Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Setting the size...

Did you ever make airfix models as a kid?

You'd open the pack and start glueing stuff together right away, ugly fingerprint smears of polystyrene cement all over the place, and half an hour later you'd have grey plastic aeroplane/tank/car with ugly ridges of glue and wonky wheels and maybe you'll paint it tomorrow?

That was me anyway. Only before I could paint them they'd always get stepped on out of clumsiness, spite, or nearsightedness by me, my brother, or my Nan respectively.

I knew, even then, that you were supposed to paint the pieces while they were still attached to the frame, to carefully remove them afterwards with a sharp knife (Under adult supervision). I knew this was the way you were supposed to do it but I just didn't have the patience.

I still don't. But with this project I'm somehow forcing myself.

Today I put the holes for the buttons in my control deck.

You may notice that's a slightly darker colour, more on that later.

If you saw the post I had on google+ regarding the button positions well, here you are; this was the winner.
Strange thing was, once the other holes were drilled this really was the only option - everything else just looked too cluttered.
Going to be a bit of squeeze with the wiring considering the angle of the deck but I think it'll be okay.
I'll probably put the 'Coin' on the right and the 'Start' on the left.

The temptation, at this point, to fit all the buttons, attach the deck to the skeleton cabinet, and play some Outfoxies was almost unbearable... but I managed... just.

I did this by distracting myself with the front panel.
Having unearthed my router from the bottom of the stash of my stuff that resides in the in-law's garage I set it up and tested using a scrap of MDF of the same thickness (10mm) that I'm using for the screen surround.

If you've ever used a router you'll know that setting the thing up is the most important step. Once you're all locked in with your blade height set and secured the rest pretty much takes care of itself - but it's still a little daunting when your MDF resources are oppressively restricted.

However, in this case, there was nothing to worry about.

I'm really pleased with how this came out, this is the kind of detail that will hopefully belie the cabinets meagre budget.
You may not be able to make it out on that picture but the router left a little lip all the way around.

As I set about sanding it down it occurred to me that I'd have to seal the edge somehow or it would look terrible when painted.

A little googling put me on to something called sizing, a mixture of PVA based wood glue and water that is used for the very purpose described above.

This small batch I knocked up had a ratio of about 5 parts water to 1 glue. There were all sorts of ratios recommended all over the internet, from 1/1 to 10/1 and everything in between. I settled on five because, well, it as good as anything else.

Then I went crazy with it.

There was just something in the way it looked that gave me total confidence that this was the right thing to do. I'll be giving it a light rub down, probably with wet-and-dry, before I put my undercoat on - which I'll need to buy first.

With both the front panel and the control deck nicely covered I left them to dry and that was the entire product of two hours work.

Probably going to do another batch and coat most of the unit next time out - but I need to check I have all the holes I need drilled and countersunk first.