Parts Is Parts

It started last week (Wednesday, I think). I let the dog in after school, kind-hearted fool that I am, and took him down into the basement with me while I worked on my china cabinet. I’ve been sanding pieces, trying to get most of the old stain off so I can restain the pieces a uniform color. So I’m working away, not paying attention to anything but my work, and I thought the dog was on his rug next to the table, about six feet from me. I finished a piece, shut off my palm sander and took off my hearing protection, only to hear the phone ring. I ran to my studio, picked up the phone, looked down and saw wood splinters all over the floor in front of my dog. I told the caller, “Please call me back later. My dog just ate my china cabinet!” Apparently, the dog was either bored, or jealous of the cats (or both) and decided to take his frustrations out on an 80 year old piece of poplar. I promptly sent him back out to the yard – he had that hang-dog expression on his face, the one where he knew that he was doing something bad but he felt worse because he’d been caught – and went to analyze the damage. The part Moose Mutt had chewed was a curved piece that attaches to the top (underside) of the cabinet and holds the glass in place. Fortunately, this piece had lost its veneer, so I was going to have to re-veneer the piece anyway, but unfortunately, this curved piece had tenons cut out of the edges, plus it was routed on one side, so trying to fabricate a replacement at home was impossible. I quickly ran to the lumberyard, where the ever-wise Tom Lange told me to call a guy near Fairfax who does custom cabinetry to see if he could make a replacement. Well, he can, but it will cost me.

Enter Tom Hyde, my AutoCAD instructor. (I know alot of Tom’s, don’t I?) I told him my sob story and showed him the remaining pieces (there’s 3 left) and asked for his advice. He said I could draw up a copy of my needed replacement on AutoCAD (with his help, obviously) and if I can find someone with a CNC wood router, I can take my CAD drawing on my memory stick to them, and hopefully get a replacement part fabricated at a lower cost than the cabinet guy quoted me. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be allowed extra time on the CAD computers, or that it wasn’t allowed to do non-schoolwork projects, but not only is it allowed, it’s encouraged. So I took a tracing of my piece to school today with all the necessary measurements, and with Tom’s help I was able to draw up my piece (2D only). My printout matched my tracing, but the real test was at home, where I put the mirror piece (the same shape as my missing piece, but from the bottom of the cabinet) on my CAD printout, and it matched!! It wasn’t a perfect match, but it was darn close, so Thursday I’m going to go back and get the 3D image done. Then I’ll start calling cabinet makers in the area and see if one of them will help me out at a reasonable cost, since I’ve already done all the hard work.

Wish me luck!

P.S. I should mention that Tom Hyde is a super great guy – not just because he wants to help me out, but he really wants students to learn and is willing to take extra time and teach them. Plus, he reminds me of my dad in that he’s extremely smart and understands all that engineerical-type stuff, and he reminds me of my Uncle Don (from when I was high-school age) with his facial expressions and his body posture. Going to CAD class is kind of like going to a family reunion, only without the potato salad.

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