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Baby Changing Station Routing Project

A classic baby changing station constructed using a series of template cut pieces to ensure accuracy and symmetry when used in conjunction with bearing guided cutters.

Designed for long-lasting use, this changing station is constructed using a series of template cut pieces to ensure accuracy and symmetry when used in conjunction with bearing guided cutters.


Step 1 - Make templates

A template for making the curved upright sections should be made, this example uses some 6mm MDF sheet material. The template will enable you to copy and repeat the curved pattern into the work-piece material, with the assistance of a bearing guided cutter.

 

Start by making a 6mm mdf template for the uprights, bending a steel rule around some nails in the board to form the necessary gentle flowing curves.

The shaped ends of the uprights are laid out using a variety of French curves.

The template is cut using a jigsaw than carefully sanded so that the edge is perfectly smooth, as the slightest ripple will be reproduced in the timber when you run the cutter bearing along it later.

The front upright is shorter than the back one so make two templates, keeping the ends the same on both, just adjusting the middle length.


Step 2 - Prepare and Machine Timber

Next we will take a look at preparing the timber to be used on this project, we will start by roughly cutting it to size before forming it to the required shapes.

Thickness the timber for the uprights and draw round the templates, trying to be as economical as possible, though inevitably there is a fair amount of waste.

Bandsaw out each shape, cutting about 2mm clear on the waste side of the line. A 3/8" blade should get round all but the tightest radius.

Use double sided tape to fix the template back onto each upright. Don't overdo the tape; three 1" squares should be enough to hold it.

Use a bearing guided trimmer in the router to cut back the waste to form a perfect copy of the template.

It is always a little more difficult to work around the curves without slowing down and scorching the timber. A small amount of burning will sand off, but slow the router down a little if it is a real problem.

Machine the cross pieces and cut the two top curved ones in a similar way to the uprights using another template.


Step 3 - Preparing for Assembly

Dowels and slots now need be routed into the components before making a trial assembly without glue.

The frames are all dowelled together using the Joint Genie jig and 8mm dowels.

Make a trial assembly to make sure everything is square and number all the joints lightly with a pencil.

The groove for the end frames is formed with the router handheld, but if possible use two side fences for maximum accuracy.

Using a tiny ovolo cutter now is the time to round over the edges, it has to be done before the panel is put in place, just think about where you can access with the cutter before assembly.

Assemble the panel and complete the rounding over on the remaining edges.

The front face frame can now be dowelled and assembled. Angle the sash cramps slightly if necessary to pull it square as it glues.


Step 4 - Assembling the Unit

It will really start to take shape now, to begin each insert should be checked for fit in its position. Rather than try to glue several joints at once, we recommend gluing each section in turn before combining for final assembly.

The rear frame is made up with an internal panel of white faced 4mm mdf, fitted into a routed groove as before.

The edges of the front and back frames are dowelled down their length to fit into the ends.

The two dowelling rails are formed with a dowelling jig. They will need a good hand sanding to clean up any cutter marks.
These are fixed in place with a single dowel, the centre being eyeballed and then drilled by hand.

Assembly is quite straightforward, but if you can get someone to help you hold it initially it is a great help, at least until you get a few cramps in place.

The support strips for the shelves are glued and pinned in place using a nail gun which virtually loses the heads.

The melamine faced top and bottom shelves just drop in place in case they need to be changed for solid alternatives later.


Step 5 - Making Doors & Final Assembly

All that is left to do now is make and hang a couple of doors for the front of the unit.

The doors are veneered 18mm mdf lipped with a solid wood edging thicknessed to 3mm.

Hang the doors using flush hinges and fit the "touch to open" catches. There is no need for any other handles with these as they spring the doors wide open.

Although it is best to sand the various components as you go along, a final light sanding cleans up any marks from the cramps. Finish with 3 coats of food safe oil.

The completed baby changing station.


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