colonial-style-corner-cabinet--Mjk4LTY5MzAuNDE5NjU=8. What project(s) are you working on right now?

Cool thing is I am in the middle of phase 2 on the above project.  The master bedroom suite – beds, deluxe vanities, closets, cool built-ins, etc.

9. What project(s) do you have planned for the future?

Busy year for me.  I have 4 kitchens on the books, a credenza, a set of living room built-ins, and another master bedroom.  I feel fortunate if not a tad over booked.

10. Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting to get into woodworking?

The best advice I could give is to constantly challenge yourself.  Choose projects that push your limits.  Those are the ones that teach the most.  You are doing another bit of advice that I would give,  which is talk to other woodworkers.

11. Are there any woodworkers out there whose work you particularly admire?

Hank Gilpin has inspired me more than any woodworker.  Hands down.  I could go on and on about his furniture and why I love it.  But the most endearing aspect of his work is his sole use of local woods – any and all.  What he does with them is mesmerizing.  His work is also very subtle, doesn’t hit you over the head but when you really look close the details are striking.  All kinds of influences in his work, yet very unique.  Good old fashioned joinery, no veneer, and enough flair to make it real interesting.

12. Do you have a favorite wood?
Today it would be Walnut.  I love the color, the workability, the character, and the way it takes a finish.

13. What about a favorite tool?

My Lie-Nielson low angle block plane has been with for many years.  I use it for everything…
As far as power tools, I am falling hard for my Festool Domino.  Really versatile, one of a kind tool.
A260574258And that’s all he wrote. It was a pleasure chatting with Josh, and I, at least, learned something. Buy something from him, just to make this whole thing worth his time. Again, his website is here. Hopefully I’ll have more interviews to present soon.

They’ll Pay Me To Do This?, Or Wood Project Number Three: The Stereo Cabinet (Part Two [The Final Part])

The Nearly There One

The Nearly There One

So this post is going to cram a lot of things into a small amount of space because I had to rush a bit to finish the stereo cabinet in time to drive it down to California over the holidays. That meant I didn’t document the process particularly well, and that I didn’t have time to post anything when it was all still fresh in my mind. So that means I’m going to keep this fairly short.

The main point is: I finished the thing. And it turned out, well, pretty good. Definitely not perfect, definitely not something I’d stick in a showroom, but definitely something I was brought to hand over to my father. And I learned quite a bit as well.

So when I left off last time, all I had was a bunch of 1x2s cut to length and sanded. That is, of course, many steps shy of a finished stereo cabinet. I’ll do my best to recount my steps, and maybe pair things with pictures, but due to the aforementioned poor documentation I won’t have pictures for everything and might get some ordering wrong. But anyways, here goes:

The next step was to take the sized and sanded 1x2s and mostly assemble them. First was to make the tops and bottoms of the crates, which meant screwing the 6″ slats into the 14″ ones. In order to minimize the visibility of the screws, the bottoms of the crates have screws going from the 14″ up into the 6″ and the tops of the crates of them going from the 6″ up into the 14″. Which is to say that the screws stay on the bottom. Then I attached one wall of 16″ pieces. Each crate had the inside wall (the wall that attaches to the body of the cabinet) installed. I didn’t install the outside wall because I needed to put a screw through the inside wall into the cabinet body and couldn’t fit the drill between the inside and outside walls.

The First Coat

The First Coat

So then my next step was to apply the finish to the partial crates I’d just finished. This was a relatively straightforward process, only made slightly difficult by the need to rotate the thing while keeping all the wet bits undisturbed. But after what I think is the first coat, they looked a little something like the accompanying picture. As the crates are retaining their natural wood color, I used an uncolored polyurethane finish. Already you can tell a pretty substantial difference between that and the naked wood in the pictures above, which means it’s not really the natural wood color, but close enough.

While I was waiting for that coat to dry, I started in on the stereo cabinet body for the first time. My first step was cutting out part of the back wall of the cabinet to allow cord access. I given all the right angles in the rest of the project, I decided to round the hole a bit. The asymmetry is because, while the bottom part needs to go all the way to where the “ground” of the bottom shelf is, the top part doesn’t need to go all the way to the “roof” of the top shelf. I could have made it symmetric, but erred on the side of stability for the wood. The last thing I need was the whole piece to snap in half because the hole was too big. So using my straight edge and the bottom of my coffee mug, I drew the lines, then drilled some starting holes, then jigsawed out the hole.

The Partial Struts

The Partial Struts

Next, now that I had partly assembled crates, I cut my diagonal supports. That meant, first, cutting a 45ish degree angle at one end, then sort of eyeballing the length by leaning it up against the partial crates. I ended up making the struts too short, though I’m not sure why. The accompanying picture only shows the first cut. (You can also see the siding strips being flattened as well. Spoiler alert. Kind of.)

Oh, and somewhere in this whole process I realized that, while 4x4s are actually 3.5″x3.5″, and 2x4s are actually 1.5″x3.5″, 1x2s are not .5″x1.5″, but rather .75″x1.5″. This was frustrating, because it both decreased the vertical size of the crates, making records fit a bit more snugly than planned, and meant that 7″ long back wall slats would be shy of the 7.5″ they actually needed to cover. Since I didn’t want to buy a new 8′ 1×2 to make 12 7.5″ slats, I used some of my leftover 1x2s to make only 6 7.5″ slats, which retains functionality as a back wall, and actually maybe decluttered the whole thing a bit.

Next I did something that was entirely new for me. I applied the lining to the plywood to make the wood look not like plywood, but like solid sheets. This was accomplished, as recommended at the hardware store, with the help of an iron, which was almost obscenely easy. Step 1: Heat iron. Step 2: Flatten lining. Step 3: There isn’t one.

As you can see in the picture comparing the lined side with the unlined ply-visible side, these things rock. To get it to that quality I did have to sand down the overhanging bits (the strip is wider than the plywood) and the surface of the lining. This ended up causing some problems for me, actually. See, I’d already done my three grits of sanding on the plywood before applying the lining. That meant that, when I inevitably sanded some of the surface in the process of sanding the lining, I ended scratches and more worn patches near the edges that the eventual stain application made sure to highlight like it was using a big neon arrow. This was a little less noticeable once the second coat was applied, but still definitely apparent. Not in the pictures, maybe, but in person absolutely.

After applying the lining to all the plywood edges that would be visible, I did a whole lot of finishing, some of which can be seen in these pictures. I’ve done my best to figure out where in the process these are from, but I’m not sure. Anyways, as mentioned, the crates are done in an uncolored polyurethane while the plywood body of the cabinet is getting a polyurethane/antique walnut stain combo.

A last minute moving up of departure date meant that my carefully planned finishing/drying/assembly tightrope walk was thrown in a mixed-metaphor blender and spit out in a much more compact form that precluded taking pictures. So just believe me when I say that I stained/finished everything, assembled everything of the body but the top two shelves, and attached the partial shelves with struts, then shoved the whole thing into my girlfriends car at about 11:30 PM. The noteworthy thing in the assembly, I guess, is that the crates are attached by two sets of screws from the inside of the body out into each vertical slat. And that the screws that attach the struts to the body also hold up that bottom shelf. I took these mysterious, suspense building pictures from the inside of the car to give my father a tantalizing glimpse of the piece of furniture that was about to travel across state lines for him.

The Thor-ish One

The Thor-ish One

It’s a miracle we actually finished the journey in one piece, as the fumes from not quite totally dry stain and finish were absolutely having a mind altering effect on the lady friend and myself. But we did, allowing me to set up the partially finished cabinet in her father’s garage and take this slightly more illustrative picture in which the thing looks a bit like Thor’s helmet (at least in my father’s opinion). Now I had some more time to finish up the rest of the assembly, which at this point meant two more shelves, the back of the cabinet, the rest of the crates, and the wheels.


The Wheel Options

The Wheel Options

I don’t know if I mentioned the wheels already or not, although I know they showed up in the plan shown in Part One. The accompanying picture is from the store and was sent to my father to decide which size we wanted. The bottom ones, 3″ in diameter, were chosen based to a large degree on price. They’re hard black rubber, and two out of the four purchased had brakes. No reason for all four to be the more expensive braked ones, but only one brake just wouldn’t do for keeping it still.

Next (and almost last, I promise!) was finishing up assembly, which was pretty straight-forward, really. The only thing of note, I think, is that I added another set of screws to support the crates that also held up the top shelf. Other than that it was just a matter of attaching things. The wheels couldn’t go on quite yet, since then the thing wouldn’t have fit in the car to be transported to my father’s house, but I did mark and drill starter holes prior to transport before actually attaching the wheels on the side of the street outside his house. But nearly finished it looked like this:

All that left was delivery and wheel attachment, both of which went off without a hitch. So fully, finally finished, I’d turned out this handsome gentleman:

Someday he’ll actually have a record player and records to put in it too. Hopefully the crates will hold…