Over the past two weeks, I have been completing final sanding of the eight panels which reside in the sides and interior dividers for my daughter’s window seat bookcase. With the panels coated with finish, I began glue-up of the sides and dividers.
As I began prep work on the panels, I remembered how slow finishing work can be. At least for me. I finally settled on wipe-on polyurethane as a finish. I had been thinking of shellac, but I have never used shellac before, and I did not want this to be the project to gain shellac experience with. I have used wipe-on poly repeatedly and am very comfortable with it. Also, my decision to select poly was greatly influenced by a Fine Woodworking article where a poly and sawdust paste was created to help repair tear-out. Shellac has a quick drying time; polyurethane does not.
After some touch up smoothing with my #4 bench plane and a little sandpaper work, I add three coats of wipe-on polyurethane per side. The drying time required is considerable.
Note the color change on the panels closest to the camera seen above. I have a thing or two to learn about book matched boards. I want consistent wood color throughout this project. The color above is not and it is caused by light hitting the book matched grain. To be honest, I may have mistakenly re-arranged a some of these boards. I emailed Glen Huey about using toner to correct the color change, but because the color shifts with light, we agreed that toner would not fix it.
I was showing this photo to my Dad who did not see this as a problem, and I know my daughter won’t be as picky as I am. Despite the inconsistent color, with poly applied, the cherry looks KILLER. So, I have decided to leave it as is and move on.
Glue-up Sides/Dividers and a Problem
With the panels coated with finish, I can begin glue-up of the sides and dividers. To give you an idea of the components involved, see the exploded view below…
The image above shows the left side exploded away from the bookcase. I like to move through a glue-up in a controlled manner. This means I don’t glue-up the whole side/diver in one operation. I baby step it to make sure I don’t attempt to glue too many things at one time. Yellow wood glue can set-up pretty quickly and things can begin to stick faster than I want.
This image shows the lower apron being glued to the front leg. Note the little chamfer I added to the center of each panel. The center stile (foreground) is to be glued in place next. Everything is square…or so I think.
I dry-fit the rear leg and am not able to get the side square.
I couldn’t figure why the frame wasn’t square. Then I checked each leg measuring the distance of the lower apron to the bottom of the leg. The rear leg was about 3/16″ too low. An error which occurred early in this project which I am just now realizing. Fortunately, I can repair it; I filled the misaligned holes with dowels and cut them flush…
With this problem taken care of, I could complete the glue-up of the four sub-assemblies. Again, I move cautiously through this step accomplishing the glue-up in two steps: lower apron to front leg first; at the same time add one panel and the middle stile. With the glue set, I then add the remaining parts completing the glue-up.
And, all of this goes well. Prior to glue-up, I took the time to run my smoothing plane over the various parts one more time since my plane had a freshly sharpened blade and was performing extremely well. 🙂
By this afternoon, I’ll be able to remove the right side from the clamps you see above and begin to add the curves to the seat back crest rail. My first blog post about the construction of this project was on April 23, 2014. Almost eleven months later, the most fun part of this project is about to begin. FINALLY! I’ll provide an update soon.
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