Eighteen months later

This is really embarrassing. I started on the sideboard project back in late November, 2013. I even posted on it exactly a year ago, talking about how I didn’t want the project to take a year. Oops. I can’t really explain why it’s taken so long to work on it again, although part of it was that it was so well loved, and could never find an opportunity to unload it to finish.

Well, with Mother’s Day coming up, and a huge purchase made for the wife (I finally got her a minivan), I was looking for ideas around the house that I could help out with. I gave her an entire week of not having to cook dinner. I thought finally finishing the sideboard couldn’t hurt.

I had cut enough plugs way back when out of a scrap piece of maple, and I happened to know where they were. I just grabbed them, some glue, and applied the plugs to the remaining ten screw holes on the legs. After the glue dried, they were all flush cut. To cover the exposed plywood edges, I used the veneer on the front side, since I didn’t have long enough material to use wood. I trimmed it off with my pocketknife, and need to sand the edge just a touch.

For the ends, I did have the proper material on-hand, being the leftover soft maple. One side was pretty well bent, so I couldn’t run it straight through the table saw without a jig. That’s where the TS55 and rail come in so handy. I ripped enough to give a new straight line, then measured in about 3/4″ and ripped three pieces. With the kerf, they came in between 1/2″ and 5/8″ thick. I wasn’t aiming for an particular thickness, but that seemed good. I cut the pieces to length and installed simply with glue. There’s a good bit of side grain and ply grain that should keep it secure. I also cut two pieces to cover the adjustable shelves. I’ll get the clamps out for that.

The key part of the plan was being able to use the Festool sanders right where it was, inside the house. Virtually no dust at all. The ETS 150/3 took care of the top, although I need to hit one more spot that is pretty scratched up. The DTS 400 took care of all the corners, narrow pieces, and the hardwood banding on the top, particularly in a couple of trouble spots. I was starting to burn through the veneer in one spot where the plywood met the edge, as there was some variance where the router bit dug in a bit more than needed.

I absolutely love both sanders. I wasn’t quite sure about the DTS at first, but can certainly see the benefit of having the delta-esque pad. The vibration is a bit worse than the ETS, however it’s also a bit more susceptible to the suction pull -it needs less. You can feel the DTS being sucked down to the panels when you use it. I do love how the DTS can go right up to any edge or corner.

The top was sanded to 220, the sides 120. Those will be bumped up before stain goes on. I’ll be using the General Finishes Java gel stain again, this time topping it with some satin topcoat or arm-r-seal. Haven’t decided yet. It won’t be a gloss finish, though. With how easy and quick the sanding goes with the Festool stuff, I’ll have no problem getting this done by Saturday night. Just a bit of sanding on the interior, bringing the rest of the exterior to 220 and it will be ready for the gel. I shouldn’t have to move it at all except away from the wall.

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