Movie: Burn After Reading

N. and I got a sitter on Friday (Hi, Catie!) and went to the movies. We saw the new Coen brothers movie, “Burn After Reading.” I liked it. It’s a pretty dark comedy: almost all of the characters are despicable in one way or another, but the actors did such a great job that I was still invested in what happened to them. I thought the cast was great.

I’m getting a late start today because after E. and I ended up sleeping in this morning. E. work up to nurse at 6:30am but then he (and I) went back to sleep until 10:30am. I think his body is tired from trying to get over his cold. *Yawn* I know mine is.

I really enjoyed sleeping in, but now I feel like the whole day is almost over and I’m trying to catch up. I was planning on going to to lumberyard today to get some supplies, but it will probably have to wait until tomorrow. I don’t think I mentioned it, but I’m taking that community education woodworking class again. I wasn’t sure if I was going to, but N. encouraged me to do it and so I signed up. Class started last week.

We literally don’t have any more room in our house for another big piece of furniture so I decided to make some some small projects for Christmas presents. I have to admit, I really enjoy taking this class and having dedicated time every week to work on a hobby. It’s a lot of fun.

Now I need to go shower and then drive to the post office to pay my quarterly estimated tax payment. Ugh. The joys of being self employed!

Project Update: Armoire Completed!

I want to say ‘thanks’ to several people who helped me with this project. The biggest help was N, of course. He was so supportive and cheerfully spent the last 10 Wednesday nights at home with E. while I’ve been at class. I’ve really enjoyed becoming a mom and staying home with E. while working part time from home, and I think one of the things that has made the transition easier is that for one evening a week I was able work on a hobby I enjoy and to relax by myself. N. was very encouraging about me taking the class, which I really appreciated.

My instructor was a HUGE help. I’ve taken the class on and off again for about 5 years and I think that sometimes he gives me a little special treatment. This time I needed about 3 extra hours to be able to get the armoire finished and so he let me come in on Tuesday morning during one of the degree program classes to work on the shop.

My mom (who was visiting my sister Jan this week) and Jan watched E. on Tuesday morning so I could go work in the shop.

My in-laws were also a big help. My mother-in-law came over a couple of times to watch E. while I went to the lumberyard for supplies and my father-in-law helped me (as he often does) bring home the armoire in his SUV.

So, here are some pictures of the finished (still need to add handles!) armoire:

Well, that’s it! Overall, I’m pleased with how it turned out. I felt like my woodworking skills improved noticeably this semester. I used some tools I hadn’t used before and was more comfortable with ones I’ve used before.

Below is a slideshow of pictures I took during the course of building the armoire.

Project Update 5: Armoire

This week has gone by very quickly – it’s hard to believe that it’s time to go to woodworking again tonight. Here are some pictures from last week. Last week I glued the face frame onto the cabinet and also cut the lumber for the doors to size and sanded them.

First I applied wood glue to the entire surface of the cabinet where the face frame will be attached. (Wood glue is super strong. Once it’s completely dry, wood glue is stronger than wood.)
A close-up of my lovely glue-applying technique:

Then I laid the face frame down on the cabinet and started clamping them together. My instructor helped with this part. The face frame is somewhat flexible and to ensure a good fit to the box we would clamp it in one spot, tug the next bit into place, and then clamp it again.

After I got the clamps set up, I measured and cut the stiles and rails for my doors. Tonight I have to rout out grooves in the stiles and rails so I can add the panels and glue the doors together. Then I need to sand the doors smooth, drill the holes for the adjustable shelves, apply a wood laminate edge to the adjustable shelves, and maybe add some molding to the top of the armoire–you know, if there’s time. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get all of that done tonight, but I’m going to try my hardest!

Project Update 4: Armoire

Class went pretty well on Wednesday. One of the reasons I enjoy taking this class is that it gives me access I wouldn’t otherwise have to expensive professional grade tools. On Wednesday, I used a couple of these tools to put together the face frame of the armoire. The face frame is attached to the front of the armoire to give it stability and a nice finished look.

First I cut the pieces I needed to exact size and lightly sanded them using the huge belt sander at the shop.
Then I drilled pocket screw holes in the ends of the cross pieces. This machine, shown below, is really neat. It similtaniously drills a hole in the end of the piece of wood and also routes out an angled hole so you can drill a screw into the wood and it won’t poke out of the board.

Then I screwed the cross pieces (putting glue on the ends) to the side pieces and ta-da, we have a face frame!

The last step was sanding the face frame smooth. For that I again used the huge belt sander in the shop. I LOVE this machine. The face frame is really wide, about 41 inches (it barely fit in the sander) and it would have been really difficult to sand it smooth by hand. This sander is also great for sanding tabletops and things like that.

Well, that’s all I got accomplished this last week. There are only 3 more weeks of class left! I’m going to have to modify my original design if I want a chance of finishing on time. I’m not going to make drawers any more; I’m just going to make two long doors and have shelves inside. With the change in my plans, I’ll hopefully be able to finish on time. I guess we’ll see!

Project Update 3: Armoire

Class this week was pretty productive. To save time and money, I had bought a 8′ by 4′ piece of walnut MDF to use for the shelves inside the armoire. On Wednesday I used the panel saw to cut the MDF to width (below) and then I ripped lengths on the table saw.

And then, I glued the main frame of the armoire together!

This is the fixed shelf that I cut the dadoes for before.

Project Update 2: Armoire

It’s almost 11:30 am; and I’ve been up since before 6 am and have yet to shower! I have however, gotten a big chunk of my reports for work done though. Instead of going back to bed after I fed E. early this morning I went downstairs and worked on my reports while he (and N.) continued to sleep.

I had to work on things this morning because while the weekend turned out to be relaxing, it was not productive at all (unless you count watching a two-hour marathon of The Women of Ninja Warrior as productive.)

Anyway, I’ve gotten to a good stopping point in my work and E. is taking a nap, and so I thought I would put together an update on the armoire I’m building.

Class on Wednesday was a little frustrating due to my sloppy project planning. I spent 15 minutes agonizing over the length of the legs of the armoire because they “looked too tall.” I ended up trimming 2 inches off of them and now feel better about the legs but worse about my planning skills. Oh well.

The only other thing I accomplished at class this last week was that I cut the dadoes where the fixed shelves will go. There will be fixed boards at the top, bottom, and middle of the armoire; these are essentially what holds the armoire together to form a box. I had to cut dadoes, or grooves, into the two sides where the shelves will be glued in. It’s very important that the dadoes on both sides are exactly parallel (or as close as possible) so the shelves will be level when they’re glued in. I positioned the sides using a stop block and clamps to make sure I was cutting the dadoes in the same place on both sides. I used a panel router to cut the dadoes, which you can see below.

The cut dado is circled in yellow in the picture below.

There’s no class this week because of Spring Break, but next week I’ll glue in the shelves to form the main box of the armoire, which should be pretty exciting.

I just checked–E.’s still sleeping (yay!) and so I’m going to hop in the shower. At least I’ll get it in before noon!

Project Update 1: Armoire

Woodworking went really well this last Wednesday. I made a lot of progress, even though I spent too much time dithering about some of the dimensions. As you can see below, my plans aren’t super-detailed. I’m pretty visually-minded, and so it’s hard for me to decide what the dimensions should be from my lovely not-to-scale drawing.

Last week I sanded smooth and cut to size the 4 long pieces and 6 short pieces that will make up the side panels of the armoire. You can see how they fit together in the lower right corner of the plans. This week I used a router to cut the profiles and the grooves of these pieces so they can fit together.
My instructor found a spare piece of walnut laminate that he said I could use for the panels. It’s not solid wood, but it has a real walnut veneer on the front. The dimensions of the laminate panels determine the overall dimensions of the sides of the armoire, and so I put a side together to help get an idea of what I wanted the overall dimensions to be. It took me entirely too long, but I finally decided that the legs should be 7 1/2 inches tall. (I know, I know–7 1/2 is SO MUCH better than 8 or 7 inches! I’m glad you agree.) So I cut the laminate to size.

And then I glued the whole thing together. There was only enough time left in class to glue one side; I’ll have to do the other side next time. Even though I only got one side together, I was pleased with the progress I made this week. It usually takes me longer to get to this point and so it’s satisfying to have a side put together already. It’s makes it seem more like a piece of furniture in progress instead of a pile of sticks.

Next week: making the top and bottom of the armoire.

Project: Pie Safe/Armoire

I really enjoy woodworking. I’ve taken an evening class at a local college off and on for the last couple of years. It’s a great class; students can work on whatever they want, the shop has professional grade tools and machinery, and the instructor’s great. I like the fact that I can go to class once a week, work on my project with all of the tools there, and then leave all of my stuff at the shop and come home. I don’t have to drag stuff back and forth or find room in my garage for a bunch of tools.

The projects I’ve made at the class so far (in order) are a coffee table, a large CD shelf, a headboard, and a crib. I’ll take some pictures of them and do a seperate post sometime. The crib was a close one: I finished it when I was about 5 months pregnant. E. seems to enjoy it, though.

I kind of wanted to take the class one more time. N. was very supportive of the idea and so I signed up again. The class is on Wednesdays and tonight is the first class to work in the shop. I think the class runs for 10 weeks. Anyway, our house has slowly filled up with furniture and I wasn’t sure what would be the best piece of furniture to make. I decided on an armoire/pie safe to go in what will be my office/sewing room. I’m going to use it to store yarn, fabric, and other supplies. I figure that it could also be used in a guest room to store linens or even a tv, so it should be fairly useful.

I bought plans for this pie safe online. I am not a huge fan of country style in general, and I want to change it around quite a bit. For instance, I’m going to make solid doors instead of using the tin panels and I’m going to put the drawers at the bottom. I think it will end up looking like a smaller sized armoire. But looking at these plans helped me get an idea of how it will go together.

Earlier this week, I went down to the lumberyard and bought 15 board feet of walnut. I am such a sucker for walnut (it’s what I made the crib out of) and the only way I can afford any walnut furniture is to make it myself.

I’m going to try and take my camera to class every week, so check back in to see my progress!