September 19, 2008

Door to Match

Look & Color to Match

Okay, still pluggin’ away on the cabinets. The picture on the left is of a door from the client showing the look and color she wants. It is a “V” groove, old heart pine plank door and has aged naturally and it is made from old recycled wood. It’s a tough color. The door appears to have a clear finish with a dark glaze….that’s about it, so we need to get the base color, then we can apply a coat of finish and glaze it. I just received my stain yesterday from Gemini Coatings. It’s a Alkyd Base. Most would call it an oil but it’s not. It will dry quickly and can be mixed in with my topcoat if I need to shade or tone some. That’s the difference in using a commercial, high grade stain and a stain from a box store. Huge difference.


Back to building…the “V” groove has to be in the back of the upper units because they are open. I really didn’t want to use solid wood here as expansion/contraction issues as well as weight. Remember, I got the plywood with the thick 1/8″ veneers, top and bottom so what I did was sanded the plywood for the backs down to 5/8″ by removing a little from each side. You have to keep the layers balanced (verticals, horizontals, etc.) so if I removed the thickness from one side I would throw this out of balance and it will cup or warp.

Shop Made Slot Jig

Shop Made Slot Jig

Once at 5/8″ I cut them to size then I simply made a slot jig that my 3/4 router guide could slide through, then using a “V” groove bit in my Plunge Router, I laid out where I wanted the grooves and routed them. Same type of jig for sliding dovetails.

V Groove Bit

"V" Groove Bit

Simple and effective.


I also knew I would get some voids and uglies where it cut through one layer into the next. What I did was mixed up some Timbermate filler, used 1/2 tint base and 1/2 white oak; thinned it with a little water and using a glue brush, I “painted” the grooves. This morning a quick pass through with a shoulder plane or a piece of 180 grit sand paper on a block and they are smooth as glass and the color matches as well. Timbermate can be thinned and used as a grain filler too. It doesn’t shrink, sands easy and works well.


The photo on the left below shows the grooves before using the filler, right off the router. The photo on the right, filled and sanded. It is difficult to see but the groove on the right is sanded and the groove on the left is not, you can see how much filler I applied.


The refrigerator unit and doors will be solid wood but I’m gonna glue them up just like a solid panel, sand and level them, then using the same technique, just “V” groove them. The refrigerator unit is 7′ tall, it’s just a matter of a longer jig. Using a straight edge isn’t sufficient because a “V” groove cuts in both a push/pull method so the run from left to right on a hand held or right to left on a router table doesn’t apply. It will try to wander. The jig is the answer, it provides and index surface on both sides.


When I was sanding the plywood I thought again about writing this, I have the canister type dust collectors – love them. I used to have the bag type but when sanding I always had a cloud of dust. The canisters – nothing! A big “whole shop” system would be nice but isn’t practical for my shop. But to my point, the canisters can and do get clogged up and need to be “swept” often. Not a negative, sanding dust is super fine, like flour and it will pack in the grooves of the filter. I often remove my canister and “tap” it clean and something like pine, where it’s a little resinous is worse. So mind your dust collector. If you don’t keep it breathing you gonna get dust building on your wood and it can cause the sanders to bog down and create issues. Again, not a negative, I would much rather clean the filter than work in a cloud of dust and I don’t get any dust airborne with them.

Dust Collector Canister

Dust Collector Canister

Dust Filter Inside Canister

Dust Filter Inside Canister


Catch Ya Later!

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