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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:26 am 
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Hi guys, I've been tasked with making a baby changing topper to attach to a chest of drawers. This will house the changing mat and will require a few side compartments for odds and sods...

There is nothing on the market that will fit / suit the required need. Making to suit is the only option. I'm fairly handy at most things so would like to give this a try, it would be a nice personalised gift.

What I require is a bit like the picture attached, but in oak and the same storage on the right side also.

Image

The people it's for would like it in oak... So i'd like to make a nice clean job of it for them.

Other than general advice on construction... my main questions are...

What would you recommend for the corner / edge joins of this topper once the parts are cut? I'd like all fixings to be invisible from the outside view. I was thinking pocket screw joints with a Kreg guide?

Tools required... any opportunity to get new toys but I already have a table saw. My mitre saw isnt accurate so if one of these is required i'd need to replace it.

Also I assume local timber merchants for an oak sheet or oak furniture panels?... are these easily available ?

thanks again, all advice is greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:57 am 
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It is hard to source oak in PAR suitable lengths without the prohibitive price that makes your job too expensive. You can get it here https://www.slhardwoods.co.uk/products/ ... ound-board but quite frankly the minimum thickness they do is 19mm and I guess you want 12mm for that. Look at the price :shock: Even veneered board is around £60 for a minimum sized 8 by 4 sheet. I just checked my workshop as I recall I had a length of 12mm white oak but I must have used it. I would have given it to you if it was still around.

Have a look in some junk shops for some oak furniture you can rip up and cut your needs from. It will take a lot of planing. For joints I would glue and biscuit, the frame is not taking a lot of force anywhere and this would be easy to do.

Probably not what you wanted to hear

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:08 am 
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davemulheran wrote:
Other than general advice on construction... my main questions are...

What would you recommend for the corner / edge joins of this topper once the parts are cut? I'd like all fixings to be invisible from the outside view. I was thinking pocket screw joints with a Kreg guide?

The depth of timber on these isn't that great, so biscuits are probably out. Glued dowels will be stronger than pocket holes, plus cheaper and will be completely invisible (pocket holes are still visible even when you use the shaped hole plugs - which I personally find quite obtrusive). With dowels or biscuits there is also the plus (so far as baby/childrens furniture goes) that there are NO metal fixings used. If you want to splash out a lot, there's always the Festool Domino.....

davemulheran wrote:
Tools required... any opportunity to get new toys but I already have a table saw. My mitre saw isnt accurate so if one of these is required i'd need to replace it.

With dowels it is only necessary to be able to make a square cross cut. Surely you can adjust your mitre saw to do that? The only tools you'd need are a decent brad point twist bit, a pair of matching dowel points and a drill - possibly also some form of drilling guide to ensure that your drilling is perpendicular to the surface of the material (there are some low cost jigs out there, you can make your own for pennies, or a dowelling jig will also work)

davemulheran wrote:
Also I assume local timber merchants for an oak sheet or oak furniture panels?... are these easily available ?

??? You can get some glued board "sheet" materials for CNC routing work, but generally these are designed for pine furniture manufacture, and they are expensive. As you are now into the area of actual joinery you'd probably be better off coming up with a design, creating a cutting list from that, then ordering your timber from a merchant - who may be able to supply the oak parts planed to dimension ready to cut to length and joint (try British Hardwoods in Bingley for solid oak). Might be an opportunity to learn SketchUp here.

Fundamentally it's a fairly simple piece with six solid wood pieces and a sheet material (plywood?) bottom which could be grooved-in.

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OK, I'm an "old school" chippie, so please don't ask me to do a bodge job - I didn't bring my horse today and in any case you don't seem to have a hitching rail!



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:39 pm 
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dont forget oak =tannin+ steel= rust and black staining so brass or stainless
also remember if its not well seasoned oak is great for carricter as it moves and splits but could be a nightmare from a hygene point off veiw

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:53 pm 
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So another good reason for using dowels or Dominos, then? :wink:

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OK, I'm an "old school" chippie, so please don't ask me to do a bodge job - I didn't bring my horse today and in any case you don't seem to have a hitching rail!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:01 pm 
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Thank you DWD, Job & Knock and All so much for the advice so far. Most helpful!

It seems getting the oak is the major issue... perhaps I could go in another direction, use another more economically priced and available wood.. and then chalk paint and seal. I don't think I would want to go thicker than 15mm.

It would be going on a lovely oak chest of drawers though so such a shame. I've sent a few online quote requests out with my measurements...


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:30 pm 
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15mm is a bit on the thin side for any hardwood, so you'll probably struggle to find any at that thickness. You say it's difficult to find, but have you seen this site? They do mail order as well and have a range of other timbers as well. Don't know the amount you need, but 95 x 19mm section runs at £8.28/metre (197mm @ £18.45/metre) and you are likely to need 3 metres or so, or circa £25 of timber.....

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OK, I'm an "old school" chippie, so please don't ask me to do a bodge job - I didn't bring my horse today and in any case you don't seem to have a hitching rail!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:08 pm 
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Just a quick update guys, thank you all for your help above.

I ended up just buying some spruce furniture panels in 18mm and did a quick and cheap job using pocket holes.

Nearly finished, just need to route round overs on all the edges, final sand and then varnish it to try and match the chest it's sitting on. I bought some ronseal 'medium oak' but it's quite orange on a test piece so won't be using it. Any advice on a decent varnish (water based) that I can look in to? Hard to see colours from a photo I guess so perhaps i'll just have to wing it...

Will I be able to match the drawer colour do you think?

Please bear in mind I am no carpenter, this is the first time i've ever made anything from wood!

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:19 pm 
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excellent job although you cannot roundover a raised or dropped surface it needs to be done before assembly because off the base
but we live and learn :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:22 pm 
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Let me say firstly Dave, you did a good job of that, well done.

The problem you have with trying match a softwood finish with oak is that there is a mix in the softwood fibres and some areas will soak up a lot of colour and others will not so you get a streaky effect using a stain. The varnishes with a colour suspension tend to sit on the surfaces and keep a better uniformity but they can still be a bit streaky where the fibres absorb more finish.

Personally I think I would convince the new mum and dad that a nice satin white painted finish will be much better for baby as it looks clean and hygienic. Buy a bag of pocket hole covers and with a bit of filler it will look lovely.

I am a bit biased against anything brown Dave as it depresses me, it lives in the past for me now :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:30 pm 
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big-all wrote:
excellent job although you cannot roundover a raised or dropped surface it needs to be done before assembly because off the base
but we live and learn :thumbright:


Thank you. Any tips on the best way to round over the raised and dropped parts? I haven't plugged the pocket holes yet so can still remove those pieces :)



dewaltdisney wrote:


Let me say firstly Dave, you did a good job of that, well done.

The problem you have with trying match a softwood finish with oak is that there is a mix in the softwood fibres and some areas will soak up a lot of colour and others will not so you get a streaky effect using a stain. The varnishes with a colour suspension tend to sit on the surfaces and keep a better uniformity but they can still be a bit streaky where the fibres absorb more finish.

Personally I think I would convince the new mum and dad that a nice satin white painted finish will be much better for baby as it looks clean and hygienic. Buy a bag of pocket hole covers and with a bit of filler it will look lovely.

I am a bit biased against anything brown Dave as it depresses me, it lives in the past for me now


Thank you DWD. I agree and am all for painting usually... but I think it would be too stark in contrast to the oak chest of drawers :( If you get my drift? (I do not think they will want the chest painted)

I think the final finish will be the hardest thing here... perhaps a dark oak stain may be better.... I have a few days waiting for this rain to die down to decide.


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