Puppet Theater #2: Constructing the Frame and Panels

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Blog entry by Patrick Jaromin posted 11-29-2010 03:07 PM 6616 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Designing the Puppet Theater Part 2 of Puppet Theater series Part 3: Building the "Wings" »

Birdseye Maple on Cherry

The design for the top panel calls for birdseye maple. It seemed a shame to use my only piece of birdseye maple up on just one project. I decided to resaw the board. A few passes through my old Grizzly G1066 sander later and I had a beautiful 3/32” sheet of birdseye maple veneer. Because this is going to be used for a raised panel, I had to decide on the substrate. One technique I’d seen and had always wanted to try was using a different species substrate in a raised panel. The rest of the piece was cherry and I figured this would make for a really sweet contrast.

3/32" Birdseye Maple Veneer from the G1066

Completed Raised Panel of Birdseye Maple Laminated over Cherry

Assembly & Glue-up

Last Spring I picked up a Festool Domino at my local Woodcraft. Shortly after, my wife gave birth to our 4th child and the shop was essentially shuttered for the next several months. Now I’m finally getting a chance to play with it — and it definitely lives up to it’s press. The frame went together like a dream, about as fast as using a biscuit cutter, while working on much narrower members and holding together well without clamps during test assembly. These were by far the fastest mortise and loose tenon joints I’d ever created. The front panel went together clean and tight.

Test Assembly of the Domino Joints


Setting the Stage

No theater can be complete without a stage. This one extends 1” beyond the sides and 1” front and back. Rather than nibble away a notch on each side of the stage, I figured it’d be easier to rip the board in three sections, cut the middle piece shorter, and glue it back together. The result looks great with no visible glue line and, after a bit of touch up with a chisel, fit perfectly. After sanding the piece to 220, I ran a bead of glue on the frame and stage and clamped ‘em together. Since it’s long grain to long grain, and a pretty good fit, no joinery should be necessary.

Notching the Stage

Sanded to 220, the Stage Glued In Place

Next Steps…

I’ve made a few tweaks to the design so that instead of using some left over cherry ply, I’ve decided to make matching frame-and-panel pieces for the sides. I may also build some beefy runners for the bottoms to ensure it doesn’t tip forward. I can’t wait to craft the comedy and tragedy masks and apply the first coats of tung oil to the birdseye!

[originally posted at]

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

4 comments so far

View dub560's profile


615 posts in 2939 days

#1 posted 11-29-2010 03:53 PM

very nice can’t wait for the finish product.

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View Grumpy's profile


23997 posts in 3877 days

#2 posted 11-30-2010 04:35 AM

Looking good Patrick.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4103 days

#3 posted 11-30-2010 09:43 AM

Looks very nice!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2892 days

#4 posted 11-30-2010 02:45 PM

That looks like it’s coming along nicely. Can’t wait for the finishing product.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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