Starting to come together
This past weekend, I focused on cleaning up the body and building the top with control panel. As you can see, a little wood putty easily filled the gaps between the body panels. There was a lot of dust from the sanding so I moved outside… plus the weather was nice.
The top looked to be a significant challenge as it’s curved. First, I cut a flat piece to fit inside the top opening. I installed two wood dowels as cross braces about 1/3d of the way in from each end and set them 1/8″ below the top edges. (More on that in a minute.)
Then, I assembled the control panel frame. Since I don’t know exactly what buttons I’ll be using, I left the control panel faces off for the time being. I also cut an opening in the flat top piece under the control panel frame to allow room for buttons and wiring later.
To get the curve, I cheated. I bought the moulding on the right from Lowe’s because it was already curved. I ripped it with a table saw down to a thickness of 3/16″, notched it to fit around the control panel and beveled the front and back edges with a compound miter saw.
Once the control panel frame and curved moulding strips were glued & nailed to the flat top piece, I inserted the top assembly into the opening and screwed it down to the cross beams. This way, I’ll be able to take the top off to access the interior down the road.
Next weekend, I’ll cut some flat pieces of wood to fill the spaces between the curved moulding strips. It’s not a pure arc… but close enough for our purposes here.
Now, according to the plans, the control panel is 3/8″ high along its “rails”. This means that the curved top piece has to be around 3/16″ thick in order for the control panel sides to be visible. I don’t know how to create an arch that thin that could also stand up to much weight. (Remember, the buttons on the control panel have to be able to take a pounding from 6 and 4 year old kids.) So, I assembled all the components on top of a 1/8″ thick flat top sheet and set that inside the opening, supported by 3/8″x3/8″ cross beams. I cut the moulding strips so they would extend over the edge of the base walls when the flat top piece is installed.