March 21, 2012

Cutting the walls

Once we had the shape down and everything was decided on height, thickness, design, etc., we purchased some really nice plywood for the outside walls from a local lumber yard.  We knew we wanted to use marine grade plywood based on the ability for the wood to get wet and not have to worry about rotting or any separation of the veneer.  The main difference between normal plywood and marine grade appears to be a lack of "voids" or knots in the wood which could accumulate water.  The other main difference is that the glue they use to hold it together is more water resistant.  We also knew we wanted a 'pretty' wood that we could either poly or stain.  Based on our requests the lumber yard recommended Okoume, which, though a bit on the pricey side, is gorgeous. 

Okoume - this isn't the wood we purchased, but it looks just the same!

We were very wary at first on cutting this beautiful wood, but the practice on the scrap plywood assured me of my jig saw abilities.  We started by tracing the pattern onto the plywood like Rebecca described in the last post.  I ended up making a second line about an 1/8" outside of the final shape.  This created a band which my jig saw could go between (just in case my skills were a little off).

using the trammels

Overall I think things went well, I learned that I really need to be very careful ad stay close to my desired line.  Though Okoume cuts really easily, sanding is another story and the sheets required a lot of sanding to bring them down to the correct lines and even them up.

The scariest portion of the walls had to be the doors.  There was no cutting larger than I needed and then sanding it - I had to do it right the first time.  No pressure!  We printed out a full size door on paper so that we could position it easily and trace it onto the plywood.  Come to find out apparently my plotter at work does not do a very good job with actually scaling, so the doors ended up being a bit smaller on the paper than they were supposed to be.  But looking at the paper cutout, we actually liked it better than the original.

The biggest problem that I was running into was how to get the jig saw into the plywood to start the door cut.  Usually people utilize a drilled hole to start the jig saw path, but this was not a good option as I wanted to keep the cut-out door in order to have it be my actual door later on.  I solved this problem by utilizing my Craftsman multi-tool which has an osculating saw head.  I plunged this into the four sides of the door prior to inserting the jig saw.  This did leave a bit of a burn mark, but it was sanded out later on.

getting jigg-y with it

Ta-da!  Door openings!  I laid out some of the frame-work on this door opening to get an idea of how things lined up.  It looked perfect!

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