This Week in the Shop: Merchandise Display

It’s taken me a few years, but I’ve begun accepting commissions.  A friend of mine came with a project I couldn’t refuse.  He wanted a chest to haul around the merchandise related to his rock band.  He said he wanted something that light up the event and highlighted the band’s name.  I knew just what he wanted!

I started with this SketchUp draft:

It has room for CDs, t-shirts, bumper stickers and t-shirts.  My final design veered a little from this, but the basic shape was there.

I began with a 30″ long, 18″ deep, 7″ high box.  I chose box joints as the joinery.  I recently acquired a table saw (Jet Supersaw with sliding table) which made the production of those joints easy.  I shot a dado down both top and bottom to fit the 1/4″ plywood top and bottom panels.  I dry-fitted the box, dissembled it, then ripped the top and bottom apart on the table saw.

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Next up came fitting the nameplate.  This took a little finessing.  I decided on a 2″ by 20″ removable nameplate fitted into a frame and panel type groove with a piece of acrylic as protection.  I ripped the front face apart into four sections: a 1″ wide top rail, about a 1.5″ bottom rail and two stiles.  After reassembling the piece to check the joinery, I needed to make a dado groove for the faceplate and acrylic.  The groove necessary was just a hair (and I mean a hair) over an 1/8″ of an inch wide.  So I went to my router table (oh, I should mention – this step meant I had to build a tablesaw/router table combo machine first.  Nothin’ like buying and building 1000 dollar tools for a 100 dollar project) and shot a stopped dado down the rails and stiles.  In order to get the faceplate to fit, I made a starter groove just a hair off center, then reversed the parts to get a centered groove.  (If that doesn’t make sense to you, watch an episode of Norm) Finally, I glued up the bottom half of the front face and attached the top rail via #8 Phillips-head wood screws.  If the band name changes, so does the display.

The interior partitions came together next.  The front compartment, which holds the lighting assembly, is simply a horizontal cross piece with a plywood top attached via three small hinges.  I ripped matching dadoes across the cross bar and rear face of the box.  1/4″ plywood creates the CD racks.  A piano hinge flips the top, while a hobby chain keeps the top constrained.  Last but not least, a pair of latches keeps everything tied down for transport.

I went with a simple black acrylic base and polycrylic topcoat.  Sprayed it on with a Critter spraygun.  Hope you enjoy the results.

If you have a rockband I’ve got a little something for you…call me, maybe?

Expect some new “In the Classroom” posts: the boys are back in town!

Make it safe & keep the rubberside down this weekend.  Like WoodshopCowboy on Facebook and get yerself in the drawing for a little something.