Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Varnish Box

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The previous blogs illustrated an warm box, an epoxy box, that lies horizontally on my work-bench allowing me to turn and finish rod wraps in a environment that is (consistent) warm and minimizes dust.

I need another box, similar, but mounted vertically (on a wall) to allow bamboo rods hang as the varnish-finish on the rod dries. Like the “epoxy” box, we need to minimize dust-dirt and maintain a warm place. This post deals with this vertical box, the varnish box or aka the snake coffin.

The major changes from the Epoxy to Varnsh Box (besides going from a horizontal to vertical orientation):

  • Plywood > The Epoxy Box was constructed of Home Depots best plywood, which was 5/8″ tick, heavy and had voids. Never again, will I use Home Depot’s best plywood given it poor quality, and in search for better, I used 5mm Baltic Birch Plywood. And yes, the Baltic Birch Plywood was good, very good.
  • Construction > Going to 5mm Plywood made using traditional fasteners not practical, so box is effectively a construction of thin plywood with 1″ hard (pink) insulation walls glued together. In the end, there are only screws that serve a structural need. More about lessons and recommendations later on, but it is a technique I will use again.
  • Plans > There was no sketch, no plans et cetera for the Varnish Box, I made it up as I went and tried new things – most ideas worked, but a few did not.
  • Adhesive > I experiment with TiteBond 3 (versus Gorilla Glue). T3 is great stuff, provides a great bond between wood and the insulation walls, with less mess. T3 is recommended.

As noted, I abandon the Home Depot Plywood as it was —- and decided to work to a plywood-insulation composite bonded by Titebond-3. I found the insulation and the composite cut well on the table (rip), compound mitre (cross-cut) and responded to the sander allowing me to create good long edges to bond.  (I have not perfect clean drilling though).

For the glue-up  I strongly  recommended good clamps (such as Irwin One0Handed Clamps or Bessey’s) and 90 degree corner braces to ensure a good fit. The use of 2-4 square internal forms for the interior would have also help to create a straight box.

As noted earlier, there was no plan, so when I wanted to add a thick brace across the front at the top and bottom (also to hold the front cover magnets), I added in the only 4 structural screws into the box, as shown in the next picture. Though, with a little more care in the fitup and maintaining tigher tolerances, an all glue boxed is quite feasible.

Top side view illustratinng:

  • Front Panel Knob was turned from maple .
    • Off-the shelf knobs had pre-drilled mounting holes too big for the #4 magnet washers-screws.
  • Small side vent with fine mesh screening.
  • One of the four screws used to secure the box.
  • The plywood (or plywood composite) was ripped into 5 equal sections, to form the sides, back, front, top-bottom. As such, the top and bottom edge is not hidden when the front cover is on. This could have been done by cutting off 10mm from the ends of the sides and back.

The bottom view illustrates the lower screened vent and the cable keyhole entry.

Inside of top cover showing the 1/2″ Lee Valley Super Magnet  inset into the front face and the matching washer.

One caution, for those magnets less than 3/4″ the mounting hardware is base on a #4 screw. What Lee Valley provides is a brass screw that cannot withstand a lot of torque and will break off easy. If you can buy steel #4 screws, do it, and make sure you use a good pilot hole.

I also use a little thin Zap-A-Gap (CA) to help with the bond of the washet and magnet cup to the plywood structure.

The use of the magnets helps to align the front panel and provide security, but it is noted the front panel insulation block is cut to provide a tight fit (friction) and thus holds the front panel itself.

The electrical components, similar to the Epoxy box with some minor changes:

  • Power disconnects not applied, but may be done at a later date.
  • Two 30W Heaters in Parallel off the same Thermostat.
    • The heaters again are mounted on a wire cage and using bare metal wire to hold the silicon heater strip to the cage. The use of magnets to hold the cage to an adhesive line metal backing on the rear wall was insufficient to fully counter gravity, so I have also used two 4mm metal pins pressed into the back wall to prevent the cage from sliding down. So the magnets hold the cage to the back and the pins hold the cage up.
  • Blower (Fan) Controller is in a recycled Tuna Can with Heyco bushings to protect the wires from any sharp edges.  Also a smaller Blower.
    • As noted in the previous post on electrical components, the baltic birch box function as a sound box, so it was critical to mechanically isolate the blower. This was done by gluing neoprene to the back of the blower and velcro to the box. So the light fam is effectively velcro’d in.
    • The Tuna Can sits on a magent that is mounted within the end of a dowel that is glued onto the back wall
  • Mounting the thermostat involved gluing another plywood to the back wall, and then screwing into the assembly.



Written by raspberryfisher

2012/09/06 at 01:11

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