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Friday, May 29, 2015

My $500 Shelf

This is what happens when you get your first power tool.  You begin to make something and realize you need/want another power tool.  Recently, my dad gave me a scroll saw so that I could make fairy doors (see previous post here).  Pretty quickly, I found that I wanted to cut down the boards before I started in on them with the scroll saw which is typically used on smaller, more intricate projects.  I had a hand held circular saw and a jigsaw but no good way to elevate the material and/or cut safely.  So... my wonderful wife bought me a table saw!!  (She really is the best!)

Now, I can make anything, right?  So I started looking online for projects that would be fun to try out on my table saw and I came across ShowMe Woodworks Youtube video of making a hidden compartment shelf.  He gives most of the dimensions in the video and you can order the plans he used from some magazine.  However, the plans were $8 so I decided to make my own.  Shouldn't be too hard, right?  Well...

I discovered the joys of SketchUp, a free 3D Modeling Software.  Don't tune out! It is VERY easy to use!  There is also a great set of videos on youtube by Rob Cameron that teach you how to use the program very quickly to start making woodworking plans.

After several hours of playing with the software, I was pretty happy with the plans I had drawn. 

Looking back on it, I should have added in a little extra clearance but I can adapt that as I go. 

I went to my local hardware store (trip #1) and bought a nice quality 1"x8"x8' pine board and a sheet of 1/4" plywood ready for projects. I started cutting with my new saw and... Sawdust went every where and my ears were ringing! Another quick trip to the store (trip #2) for a shop vac and the fitting to make it work with the saw, along with eye, ear, and lung protection. Now I look like a super dork when people walk by my garage! An hour later, I figured out that heating up the fitting with a hair dryer was the only way to get it on the saw exhaust. 

Back to cutting up pieces (with my super sexy protective gear). Eventually I was able to learn the benefits of setting the fence of miter and cutting all of the pieces that should be that length. 

All the pieces are cut and I can start nailing them in... I don't have the right finishing nails. To the hardware store! (trip #3) It was a close thing, but I did not buy an air compressor and brad nail gun, mainly because I am running out of room to park the cars now. Instead I buy finishing nails, wood glue, and wood screws to eventually hang it. 

Back at home, I am able to construct the inside box that hangs the floating shelf and hides your stuff. I am pretty pleased with the result but this was the easy part. It is all butt joints, glue, and about twice as many nails as I actually needed. 

On to constructing the out shell that has to look nice. 

Long story short, I ended up spending $500 to make a floating shelf that has a hidden compartment.  I had a great time building it but I could have just gone to IKEA....

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