I’m finally finished, but I’ve fallen behind in the blog description.
Everything went together well enough, so I decided to glue up the “ladder” sides. Although I tend to prefinish everything before gluing, I decided it would be too time-consuming to prefinish the 48 parts that make up the four ladders. This turned out to be a mistake. Using gel stain in all the inside corners was very difficult.
The chrome rod I used to spread the glue around the hole was actually intended to hold “for sale” or “vote for Jenkins” signs on suburban lawns.
I used wedges and small blocks (screwed into a sacrificial work surface) instead of clamps to hold the parts together while the glue set. First I set up two straight edges at a right angle to keep the ladders square.
Each of these units will sit in a corner, so only two sides will be easily seen. I spent some time selecting the faces I liked best for the fronts and visible side. Then I dry fit the front and back frames:
Making the shelves
That last bit may seem strange, but I don’t have a planer, and hadn’t found any stock thinner than 1/4”. Having said that, if I had to do again, I’d have cut the shelves a little narrower and left the solid edges 1/4” thick. After seeing it, I think I like the look.
Making the tops
I don’t have a table saw, and I’ve had less than inspiring results with miters on my miter saw in the past. I decided to set the saw up as accurately as I could (with squares, drafting triangles and a Wixie box), and then build a mitering jig. The one shown here was the first iteration. I rebuilt it better, and added two more toggle clamps, but this gives the basic idea. Perfection? No. But better than I’ve ever done.
First I needed to set up the shop. All of the frame pieces will potentially be visible on both sides, so I needed a way to hang them all to dry without touching anything.
There are pieces of quarter round molding to hold the shelves in place, but I decided to use pocket screws as well. I cleaned up the “hanging chads” around the pocket holes with a rotary drum sanding bit. As can be seen, I did not stain the bottoms of the shelves. No one over 4 years old should ever see those surfaces. :)
After a long mental debate, I decided to glue the front and back uprights to each ladder first, then do the rest of the assembly:
I’m afraid that I found the final glue-up too fraught with anxiety to take photos. :) Maybe on the second unit.
One more assembly to go!