Sunday, December 14, 2008


From left:
1. Hanger bolt - the wood threads will drive into the pedestal, the machine threads will receive the threaded insert.
2. The brass threaded insert which will go in the top.
3. The jig to set the insert: a pair jam nuts with the insert threaded on. This will allow driving the insert into the top with a wrench (the wrench turns the top jam nut which spins the whole thing).
4. A few test holes and a practice drive.

I'd much rather chuck a piece of all-thread with the jam nuts and insert in the drill press. The drill press holds it all vertical/ perpendicular to the work so it threads in straight (you don't want the insert to thread in on an angle for obvious reasons). The drill press is too small for the tops, tho, so I'll be threading them in by hand/eye - hence the practice run.

Success. Twice, even.

Same deal with the pedestals: it's a pretty deep hole and you don't want it on an angle. Again, I'm taking my chances here by hand/eye, using the square as a guide. I probably could've made this work on the drill press but I was on a roll. I lucked out two more times.

I used the jam nuts again to drive the the threaded portion of the hanger bolt into the pedestals, being careful to leave the right amount sticking out. I have my doubts about threading into MDF - it's not the strongest stuff for holding threads. My original plan was to drill out the center of the peds, glue a solid wood plug in, and the thread the hanger bolt into the wood plug. That attachment would only be as strong as the glue, this one is only as strong as the MDF. If this gets wobbly, strips out, or otherwise fails, I'll go with the wood plug plan.

I drilled a center hole thru the bottom solid elements and another deep hole in the bottom of each ped. A giant lag bolt runs up from the bottom. I got the wrong size lags, tho, so I have to make another trip to the hardware store.

Some of the color variation you're seeing here is because some of the parts are sanded and some aren't. The top on the left, e.g., looks a lot lighter because it was sanded. Sanding dulls the gloss and leaves a white dust.

Right now my finishing plan is to spray them with shellac and see how they look. If they're too glossy, I'll shoot some Waterlox satin on them and see how that looks - the same stuff I used on the bed. Spraying finish is a little weather-dependent for me, because I spray in the garage (out into the driveway). Daylight is a big plus, too.

My brother-in-law is a professional painter with LOTS of spraying experience. He's due in for a week long visit this Thursday, so maybe I'll wait and recruit him to do it.

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