Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New Yankee Workshop

Hello. I’m Norm Abrams, and welcome to The New Yankee Workshop. This season, we have been featuring projects dealing with problems commonly found by professional woodworkers and cabinet makers.  One of those problems is delinquent accounts. Cash flow is important with small businesses like custom millwork shops. It is vital that you get paid on time so that you can move on to the next project. We asked our viewers to come up with suggestions that would help alleviate this pressing problem.  One, a Mr. Anthony Soprano, of Elizabeth, NJ, has come up with a very novel method to take care of this irritating mess, this beautiful cherry wood hope chest.  

Mr.  Soprano writes: “I run a medium sized shop, BadaBing Customs here in Elizabeth, and we were always having issues with slow paying accounts. My prior attempts to clean up the receivables failed miserably until I saw this box in the car repair business next door. After speaking with Ducks, the owner of the place, I quickly drew up the plans and set to work. To date, I have built eight for different shop related problems and not once has it failed me. “ 

Mr. Soprano was kind enough to send us his plans and with a little modification, we are going to show our viewers how it works.

The box we are building today uses ½” fine grained cherry stock for the top and sides, with 5/4 MDB used for the bottom.  The box is joined using dovetail joints, strengthened with ¼”X2” stainless steel screws. This gives the box a load capacity of 300lbs, large enough to handle to worst receivable.The top can be left plain, or can be decorated with any form of molding or inlays, as your needs require.   The cleverest feature of this box is the channels that are routed in the bottom to allow for fluids to drain safely in to the ground.  This especially useful if you have to customize the delinquent to fit inside the box.

To start, we set up the power table saw with the rip fence set at 1” to square off the ends of the account write off to assure proper fit in the box.  Before we use any power tools, let's take a moment to talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses.  This is especially important if you are using these for human dismemberment.   

Don’t be in a hurry as you run the debtor along the saw fence. Legs and feet have a tendency to hang in saw blades. The heat generated will easily ruin even the toughest diamond surfaces, so a water bath jig is important. Set your shop vac on wet and use a tapered nozzle to control any fluid leakage. When finished, wipe down the table and saw blade with denatured alcohol and finish with a light coating of machine oil.  Proper maintenance will extend the life off all your tools.

Next, load up your router with a dovetail bit.  Using the clampdown on your miter box to stabilize the tool, press the face of the project down on the bit and press upward for the most effective decorative effect.  While this step does absolutely nothing for the box you are building, the screams of the debtor are still most satisfying.  Sweep up any stray pieces and place in these really nice designer garbage bags and set them outside.A neat shop is a happy shop.

When you are finished with the ripping and cutting, glue up the upper sides of each dovetail and tap them together. Clamp them in place and let set overnight.  The next morning, load the write off into the box and fix the top on using the stainless steel screws, spacing them 6” apart along the length of both sides. You are then ready to transport the whole problem to your favorite dumping ground. Mr. Soprano notes that he likes to top his with a cracked pot, to symbolize to others what might well happen to them if they don’t pay on time.   In testing out this project, I found that I reduced my own outstanding receivables 20 percent by the time I was finished.  And we didn’t have to pay Kevin his final paycheck, a complete win for all of us at the New Yankee Workshop family. We couldn’t have been more pleased.

And neither will you as your cash flow problems fade in the dark. 

So, until next time.  This is Norm Abrams.