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This page was last updated on 10/08/14.


FOR SALE 10in Meade LX200 EMC

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05/09/2014 Storm Damage


Barrister's Bookcase Project -- February 2012

Here is my official first piece of scratch built furniture, if you do not count my woodworking workbench.  I built it using White Ash and I used a Minwax Golden Oak Stain for color.  I sure learned much from undertaking this project, the first of which was that this thing has/had nearly 120 parts each of which needed to be precisely milled, cut and sized, each including one or several of the following features: dadoes, rabbits, dowels, mortise & tenons, panel inserts, pre-finishing and then re-finishing, etc.  I sure gained much appreciation for the woodworking profession even though my efforts in this area are just another hobby.


The End Panel inserts are book-matched  and re-sawn from a single piece of of White Ash I selected just for it figure and detail.


When beginning my staining of the the bookcase, I started with the front window frames and immediately noticed some serious blotching that just shows up as if someone had taken solid paint and marked randomly over the wood.  While I had purchased an oil-based pre-stain wood conditioner, I had forgotten to apply it before staining.   Panic set in pretty quick, but thanks to my involvement in LumberJocks.com I was able to get some much needed professional finishing advice from Charles Neil and Rick Dennington.  That advice wash to strip/wash the frames with either mineral spirits or naphtha, however naphtha was the preferred method for fast drying and lack of oils.  Lacking the naphtha, I looked around and found I still had most of a quart of acetone.  A quick check on the Internet and I was in business (acetone is fastest drying and a very good solvent).  After stripping the three window frames, I commenced sanding with 220grit on my 1/4 sheet palm sander.  It took awhile, but I eventually started to see the blotchy areas disappear.

I then applied the pre-stain wood conditioner before re-applying the Golden Oak Stain.  Nearly all of the former blotchiness went away, though there was some that did reappear to a much lesser degree.  I had chosen some rather figure wood for making the frames and I am sure that this factored into making this task more difficult.  That all being said, things turned out rather well, and as far as the rest of the bookcase, finishing was much better/nicer after applying the pre-stain conditioner. 


I found a really neat application for Space Balls.  When routing out the channels for the window sliders, I made the decision to use a 1/4" metal rod instead of 3/8" dowels tat the plans called for.  That meant that I had to recalculate just how far to route near the front edge.  I found that I had routed a bit far, but one Space Ball would neatly fit the 1/4" channel and stay in place.  This now served as a "bumper" for the closing windows and helped to dampen any rattles that would come from the glass panes.  Works like a charm and I highly recommend it.  You will also notice that all of my panel inserts had to be pre-finished prior to the glue up of the larger panels.  This helps to eliminate having any missing "stain lines" from when the panels shrink/swell with the changing humidity.


(below) The front span is doweled into the end panels for a stronger joint.  I did not feel that floating tenons would work as well here, and the dowels were an easy addition that the plans called for.  Also seen are early mock-ups of the end panels and the 8/4 piece of Ash that became my end panel inserts.


My horizontal mortising machine really came in handy, not only for making floating M&Ts but for also serving as a long dado and rabbiting machine.  After some tuning, I was able to make dados in pieces as long as 34" and keep the tolerances down to a couple hundredths of an inch.


From humble beginnings, my rough lumber eventually started looking better and better as they all were sized and figured correctly for later assembly.