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Modding Mid Century Madness

Discussion in 'Modding' started by slipperyskip, 12 Jul 2010.

  1. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    edited Dec 20th, 2011...

    This "non-project" is located in the Modding Section instead of the Project Log Section because it started out as an experiment in methods and materials. The Mid Century Modern theme to it was just a backdrop to keep the work interesting to myself.

    During construction I posted progress photos on a furniture forum to solicit feedback. Next thing you know, several major tech blogs posted articles about my unfinished work. The project blew up on reddit and in the mainstream media. I decided to complete the project as a "true project" but never made any effort to have the thread moved to the Project Log Section.

    Maybe because of demographics, Mid Century Madness is generally not very popular in the moddiing community. It has been a huge success for me in the general populace and especially in the design community and among Mad Men TV show fans. Chicks dig it. It still generates massive amounts of traffic daily to my website and has introduced many to existence of our hobby.

    I am immensely proud of the fact that Mid Century Madness was featured in Engadget, Gizmodo and Boing Boing before it was even finished and appeared on those sites once again after it was completed. It even appeared unfinished on the front page of BT.


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    Project log:

    What I'm doing here in this thread is trying out new materials, finishes and methods to see how they work. It does however have a theme because it's just mo' fun that way.

    A blogger over at Core77 challenged me to do something in the mid century modern style. MCM is all about vast expanses of wooden surfaces and that works well with my experimentations.

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    I did some research and came up with this early-Sixties Danish-designed desk that I liked a lot. The floating table top was a common design during the period. Slender legs and an overall airiness were typical of the period. The television show Mad Men has made MCM very popular and the front mounted built-in bar cabinet reminds me of the show.


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    This "non-project" will be built around a Silverstone TJ08. It is a steel case that fits micro-ATX motherboards. I have no intention to spend money on computer components for this rig. My design will have no provisions for optical drives, USB ports, ventilation ports or anything else that supports imaginary installed equipment. I will however design it so these things can be easily backfit if required. The vent system will be custom built to whatever ends up inside...if anything.



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    My intention is to purchase all the materials at my local DIY. For me, that means Lowe's. I start off with 1/2" x 2" x 24" red oak boards that will be formed into the legs. Here is a stock board next to one that I have rough-cut into a taper. I make the taper by adjusting my table saw fence...nah, I'm just kidding.



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    I make the taper by carving off the excess material with a razor knife. The final shape is made by clamping all four legs together and running them across taped-down 60-grit sandpaper.



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    Result of efforts. The lengths will be trimmed when I figure out what looks right.



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    The legs have a slightly curved edge and since I don't have a router I found an acceptable profile in the mouth of this spanner.



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    By running the spanner along the length of the leg I am able to control my hand sanding effort. The idea is to maintain a consistency across all four pieces.



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    I bought a sheet of 1/4" red oak plywood and cut two side panels. I cut my panels by using various handsaws and time.



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    The top and bottom panels are cut from 3/8" birch plywood that I had lying around. The additional thickness aids structural support by providing a greater gluing surface area.



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    Actual gluing operation. Glue, clamp, wait, repeat.



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    For the bottom panel I decided to provide even more support by installing 1/2" quarter-round pine moulding.



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    Some hand-mitred pieces to complete the front and back. This bottom section will be painted.



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    I found some 12" width red oak veneer sheets at the store. They are installed by using a hot iron to activate the pre-applied glue. Skeptical but with open mind I decided to try it. I placed a sheet of non-stick aluminum foil across the veneer in order to protect the wife's iron.



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    I'm not even believing I'm posting this photo. Would this be considered a power tool? The cotten setting produces 400 degrees F and I just made sure I concentrated my ironing efforts on the edges.



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    I have to wait 24 hours for the glue to set before trimming up the edges. I remain skeptical. I will be using a Danish oil to finish this piece. My concern is the possible reaction the adhesive has with the oil-based finish. We'll see.



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    Checking the look. The legs will be trimmed but by how much? There is a fine line between "airy" and "spindly".

    Thanks for looking.:D
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2011
  2. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Love the idea.

    I used to have an old desk that looked exactly like the one you've posted, but minus the bar cabinet up front. This is definitely going to be an interesting "non-project" :D
     
  3. nlancaster

    nlancaster New Member

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    That will be a great looking case.

    Any thoughts of selling it?
     
  4. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    @stonesurd Cool. Do you wish you still had it?
    @nlancaster Maybe and no.

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    Test fitting the woven cane facing. Trimmed the veneer and all seems well...so far.
     
  5. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Shame on you! -Hiding a project in the modding section.:nono:
     
  6. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Not really. It didn't really fit my room. It was basically someone's old office desk from when my family moved back to India from Nigeria.

    It looked crisp, just very anachronistic (right word?) in our house.

    That looks very nice. like old speaker grilles. How did you get it to stay in place? Sandwiched between two frames? Is it going to be removable? They get really hard to clean.
     
  7. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    Very cool mod especially since it's wood
     
  8. Javerh

    Javerh Topiary Golem

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    Simple, yet stylish!
     
  9. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    @Cheaps The project log rules say "Note: Project Logs are for PC projects only."

    I would rather spend my money on materials and supplies than PC components. I may never build another "PC" ever again. :D

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    Cut some trim pieces out of basswood and applied the veneer to them. Normally I would apply the veneer after installing the pieces. Woven cane speaker grill material that is different from the picture when I ordered it. This cane is woven with a black plastic mesh that gives it a much darker look. I think it looks alright and it is certainly stronger than the cane-only variety.


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    The trim pieces installed to form a lip around the inside edge. This provides a lot of extra support to the structure.


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    The lip also forms a ledge for the faceplate to rest up against. The faceplate is pushed up against the lip from behind by the installed case. The caning will be mounted to the faceplate using a spray adhesive.
     
  10. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    60-grit sandpaper wrapped around a block to level out the face. First coat of natural Danish oil applied.



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    Veneer applied to face and trimmed. Second coat of Danish oil applied using 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper.

    I should just quit now and call it a computer hidden in a speaker. :)
     
  11. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Something kinda like this....

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    The latest in clamp furniture. Ultimate adjustability. :hehe:

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  12. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    [​IMG]

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    I broke down and put a vent in the top. It's made of solid red oak. Still need to do some work on the back end around the case opening. The finish needs some more gloss to it and I need to find a logo for the front grill. I'll call this 90% complete.

    The wife likes the longer legs. I'm not sure so I'll just leave them this way for the time being.

    Thanks for looking.
     
  13. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    A couple of extra photos...

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  14. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    I came



    That's absolutely beautiful
     
  15. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Thanks The_Beast! From the view count I would say you are the only one who's seen it. LOL

    Oh wait....

    Gizmodo

    Boing Boing

    Bloggers must have had quotas to meet or something. LMAO...seriously.
     
  16. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    It sucks to build or mod something and no one looks at it, the same thing happened to me when I modded a couple HDD enclosures. Even with links in my sig it doesn't really seem to help.


    BTW is it done yet?
     
  17. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Damn. I'm sort of upset that you finished up this quickly. :p

    Great work. I love how with this and Mission, you created something unique and elegant around the case, without much work done to the case itself. It's not common at all in the world of modding and I commend you for it.

    Congrats on the Giz and BB features!
     
  18. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    I'm not complaining. I'm hiding out back here in the modding section (right Cheaps?). I just didn't think my evil plan would work so well. LOL

    Thanks but I'm not finished yet. It is at about 85%. I posted on a little backwoods antique furniture site to get some feedback and the next thing I know I'm on Gizmodo and Boing Boing! It must have been a slow news day. :hehe:
     
  19. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    *phew*

    Good. Something to look forward to :D
     
  20. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    Again, your enviable woodworking skills leave me in awe! :D
     

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