I remember an inhouse training manual from the 90’s that started off with “How do you eat an elephant?”
The answer to the elephant riddle of course, is, “a piece at a time”.
My studio manager way back then had a penchant for those cheesy, motivational expressions, and other bullshit too.
Knowing that this job ain’t gonna make itself, my plan of attack is carcases, base, doors, drawers, shelves, frieze rail and cornice in that order, I remind myself that this is only a plan, and that plans change, all the time.
So I find myself with the bench cleared, materials got, and making a start on this job. These planks are 2×13ish x 12’, pretty heavy and I made the mistake of piling them in front of where I keep my mitre saw. Plan B, cut them to length with the track saw after first inspecting the painted ends for checks and shakes.
Now I have something to work with. Find the straightest edge and knock off the high spots with the electric planer first. I get them looking pretty good, time to get ripping.
Now I have manageable stock to work with, two square edges on the surface planer, split these pieces on the saw, what can go wrong?
Bananas. That’s what I get. Two pieces as crooked as bananas by the time the saw splits them. I’m not upset, I kind of expected it. That’s what you get with African hardwoods. I left them well oversize for final dimensioning, but the curvature in some of the pieces is too extreme to correct by jointer alone.
Plan B again, laminate the stock together. I’ve done this before on jobs with long, light stiles. It’s a bit more work but I can do it quickly and I know it will save a lot of frustration and time on the surface planer. The extra stiffness gained by laminating the pieces is a bonus too, especially for the two full height mirrored doors.
Another session thicknessing and I’m ready for the first bit of gluing. I stack up all the pieces in the order of the glue up and need to apply thin even coats of adhesive quickly. My weapon of choice for this operation is a 4” paint roller.
Clamp, clamp, clamp, clamp, clamp, clamp, clamp, clamp, clamp, wrap up the roller in cling film for the next time, walk away.
I check them this morning, they are good. The even bead of squeeze out a reassuring sign.
From here on in, I will just be doing fairly unremarkable things every day. The next installment will most likely have something of interest in it, but then again, it might not…