Thursday, November 3, 2011

New shelves for the IMC office

In early September, we were asked to make three, big (60 cm x 93 cm) shelves for the ministry office.  Knowing that I would be away travelling for the first half of October, I responded that we could - but not until the end of October.

A couple of the older boys helped rip up two blocks of fir (called pino cipress here) into 4 cm thick slabs during September so that it could dry by the time I returned from my trip.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of this process.

After my return, we planed the slabs down to 3 cm thickness and trimmed them up to make them into finished lumber.  After that, we formed the tongue and groove pattern on the edges using multiple passes with a rabbit bit and then a slot cutter on our provisional router table.

The shop-made tongue and groove pine lumber.
Our provisional router table, which consists of a piece of 1/2" particle board clamped to an set of table legs from an old table saw, supporting a 2.2 Hp Milwaukee router.  It works, but leaves a lot to be desired, so in December I began making a REAL router table - which you can read about in a later post...
We then glued up the shelves and after they dried, the boys began sanding them flat.

The shelves now glued and clamped together.
We then trimmed the shelves to finished size and beveled the upper surface of the front side of each shelf using the hand-held router.  Sorry, no pictures of this step....

Andres Castro using the belt sander while Arley Rocha observes.

Camilo Castro trying his hand with the Dewalt belt sander, which can be a challenge to control, especially on the far side of the shelf.

Arley Rocha taking his turn sanding.
The boys spent a good bit of two afternoons sanding, it was surprising how long it took to sand both sides of the three shelves, going down t through the various grit sizes to 120 grit with the belt sander and then to 320 grit with an orbital sander.

Preparing to hang the shelves for painting

Finally, it was time to begin applying finish.  We applied three coats of sanding sealer and then two coats of tinted lacquer to make a nice, smooth finish.  Of course, we sanded the surfaces again lightly between coats.

William Gomez applying sanding sealer to the shelves.

The shelves before the tinted lacquer was applied.

We completed the shelves on November 3rd, a few days later than promised, but they turned out very nice.

The completed shelves as installed at the IMC office

Nancy Centeno, the IMC Director in Colombia, liked the shelves so much that she has asked us to make three more for her office...

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