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The Nightstands Build #5: The Nightstand Tops and how I messed them up

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Blog entry by Eric_S posted 11-15-2010 02:59 PM 5559 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Slicing the veneers and making the half-blind dovetail drawers Part 5 of The Nightstands Build series Part 6: Fixing some mistakes with Inlay - Part 1 of 2 »

So I was super confident that I’d finish the stands this weekend(minus final sanding and finish). Well now I’m not so sure :( I had fitted the drawers. They have a little bit more gap around the sides than I’d like but aren’t anything to be concerned over.

So anyways, things with the tops started out smoothly. First, here is how I glued up the veneers without a veneer press using Cold Press Veneer Glue. I cut two templates that are the same size as the panel being veneered and line them with wax paper and then clamp the hell out of them(I need deep throat clamps). After laying cross bracing and clamping them, I then take a curved brace and bend it down tight using clamps and spacers to press down in the center of the panel. Leave it for 4 hours and tada.

I finished adding the maple edging to the tops after the veneers dried. So far so good:
Here is Top# 1. You’ll notice the bottom left edge isn’t the same thickness. This has been corrected and the framing looks perfect now.

And Top #2 I had issues with. The edging wasn’t square so in order to bring it into square I removed a lot more material than I had wanted. It now only goes out 1/4” or so on all 4 sides of the stand. The one above(Top #1) one looks better with the thicker edging.

Notice the circle in the lower left? Yeah, thats tear out that I fixed with glue and sawdust :( I thought it would look better.

So anyways, as I was flattening and smoothing the the veneer(with the grain) using a very light cut with my smoothing plane(these are my own veneers and as such were much thicker and could be planed easily although I should have stopped with planing and moved to sander earlier than I had thought). I managed to tear out a good size piece of the veener due to a small part not being glued down that I didn’t feel before. You could imagine as soon as this happened I let loose every single curse I knew and then some. I was so upset and depressed that all the hard work I have done has just gone down the drain. The tops were PERFECT and I managed to screw them up after that fact. GREAT! FUDGE FUDGE FUDGE FUDGE FUDGE!!!!!!

I’ve been working on these stands since last December with only about 8 hour a week working on the weekends (and some time spent redoing a few other pieces). I freaked out, walked out of the garage, took some time to cool off and think straight. I didn’t know what to do so I decided to square up the edges of the missing veneer and try and fit a similar shaded piece from leftover veneer. I managed to get them to match shades, but I couldn’t get it to match grain exactly. It looks better than this pic since I smoothed it out a bit more, but its still noticeable to me. Here is it highlighted and some tearout in the center that I hope I can sand out (assuming I save these tops)

and without it circled, do you think its still very noticeable?

I also had another small tearouts in Top #1 as shown in the second pic although its much smaller and less noticeable. So now I’ve managed to screw up both tops. GREAT!! As you can imagine, I am heartbroken by this. These stands have taken over my weekends for a full year and this is what I have to show for it :(

So, what do you think?

a. Should I completely scrap the tops and redo them?
b. Do you think it will blend in better as the cherry darkens?
c. Should I keep the tops and scrape away all the veneer and redo just the veneer(although I dont know how easy it will be to get it to fit perfectly in the framing).

I still think I’m going to go ahead and start final sanding of the stands and working on the finish of them, but concerning the tops I need the help of all you pro veneerers out there. Please help. Are the tops salvagable? Thanks.

Eric

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN



12 comments so far

View newplane's profile

newplane

159 posts in 3545 days


#1 posted 11-15-2010 03:39 PM

Eric, Man that sucks going through stuff like this. But hey we live and learn right! I could tell you what I would do (my two cents worth that is) I would do some inlay work over the pieces that were torn out. Four leaf clover, or North Star, or butterfly or something else. Find something that will go with a theme for the two and make the inlay play of the other one. Mistakes are sometimes blessings; they force us to think outside the box. Have a blessed day friend.

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1551 posts in 2662 days


#2 posted 11-15-2010 03:54 PM

Thank you, thats not a bad idea newplane. It would have to be a basic inlay though and fit with the asian theme I was originally going for. I don’t think it would take too long either depending on the design, but who knows. I have scrap veneers of hard maple as well that would be perfect I think for just this, but I’d have to think of an inlay for the larger piece I replaced and then smaller inlays for the smaller tearout near the edge. I really am not sure though if I can sand that center glue line without it tearing out, its starting to get pretty thin now. Any suggestions on what to do there?

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 3140 days


#3 posted 11-15-2010 04:07 PM

Eric, that looks good to me.

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1441 posts in 2931 days


#4 posted 11-15-2010 04:14 PM

man, eric, i sympathize with you. When i did the bookmatching for my blanket chest i realized the when you bookmatch (duh) the grain runs opposite on each side. I got that tearout too, but they werent veneers, so I had room to sand.

i think the idea of doing a decorative inlay is great – even a mediocre job on that will look better than not doing it. as far as the smaller ones that you havent patched – are you sure there isn’t enough veneer left to just sand it down a bit? you could always use a little grain filler when you finish.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4808 posts in 2641 days


#5 posted 11-15-2010 05:11 PM

As you know, I’ve had some real award-winning screw-ups on some of my stuff, so … I’m really sorry.

And much like the router screw-up, on my recent wine cabinet project, I really like the idea of digging it out, and using some sort of inlay as a design feature .

For that matter, you could do a couple of them, in a few areas, if you thought it would be a better overall look.

You’ve been doing such a great job on this project … and at it for so long … it really doesn’t feel too good to have this happen, when you’re nearing the home stretch.

But … my bet is you wind up with an even better looking piece, when its done !

-- -- Neil

View RonPeters's profile

RonPeters

713 posts in 2347 days


#6 posted 11-15-2010 05:44 PM

If you don’t go for a complete scrapping of the top – I can clearly see the ‘fix’ – I would opt for the creative inlay.

Maybe a Pokeman icon? Just kidding… something like a Japanese letter? Maybe your initials? I searched ‘Japanese letters’ on Google and found a bunch of places. ‘123freebrushes’ has some good ideas. FWIW

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View newplane's profile

newplane

159 posts in 3545 days


#7 posted 11-15-2010 06:00 PM

To go with your Asian style maybe a simple Cherry Blossom. I remember one table that I was working on I messed up the top pretty bad. So I made a template to route out the parts that I didn’t like. Once I routed out the recess I made a mixture of the Epoxy and Dye that was a very dark brown pouring that into the inlay. It turned out pretty good but I did have to sand the epoxy down so I don’t know if this would be a good option for you. Maybe do a search for Cherry Blossoms or some other classic Asian theme and roll with it. I am following this to see what you decide to do. Have a blessed day friend.

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1551 posts in 2662 days


#8 posted 11-15-2010 06:07 PM

Thanks all for the inputs. I would really really hate to trash these tops. It took forever to make the veneers and the tops as is and I would hate to redo it ALL. I love the veneers on them and so I think I will do a decorative Inlay that newplane and a few others suggest. Now its just a matter of finding an easy inlay(I’ve never done one) to do. I’m going to show a few patterns to my wife and get her input into it. Whats funny is she told me which top she wanted and I said “good because I have tearout in the other one.” And then shortly after saying that I end up screwing hers up as well(the one with the replacement piece is hers).

Ron, I dont think Pokemon would work lol. However, my wife is a huge Anime fan and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind an anime character being in one. With that said, I dont think I could do one at this point in my skill level of inlays.

Newplane, a cherry blossom sounds great as I have lots of childhood memories of them growing up in DC with them being all around and on my property, but I think they may be too much work to do for a beginner. I was thinking a Crane or something like that. We’ll see though.

Unfortunately, this screws up my original plan of having them completely finished next weekend but oh well, thats life and it isn’t the first time. I have to start on holiday gift projects so I may have to put the stands on hold :( until after those are finished. This sucks as I want them done lol. Oh well. Thanks again for the inputs. If anyone has a link to some good inlay patterns or asian themed patterns please post them here or PM me. Thanks.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View newplane's profile

newplane

159 posts in 3545 days


#9 posted 11-15-2010 06:32 PM

If you want to cheat on the inlay…lol

http://www.inlaystickers.com/servlet/the-110/Sakura-(Cherry-Blossoms)-Inlay/Detail

Here are lots of ideas for you

http://inlays.com/marquetry.asp

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1551 posts in 2662 days


#10 posted 11-15-2010 06:37 PM

Thanks newplane. LOL no I wont be cheating with stickers. I wanted these stands to be ones that can be passed down as family heirlooms hopefully.

Thanks for the second link though. And thanks to Ron for the freebrushes link. Cherry blossom flower might work, but I dont think I can handle a full cherry blossom tree which is what I was originally thinking when you said it.

Aaron, i think if I’m careful I can sand away the tearout in the center.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1551 posts in 2662 days


#11 posted 11-15-2010 09:44 PM

I think I may do something similar to these blossoms:

http://www.tagodesign.com/ebay/kokeshi/US38.jpg

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View newplane's profile

newplane

159 posts in 3545 days


#12 posted 11-15-2010 10:13 PM

Friend that will turn out beautiful. I look forward to your masterpiece tables complete with cherry blossom inlay or whatever you decide. Be blessed friend.

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

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