Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

A day of no visible progress

Posted by joeabbott on December 20, 2013

If you looked at the cabinet project today, you’d see no discernible difference from how I left I the day prior … and that’s because I’ve done nothing. Or, more exactly, done nothing with on the assembly. I have, however, been very busy at home. Where to start …


Last night it snowed and, while I’d planned my day at home, Suzy had to get to an eye appointment and then to work. Her Prius is usually a perfect car for this sort of commute but with the snow, she decided to take my all-wheel-drive SUV, along with its new brakes and tires. And I preferred it that way, too.

Cut List

While Suzy taking my vehicle didn’t slow up the project directly, my “oh oh” moment (documented here) caused a problem. The place that we get the plywood from isn’t open on the weekend, and I needed it now to make progress or I’d have to wait until Monday. While I could make some progress, I preferred to not accept the compromises resulting from the delay and so I decided I had to get my truck and then the plywood.

Late Holiday Gifts

In addition to these delays, I had some in-laws asking me if I could help them get some items from the Microsoft Company Store. As it’s not open on the weekend, I had to make the call on which day (today\Friday or Monday … Tuesday is a Company holiday) to spend running that errand. So, with today already consumed not working on the project, I decided to run to Microsoft after getting the lumber.

imageMaking Some Progress

While I didn’t make progress inside the house on the actual cabinet, I couldn’t let the whole day go to waste, and so I spent some time out in the garage cutting out the parts from the plywood. The joy of spending time on your knees on concrete in 30 degree weather! Yay!

Most of the parts are cut ~1/8” oversized, but that’s fine and part of the plan. Right now I’m breaking down the plywood panels using a circular saw and a guide rail. That would probably do for all the cuts, but I plan on bringing the pieces that need to be “mass produced” through my table saw.

See, the table saw is great for repetitive cuts but I don’t have the right layout to breakdown entire 4’x8’ sheets of material … it’s just too bulky. Or I’m clumsy or I don’t have the right setup or whatever.

So, I break the material down to within an 1/8”, then I can take those panels (approximately 2’x2’) through the table saw, cutting all the common dimensions in one setup; then changing the setup and cutting all the next ones.

In that way I get all the parts the exact same size!

That’s where I am

So, I worked until about 1:30PM today on breaking down the parts into rough cut pieces, I documented my “oh oh” moment, and ensured I understood all the parts I yet needed to cut out of the final piece of plywood. Then I drove into Seattle, swapped cars with Suzy, installed my lumber-carrying rack, and picked up the plywood. After getting that home, I drove to Microsoft campus and got the requested gifts. Phew!

Assuming there’s not another snow storm or other impediment to my daily plans, tomorrow I’ll cut the base trim and install that, put biscuits into the sub-bottom and attach that, and then cut the bottom panel (which is a crux piece). Let’s hope the weather is clear and my planning is now complete!

We’ll chat again soon.


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