Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dart Cabinet

During one of our shopping trips, Carina and I saw an extremely cheap dartboard set (around $4). We decided that we will include this in our jordkällare-game-room-cave (more on that later - but see picture here) and bought the set. Once home, we found that the quality of the set may reflect the price. The darts are made from a cheap plastic and not extremely straight - one even had a broken point that I needed to sharpen. After playing a few rounds with a plywood board as backing I decided that we need a very nice cabinet for this set. I thus build the cabinet shown below. There may be a bit of a discord between the quality of the set and the cabinet but overall I am happy with the outcome. The cabinet is made from stained pine plywood and the picture and scoreboard from birch plywood.
Finished dartboard cabinet

Cheap dartboard and darts - note the one dart has a shorter point...

Initially I thought that I will quickly build a plywood box to house the board and call it a cabinet. However, when I started to plan it I thought that doors that have a arch to the top may be nice and from then onward the whole thing took on a life of its own. At many steps a simple element became more elaborate and following is a few pictures of how this cabinet evolved from a box rather than just being built.

After quick glance online I saw that most dartbord cabinets are a square box with 2 doors. I thus started by cutting the back and sides using the pine plywood and 2x4 cm beams.
Simple box at the start

As mentioned the doors was where I started to change the whole thing from a mere box into a cabinet. This was of course due to the images on the interwebs of classical cabinets (I later found more information on cabinets and saw this video by DIRESTA - the video also inspired met to continue building something a bit more elaborate).

I therefore decided to make doors with arched tops. After I squared the doors I drew the top of one door and cut it on the scroll saw. I used this first one as template to mark and cut the second door. I spent a bit of time to sanding the doors together to get nice edges that are exactly the same.
Doors with arched tops being sanded
Checking that everything is square

I decided to stain the cabinet but first wanted to add a bit of detail to the front of the door along the edge. I made a cutting tool to cut along the edge and leave a thin line. This did not turn out as nice as I thought but I did have a straight line all around the edge of the doors. Using the Dremel with a I spent one evening carving (and then sanding) small half circles along the line. It looked much better but did take more time than i initially thought I would spend on the details on the door edges.
Adding detail to the door edge

I tried a light oak stain and added two coats.
Testing the stain on the backside

I found some hinges that were removed from a sandbox. I straighten, cleaned and drilled counter sink holes.
Old bent hinges
Hinges like new after some work
Checking fit of hinges

At this stage the project was already out of hand. A picture in contrasting wood across the two doors therefore seemed and OK addition and I started to look for pictures indicating that this may be a dartboard cabinet. I found a few and the simple picture was redesigned into something more complex. I spent a bit of time to edit all the lines to ensure that the whole image will not fall apart when done cutting.
Picture for front and scoreboard stuck to birch plywood
Cutting on the scroll saw
Broken...!?...nope - only half done
Cat critically evaluating progress
Image done

At the same time I realized that we have no idea on how to actually play a game of darts. After more searching online I found a common and seemingly popular game called "Cricket" (  more information on the game here). This necessitated that a scoreboard was included in the inside of the cabinet. I thus designed the scoreboard. I did not want a chalk board and sanded the scoreboard in the middle section. This created a groove for a paper to slide in where we could write the score.
Cutting of scoreboard done
Groove to be sanded marked

Lastly I made some shelves to hold the darts and a pencil. Here it helped that the scroll saw table could be tilted. I drilled holes for the darts, cut a groove for the pencil and stained and glued the shelves to the door.
Slanted shelves
Testing fit of darts

After all the parts were cut I added 3 coats of lacquer to the cabinet and 5 coats of spray lacquer to the image and the score board.
Shiny door

When all the parts were dry and shiny I fitted the doors to the cabinet and glued the picture parts carefully to the doors. Luckily everything seemed to fit nicely.
Right side of picture being glued to door
I glued the score board to the inside and the cabinet was done.
Final clamping

We tested the cabinet in the basement but Carina is hesitant to throw darts towards it (she thinks it is nice in the current condition and will not improve with the addition of holes). If we get a generous offer I will thus sell it ;) - Otherwise the plan it to place it in the jordkällare - and possibly buy better darts.
Doors closed
Parts nicely sliding past each other... reveal...
...a cheap dartboard...
and some darts

The scoreboard
Sliding in a paper (A5)
Writing names and scores
Nice detail on the edge :)
Testing the cabinet
Not a good score

We have the feeling that this is a type of game quite often found in pubs and a future project is to install a bar next to the dartboard.

Opening in action


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rustic work bench (from a 300 year old door)

Since we moved (to Fors), I planned to make a bench to work on. The initial bench was a piece of press-board balanced on a small stand and definitely not ideal to work on.

I finally got round to making the first table for the workshop it and are very happy with the result. It is made from a variety of wooden structures that we found around the house. It is very heavy and extremely sturdy and have placed some of the heavier machines on it.
Final result

I recycled all the wood from things around the house. The top is a very old and very heavy door. The door is tarred on the one side and I expect that it predates the current house (build in 1956). My feeling is that it was part of the smithy or accompanying buildings that was constructed sometime during the 1700's.

First I removed the old handle and hinges. I spent some time sanding the table on the bottom to remove several layers of dirt and dust.
Front of door - top of table
I decided to keep the tar side since it is extremely difficult to remove and makes a very nice work surface.

It seems that, at some stage, a fence for horses ran though our garden. Strewn about in several places we found fence posts that were in different stages of decay. I found four that seemed to be in a relatively good condition and a similar-ish size to use for the table legs.
Large stakes

The first step was to create one flat side that was almost level. I did this by trying to cut as close to a 90° angle using a handsaw.
By hand...
Then there was some sanding.

I wanted a high table and decided the legs should all be 80cm. I thus measured each leg at 6 places from the flat side. I connected these to form a line that should be parallel with the flat side. By ensuring I cut on this line (done by rotating the leg often while cutting), I was able to make cut the leg with two flat sides almost completely parallel to each other. It was more important to have 2 flat sides that were parallel to each other rather than an exact  90° angle to the leg since none of these legs are completely straight (one is actually quite bent).
Legs made
Straight enough to stand

After getting the legs all the same size I did a bit more sanding and finished the door bottom and legs with a coat of linseed oil. This made the wood come alive.

Lastly I wanted to create a lower rack on the table to store wood to dry as well as to make the table more stable. In our garden we have several parts of picket fences that has been discarded for several years. I thought that the support beams of the fences would be perfect for the lower rack.
Old picket fences

The first step was to pry off the picket bits. I did this with an extremely sturdy crowbar that we found in the smithy.

Pickets removed

Then more sanding. I stored the beams for later use since I wanted to add the bottom rack only after the legs were partly in place.

I decided to move the whole operation indoors since each component is reasonably heavy and thought that assembling it close to the final position may be a good idea.

Since the door had a raised outed  level I made some wooden support pieces for the legs to stand level.
Leveling bottom of table

I added all the metal hardware. This was done individually for each leg by measuring and refitting multiple times to get it perfect.

I drilled a hole through each leg to attach a it to the table with a bolt.

I loosely fitted screwed all the legs to the table, turned it upright on a level surface, and adjusted the legs and fittings until everything was level (this meant that I needed to sand two of the legs a bit since the edge of the door is not exactly the same thickness everywhere).
Loose fitting - upside down
Loose fitting - right side up - on level floor

After I was happy with the height and level I added the threaded rod to each of the legs and added more screws to the metal fittings (but did not completely tighten everything).

I measured the distance between each leg and cut the support beams to the correct length.
Measuring bottom rack - remember the picket fences...
Attaching bottom rack

After I attached the support beams I added more screws to the metal fittings and tightened everything.
Adding more screws

A few parallel bars were added to the bottom rack.

Lastly I got some help in adding the linseed oil to the bottom rack.
Table done - ready for final oiling
Linseed oil being applied

We moved the table into the final position in the basement work area and I placed the heavier machines on it.
Table done and in final position

Final result - machines added

I am very happy with this table. It is very sturdy and I later added vice to it. I have many other projects in mind and several of them will be made on this table. Some of the future posts may thus have this table in the background.