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Oval TV Stand Routing Project

Oval TV Stand Routing Project
  A simple but study oval Art Deco style TV stand to add style to your living room.

This is a stylish but relatively straightforward project to make, requiring just the bare minimum in the way of tools and materials; however that are a couple of interesting little techniques you will have to master along the way.

For a start you need to cut a large oval shape very accurately leaving a perfectly smooth edge. Secondly, you also have to lip all the cut edges if you are using a veneered panel material such as this blockboard. You can cheat a little and use iron-on edging to make the job easier, but I am never very happy with the finished appearance of this and prefer to cut my own thicker lipping from solid material. This is easy to attach to the straight edges but a little more challenging for the oval ones!

The material is 18mm blockboard veneered with ash and the project uses approximately half an 8 x 4 sheet, but you will also need a fairly long length of solid material to produce the lippings.

The first step is to cut the oval template in thin ply or MDF and although you can do this by eye and then sand the edge it is much more accurate if you use an ellipse jig of some sort.
     
Material Choice and Cutting the Ovals
  1. Start by marking the centre lines and major and minor axis dimensions on the template material. Fix the Cross Frame in position. This can be screwed to the template material or held in place with double-sided tape. I also put a very small hole through the centre of the template to provide a reference point which you will need later.
Material Choice and Cutting the Ovals
  2. Adjust the setting of the major axis to the required length according to the scale on the main plate, adding half the diameter of the cutter and lock off the major axis knob. Alternatively, with the router attached to the jig,the cutter could be lined up with the major axis mark.
Material Choice and Cutting the Ovals
  3. Slide the main plate around by 90 degrees and adjust the minor axis in same way as with major axis.
Material Choice and Cutting the Ovals
  4. I´m not sure which way to work when cutting out a shape like this! Normally you would work clockwise if it was an inside cut and anticlockwise for an outside one. This cut is both simultaneously, so work which ever way feels most comfortable. Route the ellipse in depths of 2-4mm, depending on the material.
     

Cutting the Ovals continued

Cutting the Ovals continued
  5. Once you have cut the template use it to mark out the top and bottom shelves and cut these out using a jigsaw, leaving 2 or 3 mm of waste on the outside of the line.
Cutting the Ovals continued
  6. Temporarily stick the template to a shelf using double sided tape and fit a bearing guided trimming cutter in the router.
Cutting the Ovals continued
  7. Run the cutter around the shelf with the bearing in contact with the template to produce a perfectly square and smooth edge. This edge will only be as good as the finish on the template, so do take lots of care to get this really smooth when you´re making it.


Cutting the Ovals continued
  8. Before removing the template mark the centre point on one of the shelves using a bradawl through the centre hole left by the ellipse jig. Use this centre point as a reference to carefully measure and mark out the position of the uprights on just one of the shelves.
Cutting the Ovals continued
  9. The stand is fixed together with dowels and it is so much quicker and easier to make a custom jig for a job like this. It is just a piece of 2 x 1 material with a series of equally spaced holes drilled along one edge. Ideally use a drill press when making the jig to make sure they are perfectly square and accurately centred.
     

Dowelling

Dowelling
  10. Clamp the two shelves together so that they are lined up perfectly and use some double-sided tape to stick the dowelling jig in position along the centre line of the upright. Set the depth stop on the dowel drill such that it penetrates right through one of the shelves and two thirds of the way into the one below. Repeat the procedure for the other upright.
Dowelling
  11. The shelf with the holes right through can be used on the underside as they will never show and drilling the two together ensures they will line up perfectly. Make a trial assembly and measure the precise length for the intermediate shelf.
Dowelling
  12. Cut the square ends for the intermediate shelf roughly to length with a saw and then trim them square and true using the router and the same bearing guided cutter in a simple squaring jig.
Dowelling
  13. Use the same dowelling jig to drill the holes for the intermediate shelf in the two uprights, but don´t forget to reset the depth stop so that you don´t penetrate too far!
Dowelling
  14. To form the matching dowel holes in the uprights screw a spacer in place to the edge of the jig such that the centre line of the jig coincides with the centre line of the upright when it´s clamped in position.
     

Lipping

Lipping
  15. To make the lipping material plane and thickness a piece of solid ash to be approximately 2mm thicker than the veneered board. Plane the edge of the strip carefully and then rip a 3.5mm strip the full length. Re-plane the remaining edge and repeat until you have enough.
Lipping
  16. Fit a false table to the thicknesser bed and reduce the thickness of these strips to 3mm taking only very light cuts.
Lipping
  17. Unless the grain is perfectly aligned with the strip there will inevitably be some areas of short grain which may cause the strip to break up as it is passing through the machine. There is no easy answer to this, but cut a few spares and you should end up with at least the two long ones you need.
Lipping
  18. Lippings are cut slightly over length and glued in place. The straight ones are easy enough to clamp, but the curved ones require a little more ingenuity. I held the one for the central shelf with its curved front in place with an elastic bungee cord.
Lipping
  19. For the oval top and bottom I used a luggage strap, gradually pulling it tighter and tighter as the lipping bent around the shelf. I was going to use string and a tourniquet if this didnŐt work.
     

Glueing and Routing

Glueing and Routing
  20. Rather than try and calculate the exact length required leave the lipping slightly over length and just overlap the joint for now whilst the bulk of it is glued in place. Keep the glue away from the last inch or so of each end of the lipping.
Glueing and Routing
  21. Once the glue is set use a very fine saw to cut through both pieces to produce a near perfect joint. I use a thin sliver of cardboard to work some glue behind the joint and then held it in place with masking tape until it set.
Glueing and Routing
  22. There are various options for trimming lipping back to be flush with the shelf. You can use a finally set plane, angling it slightly away from the shelf, but be very careful you don´t damage the veneer.
Glueing and Routing
  23. A much better method is to use the router fitted with a chamfer or rounding over cutter. However, you will have to stick a thin sub-base to half the router base so that it bridges over the projecting lipping.
Glueing and Routing
  24. A fine adjuster on the router is a great help as well, as it allows you to set the cutter height precisely so that it trims away the excess lipping but leaves the shelf surface untouched.
     

Assembly and Presentation

Assembly and Presentation
  25. A quick rub with some fine abrasive wrapped around a block should ensure that the two edges match up perfectly, but again be very careful that you don´t sand through the very thin veneer of the flat surface.
Assembly and Presentation
  26. The assembly is very straightforward. Put plenty of glue on the dowels and their holes and then use sash cramps to hold the central shelf together. Piling on some heavy weights is the easiest method of squeezing the shelves down tight onto the uprights.
Assembly and Presentation
  27. A crosspiece is glued and dowelled into the top back of the unit to provide some lateral stability, but leave a big enough gap between this and the central shelf to allow plugs to be fed through.
Assembly and Presentation
  28. Fit some good quality castors to the underneath and the job is complete and ready for finishing. I gave it a very light sanding with 240 grit abrasive to clean off any dirty marks and they then used three coats of satin pre-cat lacquer applied with a brush and flatted down between coats.
     
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