“Mission-in-Progress” or “My First Glue-up!”


UntitledSo this pirates chest toy box… The poor woman made the quote request for an aquarium back in December ’13, made a downpayment for the product in Febrary, knowing I’d be at-sea until the fall. No sweat, right? Wrong. She contacts me some time in May or June and asks me if she can change her order from this really cool ice-cube-tray betafish breeding tank thinger ( I was really excited to build it ) and wanted a pirate themed toy box for her 4 year old buccaneer. No problem, right? Wrong. I offered it to her for the price of her half-down-payment for the complicated aquarium, in the spirit of her being my FIRST customer, and her paying so early, which actually got me through my training for my job, but that’s another story. We figured out this little toybox, and I had it all planned out. Was a pain in my ass for some of the compound angles, but it’s all part of the challenge. So I began work on it, finally this week, and boy have I got a story to tell.

Cut-DiagramSo I sat down and dismantled that sketch, above, into it’s component parts (MAN I love Sketchup, have I mentioned that?) and laid them out. Six or seven redraws later, given the same dimensions of 3′ by 2′ by 2′ (~914mm x ~610mm x ~610mm), approximately, I figured the best way of using the least amount of boards and requiring the least amount of cutting for me… ironically the time it took to DO that cutting actually took more time than I’ve spent on the toy box so far… but that’s another issue entirely. So I got my boards, made the cuts with a circular saw (Still working towards buying my first bench/table saw, and oh what fun can be had THEN) sorta rough, knowing it’d require some inevitable trimming later.

IMG_1531Zip-zip-zip and an interruption from a door-to-door salesman later, I had all the boards cut. 13 in all, 11 of which are shown. 9 measure 3′ (~914mm) for the bottom, front/back, and top, while 4 measure 22″ (~559mm) for the left and right side. 13 boards, no issue, right? Wrong AGAIN!

IMG_1532After laying these out, I discovered an error in my drawings, because of ONE board that was slightly shorter than the others… so now my wall-boards are about an inch (~25mm) too long. Have to trim those down, and only discovered THAT after a dry test-fit. Good thing I’m paranoid!

So anyway, I was about to glue them up when I reached for my bar clamps… then I remembered that I didn’t own any. I knew I had forgotten something. Leave it to ME to steal two or three dozen tools (and some SETS) from my father’s garage, many of IMG_1534which I have not found a use for yet, but seemed to fit my theme, but I didn’t have any long clamps; just some little shear-type spring-clamps. Not going to do much good to use a spring-clamp (Think one of those grip-exercise things with two handles and a spring? Only these have claws, too, like scissors) on a board that measures 2′ (~610mm) across, am I right? This time I actually am… So off to the store with my debit card! Tra-lah-lah-lah.

So I bought the suckers, cast-iron beasts with locking springs that take an “unthreaded rod”, in this case a iron bar with 1/2″ (~12.5mm) inside diameter and a 5/8″ (~16mm) outside diameter. I purchased two at 4′ of the rods, and two sets of heads and feet for the pipe clamp (I keep calling it a BAR clamp, which is actually a different tool, sorry if I don’t catch it every time. I don’t own bar clamps, as it turns out I never did… Pipe clamps is what I own, made of pipes, derp). I can swap out other IMG_1535pipes, of the same exact cross section inside and outside (though only the outside matters, thinner walls make it lighter though less durable). My goal is to have six sets of heads/feet for the clamps, and six lengths of pipe each in increments of 1′ (~305mm) up to 8′ (~2438mm). I can’t imagine ever needing MORE than 6 clamps any more than I can EVER imagine needing more of then at 8′ of length… but for some more complicated glue-ups I’d rather have them than want. I can store the pipes in a rack on the wall sorted by size, grab the right one and presto. 🙂 May colour the ends for easy identification… maybe each colour of the rainbow plus original gunmetal colour? Hey, I don’t need to be gay to express PRIDE (happy recent pride day, btw). As it happens, I believe that even same-sex couples deserve to be just as miserable for the rest of their lives as heterosexual couples when they marry. That said, I love you Sarah.

IMG_1536I… uhh… right. Clamps. Sorry about that. I have the bottom the front (or is it the back?) and one of the two equally identical sides, clamped and glued. A little sanding to get rid of the excess glue, since there’s better too much than too little, and we’re in business! It was damn cold tonight, and my fire went out before I finished, so the cold might have made for a poor joint. I’ll have to run a small squirt of glue into any visible glue-starved joint sections and re-clamp. It’s all good.

I was also careful to have all vertical walls have the same grain direction, so any humidity changes will allow the box to grow a few millimeters or shrink, but not split or crack. I’m not concerned about the base splitting or cracking, since it’s in the bottom of a toybox with the metal feet for spacers…. if it cracks, I’ll make the necessary repairs under the moral warranty. It’s for a 4-year-old, he probably won’t care or notice anyway. Had I had the tools, I’d have made a floating panel in the bottom, but my table/bench saw is next on the agenda. I don’t quite feel skilled-enough with a circular saw to get the proper depth-of-cut on a piece of white pine without ruining it and also ruining my profit margin in the process.

This is meant to look like it was dug-up and stolen from Jack Sparrow himself, so a tiny split will add character. ARRRRR!


Edit: A little boy is trick-or-treating; his mom sends him up to the last house on the last road that they’ll visit for the night, dressed in his Captain Jack Sparrow costume. He lazily rings the doorbell, and a round, jolly-faced woman opens the door and smiles broadly, “Aren’t you so precious! Where’s your buccineers?” The boy looks at her quizically and shouts back, “ON ME BUCCIN’ HEAD!”

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