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Woodshop Hutch Desk (Part 3)

Friday, May 8, 2015
(Here's Part 1 and Part 2 of this build series)

Here we are, part 3!  This was my 3rd semester working on the desk and it was by far the most stressful.  I went into the semester about 10 weeks pregnant so that was a huge motivator to get finished quickly.  I always got to class a few minutes early with a plan in mind of what I was going to work on that day the the process to go about doing it.  I needed to stream-line everything for each 4-hour block class to get things finished, stay for every minute possible and talk as little as possible (hopefully I didn't seem rude to some of the students because I was so focused, ha)!


When the semester began, this is what I was starting with on the bottom:


Before I could work on the small drawers I needed to make a pocket on the side for a large board to pull-out that would hold the main drop-down door.  I intended to do chains to hold up the door like my original desk but after talking to my professor we came up with a better (more professional) idea.  Let me just tell you that this little "pocket" took about 8 full hours and this picture doesn't show all the other pieces involved such as little spacers, bottom rail, etc.

To start the small drawers I selected lumber with the widths I needed, rough cut them and ran them through the jointer and table saw to square up 3 edges so I could glue them up.

 Here's after they've been glued up and they're ready to run through the planer to get my desired thickness.

 Now that they're at the right thickness I get to glue them up AGAIN (the planer is too narrow to fit the full width).  Next I cut the boards to the size I need, sand and dovetail, glue up my drawers and sand some more until they fit perfectly in the opening of the carcass.

I made all the drawer faces and got them to fit perfectly (again, something I've never really experience and there is a lot of sanding and fitting involved)!

 Here I'm using a jig to drill holes for my shelf pins to get ready for the final glue-up of the top!  Something I didn't think about was how my panel would be too thin to drill the shelf pins through so i had to glue a strip of wood to get more thickness.

This picture is solely for memory sake to remember just how pregnant I was (and even more by time the class ended)!

 The top hutch is finally glued up!!... something I had been dreaming about for months (literally)!

 I wanted the back to be as pretty as possible so I screwed the top rail to the panels...

 ...made some plugs for the first time...

 ...glued em' in!...

 ...and cut the extra off (this Japanese handsaw was wonderful - I knew I'd need my own after this)!

Next I made a large panel for my top, cut it to size and sanded my life away until I could attach it to the hutch.  Because the panel will swell/shrink with season changes I made the front stationary and made the holes in the center and back more oval to give the boards room to expand.  I made sure to cut the plugs out of the extra wood from the top so the color/grain would match.

It was so rewarding to cut off those plugs and sand the top smooth!
Next I made up a large panel for the main drop-down door which consisted of several classes to get to the point where it was sanded, fit in my opening perfectly and had the right angle on the bottom edge for the hinge.  I assembled my panel by using dominos in the joints to add strength.  The Festool is really awesome.  It's KIND of like a biscuit cutter but not :) ... oh and they're expensive!
 Something else I needed after using are these self-centering drill bits (just like for the shelf pins).  I would not have been able to line up the millions of holes for my piano hinge without this bit!


 For my last class I finished routing out a groove in the back of the hutch and bottom for my backing panels to sit in.  The worse part was chiseling out all the corners to be square!  Lastly, I cut my backs to they were the perfect size!  I didn't attach my backs because I still had a ton of sanding to do once I took it home.

Pretty much finished!  Not only did I need to cut down the pull-out boards (by the small drawer) but I wasn't happy with the end grain showing.  Last minute I decided to glue another piece of wood to the end and I finished sanding it smooth just minutes before the last class of the semester ended!  WAHOO!
Ready for Part 4!?  I AM!
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