My Summer Project Per Madsen Rackit style CD Drawers

CD Drawers

As I promised in Sunday’s post, I wanted to show off my summer project—well, it took most of the fall too. I have six new drawers that fit in my Per Madsen equipment and record racks. For an amateur, they came out fairly nice.

Home Made CD Drawer - This is one of the six matching CD drawers that I built over the summer using the Per Madsen Rackit concept.
Home Made CD Drawer – This is one of the six matching CD drawers that I built over the summer using the Per Madsen Rackit concept.

We’ve been in our Congress house for five years, and the living room seemed a little unfinished, sort of like we were going to move again soon. I’m not planning on ever leaving this house until they drag me off to the crematorium, but Queen Anne has begun obsessing with HGTV shows recently, and that usually means that there’s a moving van on its way. I decided to work on this project to see if I can forestall that—“head her off at the pass,” as it were.

I’ve talked about our record racks before in this blog, and we’ve been pleased with how they work, but Per up and retired about a decade ago, so he’s not making new stock. Other cabinet makers have taken up the challenge, and on Etsy, you can see how their versions if you search for RackIt Record Racks.

Even though they’re not making CDs any longer, I wanted a net set. I had two of Per Madsen’s drawers, but my collection overflowed into several Video Tape units (talk about obsolete), so it made for a mash-up of sizes. After mulling the problem over for a couple of years, I modified his design into something that works better. The first change that I made was to make the drawers out of half-inch Baltic Birch plywood instead of the 1/8″ that he used. That meant that I’d lose space for 3 or 4 CDs, but I made more units. The second difference is that I used dark hardwood for the drawer fronts. This batch was made from Tzalam—a species that comes from Mexico and Central America and is not on the endangered list. Besides, it was on sale, so I bought enough lumber for the drawers and a future top when I get to it.

I wanted to use ball-bearing slides for the drawers, but they don’t come in a 14” length (12” or 16” are the common choices. I found this out after I completed the stile-and-rail sides, so I had to insert panels for a place that the slide’s rear screw could mount. If I were to start over, I’d use Baltic Birch plywood for the sides (they’re hidden anyway) or mount the slides underneath the drawers and modify the bottom rails.

Installed Drawers - the six drawers installed in the entertainment unit.
Installed Drawers – the six drawers installed in the entertainment unit.

I’m satisfied with the results, but I’d do it differently next time, like any craftsman. As for their worth—the originals sold for a couple of hundred dollars, and that means I made these for less than minimum wage. The bright side of building these drawers—I had to keep busy doing something while quarantined during this pandemic.

Until next time — jw

Embarrassment Pie 2018 Utah Photo Shoot

On the road, you’re forced to try new restaurants. Some of them are good, a few are poor, but most of them are blah. Most restaurant owners don’t have an interest in food and they have little imagination. They are just trying to make a buck and so the profit and loss statement dictates the menu. I mean, my mom used to put more lunch meat on our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when she packed our school lunches than they serve at roadside dives. That’s why, when I find a place that has great food, I like to tell you about it.

Happy Couple
Happy Couple – On the grounds of the Burr Trail Grill are a pair of gas pumps as yard-art. They’re of little use for anything else now because the largest price is 99 cents.

There are eight little communities along Utah’s State Route 12. Most of them barely have a post office much less a coffee shop. Boulder is one of those small towns. It’s wedged between the—terrifying to drive over—petrified sand dunes and Boulder Mountain. If you’re not going to see the ruins at the Anasazi State Park or to drive the Burr Trail, there’s no good reason to visit Boulder … other than they—inexplicably—have two outstanding restaurants, the Hell’s Backbone Grill and—our favorite—the Burr Trail Grill. Truthfully, we don’t know about Hell’s Backbone because we stopped at Burr Trail first and keep returning each time we pass this way.

Burr Trail Grill
Burr Trail Grill – Located at the intersection of SR 12 and Burr Trail the grill is only open during the season but the food is good.

The grill is on SR 12, right at the Burr Trail—an interesting side trip that we’ll talk about another time. It’s a small wooden shack-like building that has more seating outside than in, which is good because the parking lot is usually full at lunch. It is only open during the summer—May to October—after which, the staff return to their day jobs at the ski resorts near Salt Lake City. The menu features burgers and sandwiches which doesn’t sound exotic, but I’ve had the Thai Burger and their Ruben. Each of my choices favorably impressed me. The food at the Burr Grill is good, but we dream of their pies.

Mixed-Berry-Ginger Pie
Mixed-Berry-Ginger Pie – Warm from the oven with a scoop of home-made ice cream and fresh whipped cream is guaranteed to make you forget about decorum.

This pie will embarrass you. It has the kind of crust that explodes all over the table when you put a fork to it, just like Aunt Clara made. After your first taste, you scoop up the table-crumbs and eat them. Pies are baked fresh each day and served with home-made vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream. There’s a changing variety each day. Anne loved the chocolate-bourbon and she had to settle for peach on our second visit.  When you order a slice, it takes a minute because they warm it in the oven. I ordered a slice of cherry-cayenne, which sounds weird, but was tangy and not hot—like a sour cherry. On our second visit, I went for the mixed-berry-ginger and that made my taste buds explode. It was the taste of berry tartness at the beginning followed by a bright splash of ginger. As you dig in, the warm pie melts the ice cream resulting in a pool of fruit-cream on the saucer. As I devoured mine, I looked across the table and saw Anne’s eyes peering over her plate while she licked it. “What!” was all she had to say for herself—queen indeed. I told you it was embarrassing pie.

When you come to explore SR 12, be sure to plan a stop in Boulder for at least a slice of pie. You may come away embarrassed, but you’ll be better off for it—recommended.

Until next time — jw

Frame Making

In my last post, I talked about getting some framed prints ready for a Jury Review. I had three frames that I repainted and printed the images to fit them. Although they came out nice and I got a positive comments about  them, I’m not really satisfied with store-bought frames. They chip and dent rather easily and the wood they used is hard to re-finish.  Besides, the ready-made frames don’t come in the format that I want to use for some of my 16:9 landscapes.

Since I have woodworking tools, I’ve decided to try making my own frames. I’m relatively new to woodworking, but after a few YouTube videos, I convinced myself to give it a shot. The worst that can happen is that I waste time and a couple sticks of lumber.

I think photograph frames should be simple and not upstage the art. I like the thin metal kit frames, but on a large image they‘re out of scale. I also want the image to stand away from the wall, and not be on the same plane. I want a black color, but with some grain, so I want them stained and not painted.

Milled Poplar
Out of the three pieces of poplar that I had, I was able to cut six lengths for my frames. That should be enough to assemble three frames.

I had several pieces of poplar left over from other projects so I pulled them out and began milling them to size. To keep the frame simple, I used the ¾” edge for the front face and cut uniform strips 1 ¾” wide. The next step was to route a ¼ rabbit for the glass, mat and backing to sit in. Finally I rounded off the front faces with a ¼” radius. With the pieces all cut, I put a black stain on them today.

The frame profiles
I want the framed image to stand away from the wall, so I cut the pieces deep with a generous rabbit.

I’m going to give the stain plenty of time to dry, so I set them aside until Friday. Then, I’m going to cut the angles to length and glue them together. Since I already have the glass for them, I’m a little nervous that I cut them to the right size. To make sure they are, I’ll cut them a little large at first and sneak up on the final length until they’re perfect. I’ll start by cutting one and when I’m convinced I’ve got the measurements right, I’ll continue with the other two.

This is the poplar with two coats of black stain applied. After I cut and assemble the pieces, I'll put a coat of sanding sealer and a couple coats of clear finish.
This is the poplar with two coats of black stain applied. After I cut and assemble the pieces, I’ll put a coat of sanding sealer and a couple coats of clear finish.

More later this week.