My Display

Over the last few months I have been working on a new home for my collection.  I enjoy woodworking almost as much as I enjoy Pez...almost.  Below is a look at what was involved.  Be sure to put on your goggles before you look at the following.  Safety first.  My plan is to build a base cabinet approximately 36" tall, 60" wide and 30" deep.  This will be used to store carded Pez and miscellaneous display items.  On top of this base I am going to build three uprights.  They will be 20" deep and about 60" tall, each.  These will be used to store my display dispensers and a few other items.  Let's get started...

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This is a look at my shop.  It's pretty clean in this picture, but just wait.

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Here's my lumber supply for this project.  It consists of six 3/4" sheets of Birch plywood, two sheets of 1/4" Birch plywood and six 1" X 8" X 8' rough sawn pieces of Birch hardwood.

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This is what we will start with.  This is the rough sawn birch.  With a little work, it will be beautiful.  Let's get to the milling process.  Once finished, this material will be our 1" X 2" face frame and door frame material.  We'll get to that in a minute.

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A quick run through the planer and walla, you have a real pretty piece of lumber.  The planer is a great tool.  This 5HP Bad Boy is definitely a "More Power" tool.  The next step would be to straight edge this piece of stock and the we'll slice them up.  This is done by cutting one side of the stock perfectly straight.  I use a long straight edge attached to the birch board and then cut on the table saw.  Then we remove the straight edge and slice the wood just a hair bigger than the measurement we want, 2".  This allows the edges of the strips to be planed one more time for a super deluxe fine finish.

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Here's what we have when we are finished.  All our face frame material sliced and cut to size, and we have a gajillion pounds of sawdust.  This is great for the garden.  The next step is to build the "carcass" of the cabinet.  This will give you a better idea of what the display will look like when it's finished.  The first step is to cut the ply to size, and then assemble the pieces by using a dado.  What's a dado you ask.  Glad you asked.  Here, I'll show you.

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A 3/4" groove is cut so that the two pieces can be joined.  This joint with a little glue is very strong.  This joint is done using a router.  It can also be done using a table saw and a blade called a dado blade, but I prefer a 3/4" bit and a router.  Another joint you might have noticed in the picture above is the 1/4" rabbet on the upright piece.  This is done so that a 1/4" piece of ply can be inserted for the backing.  Then the horizontal piece is just cut 1/4" short.

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Using a jig that I built, the router just cuts the groove all the way across the ply.  It's best to go about half way into the wood (3/8").  Then the cross piece is inserted in the groove.  I used a router bit that was just a shade short of the required 3/4".  That would explain the hammer.  I think I needed a hammer with a motor.

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Here's a look at the four assembled parts of the cabinet.  The one in the center of the picture will be the base.  The other three tall ones will stand on top of the base.  These will be the uprights.  Now let's install the backing.

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This is the 1/4" Birch ply that we'll use.  Real pretty wood!

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The 1/4" Birch plywood is cut to size and then using glue and a finish nailer, it's nailed to the back of the carcass (in the rabbet).  Now let's get back to the face frame.  This will be the piece that is attached to the front of the carcass.

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Do you remember the face frame material we had all cut to size?  Now is the time we assemble these and make the cabinet fronts.  The machine on the left is called a horizontal borer.  Talk about your More Power Tools.  This one is great.  It has an electric motor and uses pneumatic power to clamp the lumber in place and move the drill bit forward.  It's used to drill the holes in the uprights and horizontal pieces of the frames.  You just insert the stock against the built in jig, press the foot pedal and shazaam, you have a perfect hole.  Change the direction of feed of the horizontal piece 90 degrees, drill them and the holes line up right on the money.  Then a dowel is inserted into the holes, add a little glue, and ...

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a little time in the bar clamps, we have a completed face frame.  The next step would be to nail the frame to the front of a carcass.

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Here's the tool we'll use for this job.  This is a nail gun.  Once again we use a little pneumatic (air) power.  

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And here's a pic of the three uprights with their face frames attached.

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Here's a look at the base cabinet with the face frame attached.  You might have noticed that the top of the base had some molding around it.  I've built the base to be about 30" deep and the uprights about 20" deep.  This will leave a 10" ledge on the base cabinet.  To clean that up I did the following.

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I used a piece of the 1/4" ply and attached it to the top using the finish nailer.  Then I nailed a piece of molding around the perimeter.

The next step is to build some shelves for the insides of the cabinets.  I am going to build racks for the uprights and pull-outs for the base cabinet.  Let's start with the uprights.  For this we'll use some more Birch ply and 5/16" dowels.  This is a great way to use up some of the scraps.  Lumber is too precious of a commodity, and very expensive, to waste.  Here's how they went together.

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First you get yourself plenty of dowels.  The guy at Home Depot thought I was nuts, justifiably so.  And then cut some strips of plywood.

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Then you take your plywood strips and drill holes for the dowels.  Trying to figure out the exact placement of the dowels is tricky.  Once I figured it out, I built another jig to make the monotonous job of drilling a bit easier.  The jig has marks on it (see the chicken scratch on the wood in the pic on the right).  These marks tell me where to place the board.  The Drill Press is set to only go a certain depth.  Also, the jig is clamped to the table of the Drill Press and then you just place the board up against the fence and you're all set to drill.  Drilling 472 holes in this manner gives one time to think.  And I didn't hit my finger once.  The next step is to clean up the edge of the plywood.  This is done using wood tape.  I'll show you.

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These are the tools we'll need to complete this part of the project.  The wood tape, palm sander, trimmer and an iron.  The iron is a very versatile tool.  *Not* a "More Power" tool, but handy in the shop and in the home.  The tape has an adhesive on it that is heat activated.  So the tape is applied using the iron.

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This is how it looks after the ironing process.  It still needs to be cleaned up a bit.  For this we'll use our trimmer.

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See how nicely the razor trims the small bit of excess off?  What a handy gadget.  After the trim, it gets a little sanding with a palm sander to take off any residual glue.  Here's a look at a rack when it's finished.

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This one is actually attached to the cabinet.  I am going to make one complete rack like this for the back of each upright and for the two sides of the outside two uprights.  The sides of the center upright will be just normal shelves.  These can be used for Trucks and other Pez goodies.  This is how one of them will look.

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Now it's time to work on the pull-outs for the base cabinet.  I wanted these to be able to display carded Pez.  With that in mind, I built three pull-out shelves for each section (total of nine) of the base cabinet and placed them about 3" apart in height.  This will be better explained in pictures as I tend to run off at the mouth a bit.

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The shelves will be Birch plywood and have a piece of trim on the end of them.  The trim will be used as a finger pull, of sorts.

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These are the pull-out guides that the shelves will ride on.  Luckily I purchased the heavy duty drawer guides for this job.  These have the capacity of holding up to 100 lbs.  I figure I can hold about 22 cards per shelf and the total weight of them will almost hit 1 lb.  I'll get a better shot of these shelves in a bit.  Let's get to work on the doors, shall we.

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Using the same process as before when we planed and straight-edged the wood, we have our stock already for the doors.  This is a fun part of cabinet making as you get to use some pretty neat router bits.

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Would you look at that bit.  That's the bit we'll use to make the joint/detail of the door frames.  With one pass of the bit on the router table shown above, a detail will be cut on the inside of each piece of stock.  Remove the nut (not me) and switch the two cutters and run the edge of the horizontal pieces (rails) and you have your joint.  This is very hard to explain so once again I'll use a picture.

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The detail is on the right.  The reverse of the detail is done on the edges of the rails only (on the left) so that they fit snugly in the detailed part of the frame.  Like so...

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Doesn't that fit just wonderful?  A little more glue, a couple of clamps and 30 minutes on the clock...

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Once this process is finished, we need to use that good old router once again for the finger pull.

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Look at that smooth finish.  Actually, I'm fibbing.  It still takes a bunch of sanding to get it ready for the finish.  Luckily, they make sanders with motors.

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The above shows the rabbet that I cut on the back of the door frames.  This is where the glass will be installed.  I used a router to cut most of the groove.  For the corners, since the router , with it's guide, won't cut there, I used a chisel.  The chisel does not have a motor :(  And, it takes some skill to use a chisel.  This is something I don't have.  That's why I like jigs and tools with motors and guides.  Next we'll move onto the hinges.  But, before we do, let's apply the finish.

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I wanted to keep the wood as natural as possible.  I found a stain, Fruitwood, that  just set off the beauty of the Birch.  I applied a very light coat.

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Next came the protective coat.  This is a very important process in wood working.  With this in mind, I spared no expense.  I went with Varathane Diamond finish and I hired the best in the business to apply it.  I had him flown in all the way from Slovenia.  As you can tell, his eyesight is not the best, but even so he is a true artist :)  Back to the hinges! 

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Above is a pic of the super size drill bit (35mm, or is that 36mm) used to drill for the concealed hinges, pictured right.  Drill about 3/8" down and the hinge fits right into the hole.  A couple of screws, and we're all set.  Before we do that, let's first install the glass.

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To protect the little morsels inside from the mean old sun's damaging UV Rays, I am going to apply a protective film to the glass.  This film cuts out 98% of these rays.  All we need for this project is some slippery liquid, a squeegee, exacto and the film.  This film is very dificult to apply.  Just the slightest bit of dust under the film and it shows.  Due to responsible planning on my part, I applied the film in the shop.  There's hardly any dust particles floating around in there.

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Here's a pic of the glass.  I made the glass by hand.  I ground up the silica and're not buying this are you?  Would you believe that this is hand blown glass?  How about I bought it at Discount Glass down the street?  This glass has a 1" bevel on the ends for that cutesy look.  The film is applied to the back of the glass.

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Once the film on the glass has dried, about 3-4 weeks according to the instructions (I waited a few hours), I made some quarter round.  These small trim pieces will hold the glass in place.  Watch...

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A couple of small brads and we're in business.

Guess what.  We're finished.  Now it's time to fill up the display and snap some photos of the finished project. 

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Here's a before shot of the alcove where the cabinet will be...

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And here's the after.

And here's some assorted pictures for your viewing pleasure.

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Thanks for viewing this page.  I hope you enjoyed your wood working lesson.  You're an A+ student!  Be sure to count your fingers before you leave.

Please get me out of the bkbutton.jpg (2543 bytes)                            qbutton.jpg (3114 bytes)