THE STEREO CABINET: Finally Done!
Months after starting work on the stereo cabinet, it is finally finished and moved to its new home in Brooklyn. When I last posted we had completed building the boxes for the upper and lower cabinets.
I had this idea in my head that the lower box need to sit on a base that consisted of some dimensioned stretchers and some shapely legs. A few sketches and trial runs later Brad and I had worked out what we wanted. The stretchers and legs were fitted together with mortise and tenon joints so that even though looking sleek and slender, they would be strong enough to hold the whole case when fully loaded with books and albums.
We made the drawer fronts with some birds eye maple for a little added interest. Brad built the boxes of the drawers with some nice dovetail joinery. Anything that takes this long to build needs to last a while.
The lid for the turntable box was put on with invisible hinges and we routed out a little finger groove so that you can actually lift the lid.
The back of the boxes are made from birch plywood because you can’t get maple plywood at Home Depot!
I love, love the grain in the wood and could have left the natural color with a little protective clear coat, but it needed to coordinate with Ryan and Emily’s other furniture, so it needed some color. I found a stain that I loved. We diligently tested the stain on a scrap piece of wood and got really excited to be coming into the home stretch on this project.
Finally after 8 months we would be able to deliver the Christmas present. WooHoo!!
One problem, once the stain was on the whole piece, I hated it. The color was fine but the wood did not absorb it evenly, so it was blotchy and ugly. All that hard work just to ruin it in the last step. There was a big lesson learned here…..I shouldn’t assume that just because I’ve stained a few things here and there that I know it all. It took only a few minutes of Google searching to learn that maple has some pores that are much more open than others and thus stain often absorbs unevenly.
There were many different opinions out there about how to remedy this problem, but there was one thing everyone agreed on. The only way to fix the problem after the fact was to sand all that stain back off. So that’s what we did. I’d like to say that we smiled happily while we sanded once again, but the truth of the matter is that both Brad and I hate to sand. But we celebrated big time when we finished re-sanding!
In the end, we decided to try using an alcohol based wood dye and after some experimentation and some serious fumes it looked pretty good. This is a job that requires a very well ventilated area….just in case you were thinking of running out and buying some to try. Then we put a couple of coats of a clear matte polyurethane over top of the stain. And yes we did sand between the coats. I’m thinking if we keep finishing furniture that I should invest in the stock of a sandpaper manufacturer.
Here’s how it came out:
While it took us months to complete, it could have gone much faster if we weren’t just working on it a few hours at a time on the weekends. So actual total hours of labor involved was really not bad. And now I love it and more importantly Ryan and Emily love it! As a side note, all of their books and albums didn’t fit. I’m thinking they are going to need to move to a much larger apartment with a library and a music room one day.
Next up, we’re making them a skinny coffee table. The apartment is small, so that little living room doubles as a dining room. As the whole room is only about 9 feet wide, they need a narrow coffee table to use for eating (and probably stacking the occasional book or two…I’m just guessing here).