Future kitchen upgrades

So we have been playing with the kitchen pretty much constantly since it was unwrapped (which is awesome, obviously) – Jess is thrilled with the kitchen, and is also really looking forward to working with me to finish it off (rounding over edges, sanding, oiling).

Few things I need to do to finish the unit off as well – new hinges for the door, drawer dividers for the cutlery drawer

While watching her play with it (and doing a fair amount myself alongside her), I’ve been making up a list in my head of additional items that is needed, that will be added over time.

Rolling pin
Fridge/freezer
Microwave
Toaster
Paper Towel Holder

Can’t think of any more at this stage, but even this list is unlikely to be completed before the big house and shed move.  We’ve begun packing.  It is a huge job, and I haven’t even begun considering the shed.

Christmas Cooking

The kickstarter for this project came just over a month ago, and it has consumed a great deal of time and effort, but it is all worthwhile.  And she is the reason why.

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My little one

Soon to turn 6, it was well overdue for her to have something significant out of the shed she loves visiting.

With a combination of conflicting priorities, it was always going to be interesting to see how it came out.  Short deadlines, a house purchase and a particularly busy work schedule all competed to derail the project, while making a great kitchen for my daughter, making the kitchen entirely from timber and having the experience of making two different toy kitchens before worked towards a decent result.  Especially wanting Jessie to have a kitchen that I’d made her.  I’ve never finished a project so late (and during the build I knew it wouldn’t be fully complete, as far as being fully finished, so already had some compromises), nor have I had so many nicks and cuts from rushing around a shed that was quickly running out of space, and being pushed for time meant I wasn’t working to keep things as orderly as needed for a limited space, while splinters were common from the hardwood.

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The unwrapping begins

The two large wrapped parcels hardly gained a second look during the morning, but there were tonnes of distractions in the form of wrapped parcels!  Finally, it was time for the reveal – two large, fully wrapped presents.  It didn’t take long to reveal what was within, and it was pretty exciting!  You cannot tell from the photos, but I can see the different expressions there, and can still hear the excited squeals.

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The great unwrap!

It did look very cool breaking through the wrapping paper.

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Amidst torn paper

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Kitchen full of……wrapped stuff

Once the main sheets of wrapping paper were removed, there was another surprise.  The units were packed full of more presents (and this after a morning of unwrapping).  It was all the real tools of the trade- saucepans, cutlery, mashers, bowls, jugs etc.  We had been shopping at Kmart a week earlier – they have a whole range of kitchenware, most with a $2 price tag.  At the checkout, they fully expected us to be first-home buyers given the range of items in the cart.  They are perfect – cheaper and better than any sold in toy sections, and that they are ‘real’ not ‘toy’ added to the experience during the reveal.

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Proud new owner

I’m very pleased how the units came out, and the small details of jarrah and redgum stood out against the quality of the Tassie Oak.

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Learning the ‘controls’

I couldn’t help myself from pointing out some of the details I had included (mainly what each of the controls said, that I had burnt into the knobs with the pyrography set).  Then it was a matter of sitting back and enjoying the soups, cupcakes etc that were being produced for the family.  With playdoh food, the imagination play is endless.

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Checking out the oven

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Cooking up a storm

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Making tea

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Washing up

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All fitted out

Some of the details then: the sink is laminated Tassie Oak and Redgum, as are the drawer fronts (with a jarrah handle).  It is all glued, and in some cases also using Dominos.  I avoided any metal fasteners until near the end, when it became obvious that it would be a significant compromise to continue with that ideal.  That was when I first made some hinges for the oven, using wooden dowels, and that caused breakages.  Once I had decided on brass hinge rods, then a few other places benefited from a minimal amount of metal.  The drawers are dovetailed, the shelf a lattice, and the lower shelf using offcuts.  In fact this project had less wastage from offcuts than I can remember seeing in a long time.  There are hardly any at all, with wastage being small pieces assigned to the firewood bin, or are sawdust in the collection bag (and that is full).  I went through two full bottles of glue – about a full litre of yellow PVA on this project.  Again, the result of joining so many boards together to create the panels required.  The Frontline clamps got a significant workout.  The side panels each have a routed picture – one of the little surprises.

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Oven detail

I love the strap hinges – they came up awesome!  The Incra Hingecrafter was a significant asset.  The Hingecrafter is not just the drilling jig, but also the box set of router bits that match.  Being able to make your own hinges is a great feeling – you really come away ‘owning’ the project being able to make, rather than buy the accessories.  About the only thing I purchased for this was the castor wheels.

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Stove / Oven controls

The toy wheels, repurposed as control knobs were supplemented with the pyrography kit burning in names, and values.

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Oven hinge detail

The hinges for the oven – very functional, strong, and compared to commercial hinges I have used before in the same situation, less likely to rip out of the timber as the load is distributed over a larger area.

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Sink

A bandsawn faucet (rounded over on the router table), and a couple of oversized wheels for taps made with a wheel cutter on the drill press.

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Dishwasher

The tambour door looks the part, and I added a spinning nozzle to the base to complete the dishwasher.

To finish this project off, I need to replace the hinges on the cupboard door (a short job with the hingecrafter), sand, roundover edges, and apply an oil finish.  Even so, a very satisfactory conclusion to the project (or at least a major delivery point).

Next, the kitchen needs a microwave, sandwich press, toaster (to start).  A storage cupboard may be in order, and a fridge.  The possibilities are endless.

Merry Christmas Jessica!

Getting closer

Been popping out to the shed to continue to take small bites out of the toy kitchen project.  This one is taking a lot more bites than normal – partly the detail I am including, partly the timber source I am using (and having to glue up constantly to get the panels I need).

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Drawers (Gifkins Dovetail)

A kitchen needs drawers, especially one for cutlery. I decided to make two – keep things even on the sink unit.  Dovetail drawers were the order of the day, and once again I turned to the Gifkins – takes no time to dovetail up the sides.  Took me longer to machine and glue up the base!  I’ve only recently started using the Bessey clamps with the jig, and they sure do work a treat.

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Tambour handle

The tambour door wasn’t working very smoothly while I was testing the track, but freed up a great deal when I actually secured it in.  The track was sanded, then waxed with Ubeaut traditional wax.  Now it runs as smooth as you’d expect – perhaps even more so!  I needed a handle, so took a piece of the reclaimed redgum, routed a finger hold, then dominoed it to the tambour door with 4mm dominos.

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Stove progress

I am making this kitchen without any plans, so find it really beneficial to occasionally put the components I have made so far together, to get a vision of the final product, and see what needs to be done next. I also find it worthwhile, because it gives me ideas for other items to add.  The dovetailed drawers are one example, and a plan to make some spinning arms for the dishwasher is another.

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Wooden hinges

I was still working on the concept of the kitchen being 100% wood and glue, and so tried to make some wooden hinges that used a wooden dowel.  The result was less than ideal, so rather than force the issue, I will incorporate a minimal amount of metal.

I am still planning on using wooden hinges, just now with a brass pin.  The photo above was during the trial, and is the largest hinge that I can make with the hingecrafter.  It didn’t work out for a number of reasons, but was a good test, and the lessons learned will be incorporated into the remake.  I am planning on making a wooden strap hinge for the oven door – if you have a hinge (especially a wooden one), sometimes it is nice to make a feature of it.  It also means I can make it large without it looking out of place.  I will get back to making the hinges next “small bite!”

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Drawer fronts

Glued up the drawer fronts – a centre of redgum, because I could.  I have moved onto a new glue bottle (Gorilla yellow PVA), and wasn’t used to how far the glue spreads, and how much the nozzle dispensed, and got a bit much here!  At least the joint won’t be dry.  Easy enough to remove when the glue turns rubbery.

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Drawers in place

I added runners to the sink unit for the drawers.  With a small recess in the side of each drawer, and a notched runner, the drawers need no other guide to work successfully.  The fronts still need to be added obviously.

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Frontline Clamps

The Frontline clamps have again proved invaluable – hardly a minute that they haven’t had one panel or other being glued up.  So much so, that I really want to consider a more permanent home for the setup in the new workshop.  I am even considering whether to add an additional three clamps to my setup – either more 900mm ones to match my existing, or even three 1200mm clamps.

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Tops ready for machining

The tops of the two units are now glued, sanded and are ready for final sizing, and for the sink to be inserted into one, and stove elements routed into the other.  Still so much to do!  Just so little time.

Pandora’s Lid

One of the big decisions when it comes to completing a box, is deciding on the lid.

I deliberated for quite a while on this one, searching through my timber piles looking for inspiration.  I noted the slice of Brown Mallee Burl a couple of times, sitting on one of the shelves where it has been since about October 2008, but was a little undecided.  I kept coming back to it though, and finally decided this was the project that it was destined for.

It needed some truing up, and for some warp to be removed.  I’ve had it under boards to try to flatten it for almost 4 years, so it was as flat as I could make it, and so a little machining was required.

Truing up the Brown Mallee Burl

I took some care to ensure the sides and back were cut to suit the box, so the two corners of the natural edge met the front corners of the box.  Not being one to throw away timber, even offcuts, the two larger pieces cut off this burl were put back on the shelf, rather than the bin (or worse).

Test of lid sizing

I wanted to preserve the natural edge of the burl, and is the first project that I have done this on.

The next big decision is the hinge.  To hinge or not, that is the question.  I wanted this box to have the lid attached, so hinging it is my best option in this case.  There are still plenty of options – metal, wooden (shop-made) or other.

I went with concealed barrel hinges, which need a couple of holes drilled to fit the hinge.

Laying out the hinges

Using my Incra rule, the holes are laid out precisely, and it is over to the drill press.  An 8mm Colt wood boring drill bit is used (from Professional Woodworkers Supplies) as is the drill press laser to ensure the holes are exactly where I want them.

Fitting the concealed hinges

Here you can see a couple of the concealed hinges, as well as the laser cross hairs.  The Colt bit is particularly suited for this job, drilling clean and straight, with the double helix guiding the bit.

Once the holes were cut, I needed some beading around the edge of the lid.  This was needed for two reasons.  One, I wanted to break up the line of the lid, so it wasn’t a simple straight piece of timber (irrespective how good it looks). Secondly, I knew the lid was too thin for the hinges, and the holes would be right through the lid, so the beading was needed to disguise the holes.

Turns out it was a really good thing I kept the offcuts!

Shaping the beading

I looked at, and even tried a few different router bit (and their profiles), but in the end decided to go with one that cuts rounded beads on the upper surface.  I chose a router bit height that cut three beads, then transferred the timber to the tablesaw to cut that beading off.  These were all then taken over to the drum sander and the thin material carriage.  They were passed through a number of times until I achieved a thickness I wanted for the beading.

Cutting mitres

The beading was to look continuous around the outside, so it made sense to mitre the back corners to 45o.

Laying out the beading

I didn’t want beading across the front, so chose to end it as the burl became sapwood.

Ending the beading was a real debate, and I decided to have it chamfered at 45o.

Achieving that would be interesting.  For one, the beading is pretty thin, and narrow.  It is also a bit fragile (being burl).  The solution came to me – using a tool that I have where I want to control the angle of something as it is being ground – namely a blade sharpening jig!

I chose to use the Alisam, but could have done this with any of the blade sharpening jigs.

Creating a chamfer

Once again, you can never have too many clamps!

Gluing on the beading

This was done very carefully, so the beading didn’t slip as the clamping pressure was applied.

The lid finished

Once the lid was glued up, it was time to apply a finish.  This was done very simply, with a few coats of wood oil wiped on.  This is a combination of Tung Oil and a few others, and a drier.

Makes a lot of difference!

The lid, finished

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