Monday, March 10, 2008

Making a city box...I don't actually know anything about working with MDF

This is the side piece for a "city box" I'm making.
The home shows seem to use a lot of medium density fiberboard (MDF) in their projects, especially the home makeover shows and the ones like Trading Spaces with severe budgets. I had gotten a small piece just to have around, because I do like to try out new materials for crafts. I finally started a project with it: I'm making an open-topped box that's shaped like a city skyline.

This is a beginning to a larger project I've been doodling for a long time: a godzilla/dinosaur shaped bookshelf. The box is supposed to be a companion piece, a toybox: the buildings that the big monster stomps on.

The box is pretty simple: a 3'x1' skyline outline, a couple of endpieces, a bottom, and a dowel handle.

My wife thinks I'm insane: for some reason, she doesn't particularly want a Godzilla scene in our house. But I'm getting a kick out of making a piece of furniture that looks like something else. But right now I'm learning that it's not so easy to cut straight lines on my small tablesaw when the board you're using is a great deal longer than the table. I got some woodworking tips from my friend Bill Woodburn last night, though, so I think if the weather improves I'll drag out the table saw again and clean up the edges.

Bill's tip was to hot-glue or clamp a 1x2 board to the underside of the workpiece at the right distance to serve as a guide against the edge of the tablesaw, to let you cut a straight line. That should work great.

I was all set to screw the MDF pieces together with drywall screws, but Bill was saying that screws don't hold well in the MDF, that glue works much better. So I'll probably do something with glue instead.

One thing about the skyline box: it's an easy shape to cut using power tools. I cut the vertical cuts on the table saw, and did the horizontal ones with a jigsaw.

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