Sunday, January 29, 2012

Actually doing something

Sometimes I surprise myself. A chance encounter with a high end carpenter/cabinet maker friend of mine led to an invitation to his place to mill up my maple for the butcher block countertop.

I am still looking around for a table saw but in the meantime I had a chance to work in a very very nice professional shop. While I was snooping a bit, my friend ducked out and came back with some offcuts of walnut telling me that I needed some accents. He insisted I take quite a bit of walnut to mix in with my maple. Then he absolutely refused any sort of payment other than paying for his next breakfast at the local greasy spoon.

My friend, Barry Moore, specializes in old home restoration. If you need that sort of work done or need some nice cabinets made you can check him out at

So, yesterday, I made a visit to Jenny and removed my patterns for the galley countertops. Before taking them out I made some notes for final fitting and locations of stuff I had to be careful to work around - i.e. edge of the 'bridge deck' so I didn't build a lift up top that wouldn't open because it hit the underside of the deck...

This morning I had the maple and walnut milled up. I thought that would be a suitable amount of work accomplished today but my friend, Barry, gave me a stern look and told me that I WILL be gluing this up today or else I would be very sorry later.

As it turns out, the addition of the walnut was crucial as I think I would have run short of the maple. I started with the port side countertop which will be the simpler side to construct with just one lift up lid to the locker below and a stove mounted in front. I wanted to lay out enough for a flip over lid to cover the stove but I wasn't sure I had enough material so I just laid out enough to make the main piece.

and then I glued it up.

I was going to use a high quality water proof glue but Barry suggested I just use WEST system and since I have 3-4 gallons of resin left it made sense to me too.

So then I started laying out the pieces for the starboard side which will incorporate the sink, dish/cup storage and cooking supplies storage. I didn't have enough materials to simply make one big piece and cut out the bits later and I was thinking of framing the sink cutout with my new walnut anyway so I had to stop since I don't have a sink yet to take accurate measurements.

I have been looking and looking for a sink and I only found one that I was happy with through a commercial distributor. The reason I am having a hard time finding a sink is because I need a shallow one since the waterline is only 5-6 inches below the level of the countertop (I still need to accurately measure this and I might have to raise the sink up a bit) and it has to be on the small size to fit on the small counter space. Most of what I was finding was in the $400+ range which seemed rediculous. Lewis Marine has a 14x10 with 5 inch depth for $129 which seems pretty reasonable.

I could either buy more maple or only make the countertop for the exposed portions around the sink. I really don't need butcher block under the dishes and cooking supplies and actually recessing them a bit might make for better storage volume so I think I am going to hold off on glueing the starboard side until I can match the sink with the framing. The pieces are so short that I am not too worried about the stern looks from my friend.

Or maybe I will partially glue up the countertop and finish around the sink later. I am a little short of swork pace with the port side galley top setting up anyway so for the moment I have to stop.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Typical January Progress

which is to say... 'Not much'. The winter holidays are over except for the credit card bills and I made some efforts (mostly mental) towards accomplishing something.

I purchased the wood last week that will become the galley countertop; maple. I had hopes of cutting it with the bandsaw but three inches into the first cut made it clear that plan was faulty. Even with my (relatively) thick ripping blade the cut was too wavy and the idea of sanding out the hard maple made me stop and re-consider.

The backup plan was to coerce a friend into cutting up the wood for me. Unfortunately, my friends seem to have caught on to my methods and they were unusually scarce last weekend.

I was going to try extra hard and find one this weekend but the single digit winter temperatures dissuaded me. Instead I spent the weekend researching table saws. Money is tight, especially after the holidays, but ramping up the interior work without a table saw has also had its challenges. Doing all my ripping with a skilsaw to any decent standard is annoyingly time consuming and painful to say the least. I am zeroing in on a contractor saw from Rigid mn 4512 (Home Depot) or the same saw with the Craftsman colors painted on it for about $500. Its not a super saw but its not complete junk either and I don't think I will throw tantrums every time I try and use it. 'Good Enough' is about all I can hope for right now. The $3000 cabinet saw will have to wait another year or so. I would have pulled the trigger on the purchase already except I am hoping to find a deal and the low temperatures and my unheated garage means I wasn't going to assemble it this weekend anyway.

Maybe next week.

I hope I don't continue to say that too often this year...

Jenny herself is looking snug and safe and other than a few small chafes on the tarp there is nothing to be worried about there.

Stay warm :-)