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wallmaxx 11-29-2007 12:45 AM

Finish Carpenters - I have a new respect for your trade.
You know, after framing and remodeling over 350 structures from sheds to huge multi unit apartments, I have become accustom to doing very good work, efficiently and at a fair price.

This finish work - holy cow Batman - its exciting because nothing comes by second nature...I have to actually THINK every step through.

You finish guys rule. :notworthy (So do Swedish babes - but that's a diff thread)

It all started as a framing remodel. Once we turned the bedroom into a media room, busted out a wall; put in an arched CO, I was asked to do a finish carpentry project - build an entertainment center into the old closet. - I soon realized that:

A: my tool inventory is all wrong for this kind of work. (not enough clamps, need 2 dedicated router tables, need a dedicated shop with dust extraction, scrapers, a precision measuring device to 32nds, gallons of wood GLUE, not a job-site table saw, an out feed table that allows plywood to be cut in either direction, have a separate painting / staining area that is dust free and heated, etc.)

B: the depth of planning and sequencing for this kind of work will take time to get down cold. (like don't build units that become impossible to reach into to paint, build parts in modules - then make sure you can lift / transport them and get them into the final destination)

C: not every adjustment can be made with a hammer.


E: ASSUME NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found that even though I drew out all my pieces from my main cad drawing - I had all the birch plywood drawn at 3/4" thick. It is not so. Try 11/16". Good thing I re-checked prior to all the ripping. Add an hour to CAD to adjust the drawing so that the cut sheet is accurate.

I am so glad that I had checked out some of the threads here about cabinets. I went with Blum 170 degree hinges. That decision saved me in two ways.

One: my reveal was all whacked, tight at the hinges - big gap at the close point - fully adjustable hinges are AWESOME!

Two: I built a sliding bottom shelf drawer and it would have not been able to be pulled out with anything less than 170 degree.

Looks like I will be studying up on cabinet making. It's a whole new kinda fun with wood and hardware (and its warm and dry too).

I'll take some pix once I get it more finished.


neolitic 11-29-2007 08:38 AM

One shock to the system is,
tape rules are for rough measurements!
Templates, jigs, gauges, and a steel Starrett ruler are for cabinet work.
For real custom fits, you might try looking into the boat wright's trick bag,
stuff like "sticking" a fit.:laughing:
Anyway, it's mostly about repeatable cuts, not always an exact measurement!

ApgarNJ 11-29-2007 05:32 PM

I love finish work, but I never got into making cabinets. I would know how to do it if I had a shop all setup like you described. I am thinking that may be something I do later in life when I don't want to be on site all the time.
Cabinet making is a whole different story than just doing finish trim in a house.
I don't get enough requests for cabinets, and if I can't be efficient with it, and do it right, I don't try and just get by.

troubleseeker 11-29-2007 08:26 PM

Sounds like you will enjoy the finish work. you have already mastered what most framers never comprehend,1/8" is not "perfect", and the way to adjust a fit is not with a longer swing of a 28oz hammer. I have always been fascinated by the fact that almost every framer claims that he can do finish work ( can count on one hand those I've met who really could), while I have met very few trim guys who brag that they can do great framing. Not to knock framing guys, because the guys who frame the ridiculous roof designs that many of todays archetects come up with have their sh.t together, it is just that most guys cannot switch off the "framing tolerance" and get into "finish tolerance".

ApgarNJ 11-29-2007 08:44 PM

I like taking my jobs from framing to finish, they are moderate sized additions and up to now, i haven't had one i couldnt' frame. if i start building new houses, then i'd hire a framer but since additions can be so tricky with tying into the old, i like to do it myself so that it gets done exactly right and i know if anythig needs to be changed. plus, i enjoy being able to see how the job progresses instead of just calling on subs to do all the work. I have no problems going from framing to finish because it's not from one day to the next. there are a lot of other thigns i do on the job between those to parts of it. I can see where there is a need for framers and trim to be separate but in the old days, carpenters started and finished the job and did all the framing and trimwork till it was done.

Leo G 11-29-2007 11:00 PM

Welcome to the world of fine carpentry and cabinet making. If I see a 1/8" gap I usually say I could drive a train through that. When making cabinets and especially faceframes you need to have a very accurate saw and measuring device. When you make a FF for a cabinet that has a lot of stacked parts, those 1/32" add up quick. I usually try to get my measurements to 1/128", .0078". I have recently put a Wixey digital measuring gauge on my tablesaw that is accurate to .005". Changed my world. I have a 2800 sq ft shop, two uni saws, 3 shapers, edge sander, planer, drill press, jointer, lots and lots of clamps, 3 routers, 45 bits, williams and hussey molder with a few dozen profile knives, spray room, spray guns and the list goes on and on. Takes a lot to do a high end quality job.

Working out in the field doing trim install, crown, base and cabinets has its own challenge. Out of square, level, plumb all need to be addressed. At least in the shop you usually deal with 90* in all 3 planes. But most of the carpenters I meet out in the field when I am installing my cabinets usually say "nice cabinets, where'd you get them?" When I tell them I made them, they are usually flabbergasted. They start looking at the joinery and how tight and well fit everything is. They usually admit that they would have a hard time doing what I do and make money at it at the same time.

So as I said at the beginning, welcome to the world of cabinetmaking. It is a great trade and can be fun if you get the right types of jobs. But you can't compete against any of the Box stores, you have to make the quality worth the price. I've been doing it now for about 20 years. A lot of the fun is gone, and it is now - just my job. I wish I could get the excitement back.

Cherry Entertainment unit

Sapelle' 493 bottle wine room

Teetorbilt 11-29-2007 11:17 PM

Welcome to fine woodworking! Today we don't even work to 64ths. We're in decimals now. Good accuracy is +/- 0.005", we hand finish from there.

wallmaxx 11-30-2007 12:27 AM

Leo G - wow!!!:notworthy I log into this thread, every so often just to look at the wine of art stuff.

I can see that I will be in training for quite a few years to reach your level. Creativity, proper tools, complete shop and spray area, education in techniques, and F^&%^*(*^&^%&^* patience....that's all I need.

I'm just happy that the HO wanted these painted.

Now I have just a little problem that I will address in a new thread.

Leo G 11-30-2007 08:35 AM

You also need to have a perfectionists attitude. It is a blessing and a hindrance at the same time. What you did there looks very good. How are you going to deal with the gap around the whole cabinet, or is it just going to be cased out? Looks like you have potential.

Tom R 11-30-2007 07:17 PM

Yeah, - - not a bad job at all there, Wallmax.

And hey Leo, - - and here I always thought you just did demo-work!! :laughing: J/K- great stuff there . . . :thumbsup:

Trimwerx 12-03-2007 08:20 PM

Wallmax. Your first post made me laugh. The guy i do most of my work for was a framer for 20 years or so and the best one i've ever seen. But since he's started gc'ing, he's started to get into all the different aspects of carpentry and i've watched him go through all those "discoveries" you posted. He was proud of himself today when he told me he's learned to "eye" small measurements to a 16th, instead of the usual, "add/cut off a blade"

And leo. That wine rack is sweet.

skymaster 12-09-2007 06:34 PM

Leo; Really great work Sir:
As far as the gap that is not a gap; Looks more like an interstate truck stop ROFLOL:laughing:

WALLMAX I am only having fun with ya :thumbup: job look very nice, case the opening and boo t full

Scott Young 12-09-2007 09:31 PM

the hardest part about finish carpentry is know when enough is enough. each project i have done, i have always had to finally say i am through. i could point out every flaw on the project and most of them were invisible to the customer. my vanity is what always drove me if i am being honest. i didn't build for the approval of the customer, but for the next craftsman that would add to or tear out my work years down the road. i wanted him to say, "wow! now that guy is a true carpenter." silly i know, but i have often said such of craftsmen i came behind. we all have made fun of the hacks that we have been behind and admired the work of true carpenters of years past.

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