Friday, December 13, 2013

Hard Cover Hexahedron

Floor down, closet organizer installed… why stop there. Megs and I have long treated our bedrooms as a place to sleep and well, that’s it. We always wanted one of those bedrooms with lounge seating, vaulted ceilings, and storage a plenty for all of our neatly arranged books. One thing we could do in normal land is to organize our ever growing book, magazine, and photo album collection. The latter had been stored in boxes, tucked away in the basement or hard to reach places ever since E started getting into all of our stuff at 5 months, and we really missed looking through them.

Once again Megs hit the internet and This Old House back issues hard. Her inspiration came this time from a Lowes Idea Book about multi-sized storage cubes stacked in rakish fashion to create the harmonious storage Zen. Lowes actually had the whole project mapped out, but being me, I rejected their build ideas almost immediately for my far superior genius. (I had to sound out GE-NI-US to spell it right just then… yikes) Before E was born, Megs had me build some similar storage cubes to hang on the wall in our old house to increase usable space of the tiny room from zero storage space to minimal. Megs insisted that the one we brought with us in the move could be the starting point for the rest of the cubes. It made from cheap ¾” MDF and painted white, and although they were 500lbs apiece and build like a Soviet era tank, it was not my finest work and I would not be using it. I did however shake my head and agree, because I had already tried to talk her out of it once and got a face and a talking to about spending money unnecessarily. 
Onward, I went with one Megan Peterson original design sketches in hand to create my material cut list. 

This design was less insane than the closet build so I had faith. I could sneak in a newly built cube to replace the old behemoth junk pile and still have plenty of material to make all the other sizes she wanted. This build demanded two sheets of ½” birch plywood, one sheet of ¼” plywood, three 10’ 1x8’s and one 8’ 1x4. Like my favorite British motoring enthusiast show presenters proclaim… we found our shop and cued the music!

I cut all the ½ and ¼” plywood sheets down to rough size with my straightedge and circular saw and finished with my table saw. I set up my stacked dado blade to cut a rabbet into one side of each piece of ½” ply therefore accepting a piece of ¼” ply which would act as the back or 5th side of each cube. These boxes required 4 good looking sides, and in order to hide all the plywood edges I would have to cut a 45 degree miter all long running axis. I set my table saw blade and rip fence so that I could make all the cuts in 3 setups for the 3 different lengths required to make the boxes. The more you monkey with moving and measuring the worse off the final product will be. Cut all like size pieces when you can once and then even if they are off  of your plan, they will all be off together, making them technically right… still with me?

All sides were now mitered and ready to be glued up I busted out a very handy shop tool… blue painters tape. I laid out each 4 sided box on the floor of the shop and applied glue to each miter joint. Carefully I pushed two miter joints together and secured them with painters tape. You can put a lot of force into the tape latterly before it will fail and if the joint shows a gap, rip off another piece of tape and close it up. When all 4 sides were taped, I applied glue to the rabbet joint, dropped in the back and secured it with some ¾” staples. I then completed the other 5 boxes in the same fashion.

With the boxes drying I turned my attention to the 10’ 1x8’s. The design called for platforms to be created between each tier of cubes and what cheaper and stronger way is there than to cut in half, rip one clean glue side to each piece, apply liberal amounts of glue and Kreg pocket screws I ask you? (I ran out of finer breath with that run on) NONE is the answer, boom… three platforms in short order. The bottom platform however received a built in leveling kick plate for good cabinet grade measure. If you haven’t figured out by now, Megs wanted this to be a simple project, and this my friends, is as simple as I get.

The next day I ripped down the 1x4 I bought to make face frames for all the cubes. I mitered the corners to match the cube joints and tacked them in place with some brads and glue. Once dry, everything got a sanding with 150grit paper and I turned them over to my lovely painting assistant to finish the job. 

All in all I am extremely happy with how they turned out and I think Megs painting ideas, and class she took, are going to turn these from beautify to splendiferous. Stay tuned!


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