Bookcase-Cam - Day Seven & Eight

These days are too busy to capture many highlights. We are working against the clock now; our goal is to have all structure and wiring for both cases done by Saturday night. Pop's plane leaves at 7:00 Sunday morning.

On Day 7 we begin the north cabinet, much of the cutting of which was done on Day 5. But the bottom is still a tedious exercise in scribing to the floor and leveling, and figuring where to split the difference when one wall of the house doesn't agree with the other one (the south cabinet is a total of four inches wider than the north).

There is also a complication: a large cold-air return rises to a height of about nine inches on the back wall on this side, well above the toe-kick height. We resolve this by raising the shelf on this side, leaving a usable twelve inches of cabinet height (not counting the space taken by the drawer, and leaving the underside of the toe-kick open so that air can pass through. Below the high shelf will be false-front pieces that can be lifted out for access to the grill (for cleaning cat hair off it every few months), which will only be visible when the cabinet doors are open.

We also must re-route an outlet as in the south cabinet, and a cable-TV wire as well. Both are straightforward, and I am glad to be able to replace the old outlet, which was so old that when the VCR cart was moved for cleaning, the extension cord would always fall out of the wall and the VCR would forget what time it was.

The biggest change we make is to run a solid shelf across the bottom of this cabinet and break the middle partition, rather than having two shelf pieces and a solid partition as in the south cabinet. This allows us to assemble the outside of the cabinet much quicker. We spend a total of a day and a half on the north cabinet (exclusive of the toe-kick & false fronts, which we left for later; I can easily do those on my own) -- a mere half the time of the south cabinet. By the time we're ready to do the north shelves, it is lunchtime on Day 8.

We are lucky with the uprights for the north shelves: The bottoms are square enough that a very slight forward lean (about 1/16" over 54" is judged acceptable to avoid scribing the bottoms of these pieces. This cuts out about two hours of trips up and down the basement stairs that an exact fit would entail. At this point, I feel that we will easily meet our goal, perhaps even getting to bed at a reasonable hour to get up at 5:00 next morning for the airport trip. We actually leave the house to go to the dump, have a pleasant lunch in downtown Needham, and hit the hardware store for a week's worth of accumulated shopping items.

But Dame Fortune isn't through with us yet. Due to obscure wiring needs, inconvenient placement of the existing switch, and the very shallow depth of the bookcase wall into which the new pair of switches will go, we spend much more time on the wiring for this cabinet than I thought we would. Although we can't completely resolve this on Day 8, we at least figure out how to run cable from behind the back of the bookcase to the side wall without chewing up the existing woodwork, and giving adequate protection so that an errant picture-hanging screw is unlikely to puncture & short the power cable.

The rest of the woodwork goes well. We fit the upper pieces, scribe the one piece that must be scribed, and are left only with cutting the top piece to length, shimming the outermost side piece to its neighbor, and cutting holes for the wiring. It is now 12:30 AM. To cut the top piece will require many minutes of checking for square, level, and plumb, followed by a radial arm saw cut. Since my radial arm saw isn't perfectly square, we'll need to think carefully about the placement of the board on the saw. There is still about a half day's work to truly finish this structure, so the top cut is largely symbolic. I decide not to push for making this last critical cut when we're feeling so tired & hurried. I invoke my "no power tools after midnight" rule, and we go to bed.

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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