Bookcase-Cam - Day Five

Superficial followers of this journal will rate this day as one of inaction and boredom, simply because for pretty much the whole time, this was all one could see:

I wouldn't blame someone even for turning to the Winter Olympics under these Spartan conditions. But the dedicated watcher could still find more cerebral, subtle activities to monitor (kind of like curling as compared to, say, giant slalom). For example, here Pop considers the day's upcoming events over a morning cup of coffee... lunch, we discuss how to efficiently allocate plywood so as to leave the largest offcuts for future projects, as well as how to preserve airflow to the cold air return that the north cabinet will cover up...

...and just before dinner, we clarify how a significant but ultimately minor mistake -- not leaving an overhang on the top of the cabinets two days ago -- will affect the miter joint on the bullnose return.

The keenest viewers will note how the day's varying light gently modulates the living room color, and that I have changed my pants.

If only the Bookcase-Cam had a cord long enough to stretch to the basement shop, where the table and radial arm saws strained all day long through our most productive day so far. We decimated the remaining plywood stock, except for the full sheet that the 12 shelves will be taken from, and the 1/4" stock for the bookcase backs. It was a day of ever-growing sawdust mounds and screaming saw blades, including a violent protest as I bound an irregular scrap piece on the table saw blade and narrowly avoided a nasty kickback incident -- a harrowing episode whose chief consequence was to refocus my mind on clean procedure. Power tool safety is no accident!

It was also a day of resourcefulness: From humble plywood offcuts, we fashioned an outstanding rip fence extension that allowed us to handle wide & long stock on the table saw with aplomb, rather than having to make our big cuts in the cold garage with the circular saw & straightedge. I doubt the "official" one Ryobi sells as an accessory to my saw would be as solid and true. We also created a featherboard and hold-down system on the radial arm saw's table, for minimal variation of depth in the dadoes for the shelf standards (no, we never considered surface-mounting them and if you have any decency you'll never mention that technique in our presence). The technique is re-usable, even though the fixture is not, alas...

The day saw a couple of firsts as well, reflecting my increasing ambitions and shop capacities: I finally made use of my cunning placement of the radial arm saw, opening not only the outside door on its left but also the closet door on its right, in order to feed long stock through it. I also temporarily reconfigured the table saw's framework to handle the wider stock we were reducing.

And there was a shift in attitude. Early in the day, to avoid changing a radial saw depth setting that we knew we'd have to reproduce, we took an hour to plan all future cuts and resolve all details of framing. This planning step proved the turning point from a tedious, one-piece-at-a-time mode of operations to a much more satisfying way of working based on mass production. We continued from that point with much improved speed and efficiency. We were so enthusiastic that we intended to continue after dinner, but after we stopped I realized how tired I was and called it a day.

And last but by no means least, Pop changed his ticket from Friday morning to Sunday. Two more days to make progress -- and one more day to skip work -- woo hoo!

Tomorrow, the moment you web-watchers have been waiting for: The upper bookcase section goes in atop the south cabinet! Can you feel the excitement?

Initial week of daily activity: | Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7,8 | 9 |
Long-term weekend progress: | 10 | 11 | 12,13 | 14,15 | 16-18 | 19 |
Intermittent bursts of effort: | 20-22 | 23-31 | 32-35 |
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