Thinking of Starting Fabrication

I bought 10 off 4.2m lengths of 20mm x 20mm sized/planed oak strip from Nick’s Timber ( in Gloucester and 2 sheets of 3.6mm plywood. The framing will be in oak and I’ll rout out grooves (5mm deep) in the oak frames to slot the ply in. The frames will be glued and doweled together and the ply will be glued in the frame which will add to the strength without adding much weight. I couldn’t believe how flimsy the original frames were when I took them out!

The oak lengths were stored at my old work for 2 years after purchasing and when I moved jobs at the end of last year (2019) I had to move them. They were cut down into more manageable lengths based on the designs I had drawn up so I could transport them back home in the car.

As it was done in a hurry I didn’t pay much attention to how many 1225mm lengths I was cutting and cut a few too many, which isn’t a big prblem as I can cut them into smaller pieces, however I’ve not now got enough longer pieces! I will need a few more lengths to complete the furniture (wardrobe, shelving/cupboards and kitchen) as I’ve not got enough wood so will chop these into the smaller lengths I need. Less haste, more speed…

When I was at my old job I had access to a pretty well equiped workshop so fabricated a jig so that I could drill a 5.9mm hole (for an interfearance fit for the dowels…told you I’m an engineer!!) smack in the centre of the oak. It comes in handy having welders and milling machines at your disposal (which I now miss!!) sometimes.

I also (with the approval of the Boss!) purchased a cheap (cheapest I could find) pillar drill so accurate holes could be drilled down the lengths of the wood. It is a £49.99 special from Screwfix and as long as you don’t expect too much from it and you go slowly and set it up carefully it will be perfectly OK for what I want to do, i.e. drill 6mm holes in wood! If you want to drill wacking big holes or holes in steel then you’re going to be a bit dissapointed as it’s mostly pressed steel construction not cast iron!

El Cheapo Pillar Drill…fit for purpose though 🙂

Some initial pieces were cut and slots routed when I was at my old workplace on the CNC router, as I don’t have access to this anymore I made a cheap DIY router table from an old piece of MDF and some strip wood I had and my Powerbase router. Mk1 (yes there’s a Mk2!!) was just the MDF but the M4 screws that held the router to the MDF pulled through so a 300mm x 200mm piece of 3mm aluminium was duly purchased from FleaBay and alterations were made.

I have a manual mitre saw and tried using that to cut the oak to length, however there was so much play in it that the ends weren’t square in any direction! Out came the chop saw, a new fine cut blade purchased and the digital bevel gauge made an appearance to set it up. Now square cuts could be made which needed very little sanding.

The grooves are for the 3.6mm ply sheet to sit in, I purchased a couple of 9/64″ (3.57mm) 3 flute coated HSS 1/4″ shank milling bits to go in the router to cut the slots.

Now that sufficient tooling was made/purchased design and fabrication can begin.

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