Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cabinet Doors

Dad was right. He said I'd never regret an investment in good tools.

We installed a heater in the garage last week. In a remarkable example of lack of planning, it ended up directly beneath the smoke detector, so every time the fan quits blowing the heat rises and the alarm goes off and you need to stop working to reset it. I'll be moving the smoke detector soon. But, this also meant I could go out and comfortably work in the garage last weekend, with the temps still in the forties.

Which meant I could begin work on one of the last remaining to-do items in the kitchen; the rest of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

First, I had to get everything set up. When a good friend retired and moved to Florida last year, I inherited his router table. (Before this, I'd either been making do with an edge guide and clamps, or a small table my dad rigged up to use in his RV.) It didn't take me too long to use my handy-dandy drill press (the one I inherited from Dad) to carve out a new set of mounting holes that matched the ones in the new, improved, more powerful router I bought a few years back.  (I'd loved Dad's, but the nuts used to tighten down the bits got stripped somewhere along the way, and I'd finally had to replace it.)

When I went to the wood store to find out what bits I needed to duplicate the work Ron had done on the existing doors, they sold me a set of Freud tongue and groove router bits. They were a bit pricey, but I figured the guy knew what he was talking about, so paid the price without question. 

A bit of internet research showed me the best way to set up the bits, and soon I was ready to try my first cut. I put on my ear protection, turned on the shop vac to the dust collector on the back of the new table (another great invention!), turned on the router and started cutting on my first piece of test lumber.

With the old router and bits I used, I had to fight the wood. It had a tendency to bounce and jump back and make little divot cuts and generally misbehave. This time, as I started to cut, it was so smooth I couldn't even feel it cutting.  Startled, I stopped and pulled the wood back to see what I'd done wrong, only to see a smooth, even cut, right where it belonged!

Dang! This was suddenly fun! I happily spent the next couple of hours making little boards out of big boards, producing an impressive pile (well, I was impressed anyways) of neatly cut rails, all ready to be glued into panels to make the doors.

It's fun to learn new stuff - especially when you have good tools to make the job easy!

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