It took a little more than 1 sheet of 3/4″ thick 4×8 plywood to create the shell, I had to borrow a bit from a second sheet for the mantle. Once this was all cut down to size, I started with the lower legs. These I assembled with my Kreg jig and pocket hole screws.
Notice the raw edges are on the front…this is because a frame will be covering them. I put braces across two places on the bottom pillars…I probably should have done the same on the top :0/
It’s always a good idea to glue up and nail any thing like a picture frame in a corner clamp with glue before nailing it down on the project. This makes it easier to get your corners lined up and place the whole thing square.
I needed to add a bit of plywood at the bottom of the frame for the foot to rest on. This I glued and nailed down. And story of this project, I ran out of the beaded wood….so the frame wasn’t nailed when I took the picture. Estimates are always much more tidy on paper. They don’t always take into account mitered corners and end of boards, or big mistakes at the router table…but they will in future!!
Mitered corners challenge me on the best of days….trying to get mitered corners to match up on something I couldn’t cut with one pass about did me in. I had to finish the cut with a handsaw and then clean up the edge the disk sander on the Shopsmith.
I repeated the process for the upper pillars with a small variation. There is a piece of plywood behind the archway that covers the hole in the wall, so the inside needed to be shorter than the outside so it would sit flush on the plywood. You have to pay a little more attention when nailing things down since there is now a distinct right and left.
There is also a level change above the archway which was a little tricky to make work as it involved putting a groove on the top of the arch, which required help from my husband. It’s already there in these pictures. We had to turn it up on edge and feed it through the router table with a 1/2″ bit. We survived, then learned a hard lesson about circles and radiuses.
I assumed that since we cut this off using the arch as a guide that the bottom big piece would sit under the arch and the smaller piece would fit in the groove on top of the arch….no. The half inch bit we used to cut the pieces apart changed the radius enough that there were gaps when we fit them together. So naturally, we tried the same thing again….without much better results. In the end we traced the arch and cut it with a jig saw.
This is where I made my biggest mistake….for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to cut out the hole where the hatch goes….I cut it too big. But hey, I took a picture of remembering to drill a hole in the corners so the jig saw make the turn ;0)
I also measured and screwed down the two side columns to the plywood at this point. Cringed as I cut the archway to fit, it was a little scary cutting into my masterpiece, I didn’t want to do it wrong.
Next came the assembly of all the little frames that go under the mantle and directly above. The large on under, and the two smaller ones above were just glued. I decided to assemble the hatch door with pocket hole screws for a little more strength.
Since these were being nailed on, I just butt joined the edges, added a bit of glue and clamped them for about half an hour before setting aside.
For the hatch door I used Kreg’s fine thread 1 1/4″ screws and eased them in slowly…there’s nothing more frustrating than when your wood splits when you put a screw in too fast ;0)
On to the router table once the glue had dried on these. I added a 1/4″ radius to each exposed edge, meaning I left it alone if it would be butting up against another edge.
The hatch door was going to have a screen added to it. With the theory that a remote could still be used for the DVD player etc. through the screen. This required a rabbet around the edge for the screen to set in. I happen to have a rabbeting bit with a ball bearing that makes this sort of thing a breeze.
Now to pin nail these boxes where they belong ;0). There were a few more plywood pieces to screw together for the bottom, the ones on the top I made out of maple, just two pieces with mitered corners.