In which, Ryan attempts to Copy/Paste an old-style writing desk.
Allow me to start with a little background on my woodworking experience … none.
Well, in fairness, I did get a crash course a few weeks ago, courtesy of my dad and his impressive array of power tools. Having been shown how to cut planks of wood in various ways (and keep my fingers in the process. Bonus.) I’ve so far managed to create a wooden Hneftafl board, and a slightly neater Chess board. Perhaps I’ll do a write-up about them in a future post. Anyhow, that’s about the limit of my carpentry skills.
Oh, and I seem to recall a few years at high school in which I habitually tucked a pencil behind my ear. Points for style, maybe?
Clean-up in Garage 48
As Anna mentioned in a previous post, we picked up a funky little table at a market last weekend. I didn’t think to take a photo of it before cleaning, so just imagine the picture here covered in little spiders and some manner of fungus. The drawer-like compartment on the front, also had a couple of fancy brass handles, but verdigris had worked in pretty deep and they crumbled off during cleaning.
I wouldn’t imagine it’s particularly old, though, and for the most part it’s in pretty solid condition. With a little more TLC it will make a nice little desk/table. It was while I had it pulled to pieces for cleaning (and science!), that I decided to try my hand at building a clone of it.
Copious Note-taking Ensues
After hunting (too long) for a pen (in a house full of them), I scribbled down dimensions and distances for every screw, edge and landmark I could see. It turns out I missed a few on the first pass, but it was a fairly straight forward arrangement. Despite my suspicion that the desk was originally designed with a mishmash of imperial and metric units.
Technically, I only came up against a couple of areas which gave me pause, while I thought “So how would I… huh”. I’ll cross those bridges when I come to them.
Several pages of scrawled numbers, leave a fair amount of room for error. As such, I figured I’d punch them all into a 3D modelling tool and manually prowl around the virtual desk, checking that everything connects to what it should. I did find one or two places where either my notes where out, or (my favourite theory) the original desk was slightly off. Whatever the cause, I’ve adjusted my numbers accordingly.
In short, not only was this a good excuse to flail around in 3D for a while, but I got to check my copied design for bugs and think through how to put it all together again before getting my hands dirty.
So far so good
As you can see, the 3D mock-up is by no means intended to be a work of art. It doesn’t portray any fancification such as curvy legs or routed edges. Most importantly, all the joints and doodads work with each other, so it’s served its purpose.
I’ve bought a few planks of wood – pine in this case, as it’s easy to work with, and so far the only stuff I have worked with. All the parts are marked out and ready to cut, based on my slightly revised 3D plans. I’ve allowed enough space between parts for blade/bit width and sanding, so any surprises now will be pure learning.
Which only leaves me with: Cutting, Drilling, Routing, Sanding, Assembling, Staining, and (presumably) tweaking things until it all works smoothly. You know, the actual making part. Sooo.. stay tuned, I guess.