With the lippings attached and flushed off with a combination of router and belt sander, I was ready to start doing further work to the top as Saturday came.
What I needed to do next was to creating a recess for the aluminium insert plate and an opening for the router to fit in to. This may look like something that’s difficult to achieve but, I aim to show you a method I like that’s easy and very effective in providing you with a neat end result.
I started off with some scraps of 12mm MDF and glued them together (face to face) in pairs. The lower sheet is 5mm wider than the other and overhangs. This is later trimmed off with a router, using a 16mm guide bush and ½in diameter straight cutter, once the glue has dried.
This cutter will match the radius on each of the four corners of the aluminium plate and, trimming the MDF back provides you with a guide that lines up exactly with the cutting edge of the bit. All I next was to position the plate where I wanted to go and then, one by one, to carefully position each of the four guide or template pieces around the perimeter, using double-sided tape.
A single pass around the inner circumference of the template (plus, a little extra work in the corners) provides you with a perfect line to follow with a jigsaw. I did consider fixing these guide-pieces to another sheet of MDF (to create a ‘proper’ jig) but then, I was concerned about further restricting the router’s plunge depth.
Next, I fitted a rare earth magnet in each corners, which provides a hard-wearing surface for the grub screws used to level the plate – perhaps I’ll detail more about the plate itself in a separate blog post.
I then chose to round-off each of the four corners and also, both top and bottom edges, for comfort and a reduced risk of injury. I also decided (after some advice from the forum) to finish both sides with a 50/50 coat of Chestnut’s Hard Wax Oil and white spirit. MDF is so absorbent that the white spirit mix is essential, in order to ensure full coverage. I’m hoping that, for my second coat, I’ll be able to apply more of a ‘neat’ solution of oil (without thinning). I’ll then be looking to wax over the top of this – I should make it clear that I’ve ended my difficult search for a sheet of Formica laminate.If the worst comes to it and I need to replace the MDF top in a few years then, I won’t have lost much money!
Before all of this, I treated the main cabinet to a single coat of white gloss paint and also attached both castors (yes, only two!) and the two blocks to the underside of the base. I’ll have to come back to this another day as I didn’t actually take any photos at the time! 😳
I found time fit a (very) temporary handle so that I could test out the castor and brake system and move the thing around the workshop. Well, I’m pleased to say that it does work. My only concern is that I may not bother to make a ‘proper’ handle any time soon, as I am dangerously prone to procrastination… 😛
Thanks for reading.