Friday, September 27, 2013

Finally finished the new hexagon cupcake stand!

           This is another one of those stands that presents many unique challenges, especially for me!  It seems simple enough, but throw in the fact that it had to be left unfinished, every little detail was going to show.

It's easy enough to tell a potential customer what you plan on doing, but visuals can help a lot.  I have been playing around with Google SketchUp for a little while, and it sure does help with design work.  The way you can see your drawing in 3D and have the ability to rotate it at any angle keeps you from making a lot of mistakes.  Sometimes what sounds good in theory doesn't work out so well in reality.

The original drawing using Google SketchUp

The first challenge was cutting the hexagons.  Layout on the wood was fairly straightforward, just a little geometry.  Now, how to cut them?  The only thing that would cut a perfectly straight line was my table saw. Since I had to cut from the straight line where it intersects the circle, to the one next to it (6 times for each board) and on top of that cut 6 different sized tiers, I had to make an adjustable sled for the saw.  That's a whole nother story. 
Hexagon layout

Rough stack of cut tiers without molding
Next part to make was the base.  It was basically 2 24" hexagons sitting on top and bottom of a 22" hexagon box.  Ever tried gluing and clamping a hexagon without using nails?

The next challenge was the molding.  My customer chose this molding.  The first thing I had to do was make sure that no matter what direction you looked at the stand from, the peaks and valleys of the molding had to match on all sides.  The second was the joints.  She was very particular about them being as invisible as possible.  I told her that since we are using two different woods, a seam was going to be visible, but I would get the joints as tight as possible.  

I had to cut, fit, cut fit, cut fit, 36 individual pieces to get the joints to look like this.  No matter how carefully I cut the hexagons, there were variations of 1/16 to 1/8" on every side.  At the bottom edge of the molding there were also slight variations where the points met.  Lots of filing and sanding to get them to meet.

Molding joints

Finally, I got to put the finish on.  We went with just a tung oil finish.  Brushed on and buffed off, twice.  It came out beautiful.  I would have loved to have taken better pictures, but I'm so afraid of handling big projects anymore than I have to.  I once dropped a piece taking it to a better locale for pictures.    This was a really nice piece and took a lot of time.

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