Showing posts from December, 2017

173's First Christmas Mantel! (Maybe)

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as I did!  With Christmas on a Monday, there was actually time to spend Christmas Eve with my mom, dad and two of my siblings!  I can't remember the last time that happened!  It was so much fun I think there should be a law...let's make Christmas the last Monday of December rather than the 25th!  Whomever makes that happen gets my vote!

Like probably most of us, I love Christmas!  So much so that 2 of my top 5 favorite movies are It's a Wonderful Life, and The Bishop's Wife.  One thing I've always wanted was a fireplace, and a great mantel to go with it, one that could be dressed up for know - another attempt to create an atmosphere that conjures those Christmases of my idyllic youth.  Watching Bing Crosby and Andy Williams Christmas specials, and all those old movies always had a fireplace.  That's part of the reason I was pushing to get as much done with the project as I could befo…

The Dining Room Built-In: Coming Along Nicely

Just under a week ago I posted that the details had, at long last, begun!  At that time I had the faceframes on the bookcases, and had also made the toppers for the cases.  Then it was time to get on the fireplace.  I think this is the moment for a little mantle anatomy, at least so I'll know what to call the different parts.  This diagram is from Mantel Craft:
The first step was to get the facing legs on. After those facing legs were on, well, that's when things got tricky - at least for me!  That brings me to another part of the fireplace, but it's not on the diagram above, so here's another, this one taken from This Old House on Pinterest:
You see, I wanted a 3/4" astragal to run horizontally, and protrude by 1/2", that would separate the facing header (or breast in the 2nd diagram) from the facing legs, which would set the facing width, also determining how wide I would need to make the mantel legs.  In addition to this, I wanted the astragal to wrap aro…

The Dining Room Built-In: Starting the Details

A few days ago I posted that the basic structures of the built-in were finally done... Now it's time to get going on the details!  The first step was to drill the shelf-pin holes.  I gotta say, the Kreg shelf-pin jig was awesome, and as simple to use as advertised! I tried to get a picture of how the holes all lined up, but unlike my father, I'm not much of a photographer, and the holes look crooked in all the pictures, but I can tell you - they're straight and level as can be! Once that was done, I got the face frame done.  This part went surprisingly well with very little hassle.  If you know me at all, you know that anything here at 173 that goes up easily is a rarity!  But I took my time, and with the laser on my chop saw, got some pretty precise cuts.  As a matter of fact, this is probably the loosest joint I had! All-in-all I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out: Oh!  And there's the fireplace in it's future habitat!  Very satisfying that after all t…

The Dining Room Built-In: Structure Complete

The basic structures of the built-in are complete and in place, so the next steps are about details, lots of details.  Therefore, the posts will probably slow down to more of a trickle over the coming days.  When last we met, the first bookcase was up at long last.

Yesterday, the second one was assembled.  I had already cut all the pieces, including the parts to box in the pipe that runs up the corner.  I used my original, mis-cut base platform... make the parts to surround the pipe in the corner (odd how they've always been exposed).  To cut that big board down, I had to make a couple feather boards to keep thinks tight to the table saw top:
I know it sounds silly, but this is really the first time I've really needed to use feather boards - after all these years.  Like said, I cut the pieces to box in the pipe, then came the complicated parts - assembling them.
That part was not fun - at all!  But it worked out just fine, and once I put the caps on the bookcases, very …

The Dining Room Built-In: First Bookcase Up!

It's Christmastime!  I know, I know - the stores have had Christmas stuff out since before Halloween, Christmas movies have been on TV since before Thanksgiving, and the radio stations have been playing Christmas music since sometime in between.  But, I'm running late.  I love the Christmas season, and I usually get my porch tree up right after Thanksgiving, but not this year.  Not yet.  Seems every spare moment I've been working on the built-in, a built-in I was sure I'd complete in time for the holiday.  But, as I've bemoaned so many times in this blog - I am terrible about estimating how long a project will take me (although I really think the problem is I overestimate my talent!), even as far back as 2012!
But today I made visible progress!  The first bookcase is up!  Almost a week ago I cut the parts for the case - almost a week ago!  Well, I had a little time today, and it was a little tricky putting it together alone, but I had a great idea...I used a serie…