I borrowed one of my co-workers workshop and expertise, so I got to use real power tools on this project and try some more advanced building tactics. I'm glad he pushed me out of my comfort zone a little to try different assembly tactics other than just screwing and gluing. It did make my scribbling-as-we-go plans a little more complected though. Making plans as we went definitely caused a couple 'oops' and pulled him out of his comfort zone (sorry Dan!), but I was a bit pressed for time in getting it done. I was in it for speed.
I don't really like table saws much, and these were big boards, so he did all the ripping of the wood down to size. BTW, for those using Lowes/Home Depot to cut wood for you, I'm gonna have to say, the cuts on the table saw had way less chipping than the rough cuts I had made at the store. I'm glad I didn't just settle with the store cuts for such nice wood. I was a big girl and used the chop saw to cut the small boards to size while he did the ripping.
I didn't take many pictures through the steps, as I couldn't find my camera and I needed my hands to help assemble. But you can get the gist from what I took on his camera.
We routered out all a slot for the intersections of the shelves. I'm glad we did, as it gave us a super precise location for the shelves, which will come in handy when we finish the drawers. We also routered out a spot in the back for the backing board. Routering accounted for the first 3 mistakes we made. Two were in the back and easily fixable but one was right in the front center. I'll get to that later.
Then we found my big calculation error. I forgot to account for the width of the side boards- I only accounted for the rails. Doh! That either made the top and bottom 1.5" too short... or the shelves 1.5" too big depending how you look at it. Since it's much easier to cut down rather than add on, we started cutting. I made sure we could still fit two DVD's side by side in the drawer first, before making the whole thing smaller.
After all the cuts were made we glued the side and front rails on the side panel as shown above. We sanded that corner joint until it was buttery smooth. You can't even tell it's two pieces, even up close.
While those sides were setting, we also veneered the edges of all but one of the exposed sides. I was slightly disappointed in the purebond plywood, as we needed to fill in a big hole just under the face on one edge with bondo before putting the veneer on.
I don't have many picture's on here because it was all hands on deck, but we first screwed the shelves into the grove with a couple pocket screws (and glue). The pocket holes were used mainly for clamping and a little support. The routering made this things super accurate and square with complete ease. Something you don't get when you only assemble with just pocket screws.
I had some nice thick maple around from when I made blocks, so we used that for the feet. We screwed the feet on the bottom board straight through the bottom with regular screws.
After that, we glued the center divider in the shelf (no screws) and then screwed both the divder and the sides in into the bottom with regular screws. It was a little tough to align the feet so as few screws were showing as possible, but we only ended up having to plug two holes (barely noticeable for now, and will be covered up later with drawers).
One other mistake can be seen in this shot here. I had to cut out two notches in each shelf for the front facing to slide around.... and I cut it the wrong size. 'Measure once, cut wrong' is the saying, right? So we just flipped the board around and cut again. (These slots actually came in handy a little later)
This image brings us back to that one bigger router mistake we had. If you look at the bottom front overhang you can see that it's a stip of a different color. That's because we forgot to stop the routered slot and cut straight through the overhang. We ended up ripping that board 1/2" shorter and Dan used some spare maple he had, glued it on, and then routered that piece flush on both sides (all done prior to this stop)
After that, we clamped on the top. With a lot of clamps. We had all the pocket holes drilled out already, but we had to use a socket wrench and bit to actually get the screws in the holes, since there wasn't enough clearance for the drill. That was a pain, and Dan did most of them after I left (Thanks again, Dan!). I guess we could have waited on putting in that second shelf.
Jump ahead, and ta-da! When I got home, I attached the front flip-down drawer, put on the 1/4" backing and loaded it up! The front drawer is has too little clearance to be centered for the euro hinge, so I temporarily have it high until I cut it down more. I plan to cut that down later. We still have the drawers to make so everything we kept out is still in bins like it was on the workbench. It's super disorganized, and half of our stuff is still in the porch... but just wait. When the drawers are done, it'll be organization city!
(Oh and remember those holes I accidentally cut too big and put in the back. It worked out since we have that CD changer down there temporarily and I needed a place to run the wires.)