Plywood Desk In Progress
#11
  
There is fine furniture, hand-crafted with traditional techniques, and invested with the blood, sweat, and dare I say soul of the craftsman who labors to transform natural materials into works of fine art. This is not that. It is a plywood desk. It exists at the four way intersection of my time, my wallet, my hatred of particle board furniture, and my son's desire to have a desk, painted black, some time before Christmas.
For some, math brings joy. For others, it is just tedious, soul crushing work. My son falls into the later group, as did I at his age. So this was a good opportunity to work with him on how to measure in fractions, do some basic area calculations to consider what could be made from a sheet of plywood, and manage a budget. These practical applications seem a lot more interesting to him than the more conceptual approach favored by his educators. He did pretty good with his budget of $100. We spent $86 on two sheets of cheap Ecuadorian Sandeply and two 8' long 1x2s, and the balance of his budget on knobs and hinges. I have agreed to subsidize another $20 in paint, and I happened to already have a giant pile of random rock maple offcuts in the scrap bin from which to make runners.
We have been chipping away at the desk for a few hours each day now for a week. Here is the story of the desk so far:

It all starts with a 4x8 sheet of Ecuadorian import ply. First cut establishes the table top and sides.



This stuff sucks. It was in his budget, and since this is going to be painted black, I refused to give up any of my BB or FAS grade material to it. But I probably should have, because this stuff drives me nuts to work with. Big plies of softwood and outright filler, with tons of voids all through it.



Anyways, now was also a good time to route a dado (groove) along the backsides of the cabinet carcass, so that I'd know everything would line up perfectly when I assembled it.



With the work requiring a fair bit of reach out of the way, I let my son do all the cross-cutting. The tracks were clamped to the pieces being cut, and the ergonomics of this saw are such that little fingers are kept well out of the way of spinning blades. Even so, VincentEgo demonstrated some solid handling skills that made Dad give him 1 3/4 thumbs up, the maximum I've been able to give anybody since I learned why you don't use a fence and a miter gauge at the same time, the hard way.



Thus ended Day 1.

Math is tough. Let's go shopping!
Reply
#12
  Re: Plywood Desk In Progress by JohnnyEgo (There is fine furnit...)
I applaud you including your son in the build! I also like the idea of using the tracksaw. My son and I built a cabinet for a 55 gallon fish tank. We used C/D 1/2" ply and 1x2 pine for banding the edges. The stuff was full of filler and gaps just like what you are using. The banding hides a lot of the junkous amongst us. We used the track saw for cutting and kreg system for assembly. Have fun, it looks like you are well on your way to a great father-son project and hopefully will build skills your son will use for a life time.
Train to be miserable...
that way when the real misery starts you won't notice.
Reply
#13
  Re: Plywood Desk In Progress by JohnnyEgo (There is fine furnit...)
Nice looking start to what looks like a wonderful project for you and Master Vincent! Will look forward to the "build-along." BTW, nice going on Vincent's outfit and safety gear!

Doug
Reply
#14
  Re: Plywood Desk In Progress by JohnnyEgo (There is fine furnit...)
Thank you both for the kind words. Speaking of pocket holes, day two was all about them:

Pocket hole drilling.



So many pocket holes.



"You were right, Daddy. This Ecudorian Plywood sucks!"



Anyways, pocket holes drilled and screws applied, we were able to do an initial assembly of the pedestals and top, to get something vaguely resembling a desk:






In terms of using every bit of the buffalo, this is what remained of the original 3/4" sheet at this point, so not bad in terms of maximizing useful area.




Thus ended Day 2.
Math is tough. Let's go shopping!
Reply
#15
  Re: RE: Plywood Desk In Progress by JohnnyEgo (Thank you both for t...)
(11-17-2019, 10:32 AM)JohnnyEgo Wrote: Thank you both for the kind words.  Speaking of pocket holes, day two was all about them:

Pocket hole drilling.



So many pocket holes.



"You were right, Daddy.  This Ecudorian Plywood sucks!"



Anyways, pocket holes drilled and screws applied, we were able to do an initial assembly of the pedestals and top, to get something vaguely resembling a desk:






In terms of using every bit of the buffalo, this is what remained of the original 3/4" sheet at this point, so not bad in terms of maximizing useful area.  




Thus ended Day 2.
I'm jealous. My GS wants me to pay for everything and do all of the work. Lazy and expects everything to be given to him. Looks like you and Vincent are developing a terrific father son rapport.  You're a great Dad.
Reply
#16
  Re: Plywood Desk In Progress by JohnnyEgo (There is fine furnit...)
This is a great thread. It is always special to spend time with our children and teach them something. He looks like he is focused and enjoying the experience, and I am sure you are as well. Cannot wait to see the finished product!
Reply
#17
  Re: RE: Plywood Desk In Progress by jamesglenn (This is a great thre...)
(11-18-2019, 07:31 AM)jamesglenn Wrote: This is a great thread. It is always special to spend time with our children and teach them something. He looks like he is focused and enjoying the experience, and I am sure you are as well. Cannot wait to see the finished product!

Ditto.  It also creates memories for the lad - he will always remember the desk you two built.  That's priceless.
Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
Non impediti ratione cogitationis
Reply
#18
  Re: Plywood Desk In Progress by JohnnyEgo (There is fine furnit...)
Day 3 was scout night. Not a lot of time to put into the desk. But a good opportunity to sand and pre-finish the insides of the pedestals.

Sanded to 180 grit, and then two coats of shellac.




After scouts, I cut a couple runners out of some rock maple scrap, and glued them in.



Day 4 was another two hours in the shop, because of school work and guitar practice. I cut up the 1x2s into 1/2" strips to face-trim the plywood. The beauty of knowing this thing is going to be wearing two coats of Rustoleum black enamel means I didn't have to be too concerned about the surface, other than being flat. So we face nailed the trim with a brad nailer while the glue dried, and moved on.




I cut the trim slightly oversized. Normally I'd route it flush with a bearing bit, but in this case, I wanted my son to do it, and I won't let him near the router, so we used hand planes. They made quick work of it, although they did grab the super thin veneer of the ply in a couple places. Yay paint!



My son was having a little difficulty working the big #5 plane, so I busted out my old Craftsman block plane. My father gave it to me for Christmas in the early 90s, and it is the embodiment of 1990s mass production. I am not sure what the blade is, exactly. Fairly thin, fairly light weight, and it may have been stamped. It takes forever to put an edge on it. But oddly enough, once you get an edge on there, it stays for a while. I used it once, right out of the package, to flatten the seams of a glue-up. Wasn't impressed. Couple decades later, I learned how to sharpen well, and sharpened it up on a whim. Was so pleased I now reach for it all the time, primarily because I will use it on things like planing plywood end grain, and not feel bad about it at all. In another year or two, I will teach my son how to sharpen, and pass it down to him with all it's 1990s glory.

Math is tough. Let's go shopping!
Reply
#19
  Re: Plywood Desk In Progress by JohnnyEgo (There is fine furnit...)
Dude, I was just gonna comment on your opening. I loved it.

And then I saw your kid working with you. That's even better.
Semper fi,
Brad

Reply
#20
  Re: Plywood Desk In Progress by JohnnyEgo (There is fine furnit...)
The manufacture of the desk, while interesting enough, is secondary to the involvement of your son in the project.

Hat's off to you, sir.  Making memories - even better than making stuff.   Yes
If you are going down a river at 2 mph and your canoe loses a wheel, how much pancake mix would you need to shingle your roof?

http://blazinbladesscrollers.webs.com/
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.