Friday, December 5, 2008

New batch, day two.

Day two starts with more sanding, my trusty green scrubby pad lets me get into all the grooves and pockets. This gives a nice smooth surface and takes care of spots where the varnish may have dried unevenly. Next is a coat of furniture wax (I use minwax, same brand as the tung oil I prefer) applied with an old dart tshirt that has seen better days.

Now we're ready to drill holes - holes for the interior rubber strips, holes for the screws that hold the snaps in place on the front and flaps on the back and a 1" round, flat bottomed hole for the dart emblem. So yes, lots of holes, and we're not done yet. The brass hinge is placed in the routed slot for it then wrapped with rubber bands to hold everything together while the holes are drilled (six per hinge). I have a #3 self centering hinge drill bit that makes all the difference in the world - hinges, especially piano hinges are tricky, everything has to line up exactly or the case doesn't close properly. A drill press is a wonderful thing.

The interior strips to hold the coin and flights are cut from a bicycle inner tube. Gluing rubber to wood is difficult at best so I put small wire nails through the end of each rubber strip and then clip them off, creating a post in each end. These are glued into the holes I drilled for them earlier and a drop of epoxy on the top seals them in. Epoxy (the 2 part, 5 minute variety) also holds in the magnets and the emblem.

Last step is to put on the flaps, although I have to get them ready first. I order the flaps pre-cut but have to punch holes where screws and finishing washers hold the leather to the back of the case as well as setting the snaps. I have a hand held snap tool that does an excellent job, if you've ever used one of the snap sets that come with an 'anvil' and a hammer, this is way easier.

Screws hold the snap studs to the front of the case and the leather flaps to the back. I put a drop of super glue into the holes before the screws go in because this is the part of the case that takes the most strain. The only repairs I've had to do are due to snaps that pulled free of the wood. This is very rare and I haven't had a problem with it since I started putting superglue in the holes on the front.

So, that's the end of this batch, next time I'll talk about modifications and repairs that I've done over the years.