IT and Band Saws – Part 4

By | May 16, 2016

After another rip roaring round of waiting the glue on the rails has set and the structure is complete.  Technically at this point we could call the project complete and move it into the house for use.  It would how ever be premature and without any finishing would wear out quickly.

This is something we see more often than not in the IT world.  With the emergent of “third platform” and “software defined” there is incredible pressure to reduce time from idea to actionable product.  This is a good thing, as end consumers attention spans seem to be decreasing at an ever growing rate.  In 2010 website were designed around 10s maximums.  In 2015 it was recommended to keep it below 5s and anything requiring responsiveness below 2s.  To keep pace with shorter attention spans we have to be faster.

The age old problem with going too fast and not thinking about it is you inevitable cut corners, make mistakes, and cost you more in the long run.  If you’re going to go fast, have a plan or invest in stability.  Ideally do both.  For this project we need this to last, while it might not always be a bench it will always hold books.

Introducing the final liquid tool for this project, Shellac.  While it’s non-toxic (it’s actually used as a coating for some pills) I would not recommend drinking it.   It comes in different colors, and does a good job of preventing stains and keeping splinters down.  It’s also made from bug secretion, so it’s kind of cool in a nerdy way and environmental friendly.  For this one we will stick with clear so that the pink color of the stain and the imperfections that were created from the sanding process can still be seen.

While the can shows it going to nice, even, and beautifully with a brush it’s marketing, which means it’s almost a lie.  I will continue to use staining pads as they still provided the best even coverage.    It goes on a bit like syrup on pancakes as it’s thicker than normal stains and doesn’t like being worked to heavily.  When it dries it leaves a slight gloss to the finish.

Time to up the grit!  We move up to 220 on the orbital sander and run it on light after the Shellac dries, which takes roughly two hours.

This leaves it a bit beaten up looking, which is the plan.  We will rinse and repeat until I’m happy with the look.  In this case its 3 coats.

For the final pass we want to drive out the gloss.  We will step up the grit one last time to 330.  We will also be using a sponge sander / wet sander for this final pass.  Wet sanding keeps dust from floating away as you slowly polish off the top.  This helps also keep the dust from being polished into the surface and smooth out the remaining roughness.

I’m happy with the end product here.  The several iterations of sand and seal did add time to the project but they have also added life to the project.  Ideally, years added to this investment.

From an investment standpoint if we make the folly of strictly comparing cost someone might wonder why you would ever buy something premade.  When putting together the materials list for the cost of goods on the project I originally laid out that capital already invested in the workshop should not be counted towards the project.  Nails, saws, and electricity are part of the cost of operating a woodshop.  I also originally was not going to count the stain towards the project, since it had been paid for under a previous project.  Since it’s a unique color and not something I would normally have on hand, I decided to add it back into the cost.

Qty Item Unit Total
1 1x12x4 7.34 7.34
1 1x12x6 14.97 14.97
2 1x2x4 1.88 3.76
1 4×4 oak panel 14.93 14.93
1 SW3101 Pink Stain 30.49 30.49
Total 71.49

The closest thing I could find when originally scoping this project could be found at your local big box store or custom on line.  In both cases $169.99.

Target –

The Land of Nod –

Disregarding taxes and potential shipping cost that’s a cost difference of $98.50, which being the natural consumer we are, will round out to $100.  It’s not an insubstantial cost, and one of the reasons we selected a lower grade material for the project.  What we have to keep in mind though, is the part that doesn’t reflect on spreadsheets; skills and experience make up the difference.   There is nothing wrong with building anything from the ground up these days, from benches to IT infrastructures.

If you’re looking at creating a more agile infrastructure that responds to the development side of the business then that is the question that should be focused on.  What tools and skills do you need to create that environment?  It is possible to create something that is both enterprises reliable and customized to your business need but cutting out all of the cost, both hardware and human resources is a recipe for disaster.

For this project the end result is a smashing hit with our target audience.




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