Saturday, February 22, 2014

Vanity Carcass

Like before, we assembled the carcass once the sides and bottom were finished. We used pocket hole screws to join the pieces. For the plywood, we used #7 Kreg Screws. For the solid hardwood (the nail board, in this case) we used #6 Quick Screws. For both, we used a clutch setting of 12 on the cordless drill.

The pieces we cut from the sides to form the toe kick were cut on a diagonal to serve as corner blocks. Here, too, we used pocket holes.

The next step will be to make a face frame from solid cherry. This will be a rectangular frame, held together with pocket hole screws.

My daughter is helping me with every step. This way, she learns a little bit about how things are made. Even if she doesn't ever make things for herself, she will be a better judge of workmanship. There is, also, a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from making things yourself (the so-called Ikea effect). To be honest, what we are doing is much above assembling pressboard furniture. Better materials, certainly, but it isn't much harder to drill a pocket hole and drive a screw than it is pulling two boards together with a quarter-turn cam.

The biggest difference is, perhaps, in the finishing. We have had to coat the wood with polyurethane and lightly sand between coats. Doing that took all week, really, but only a few minutes per day. Since we used water borne coatings, we get a lot of grain raise on the first couple coats but there isn't any smell and it cures quickly. The first two coats were a flooring poly, with a high solid count. That effectively seals the wood surface. Then a couple thin coats of glossy polyurethane and we're done. Since we use cherry, we don't need to stain anything. In a couple years, these pieces will acquire a rich, red hue.

The nail board, in back, is a scrap piece of finished maple, salvaged from an old mortar board. Since it will be behind the sink bowl, you won't see it. And if you're wondering why we aren't assembling this in my shop, well, I'd rather lug this up one flight of stairs than two.