Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mr. Bun's Rabbit House

Mr. Bun's House - concept drawing

Today I finished something that has been on the project list since before I started the cold frames—a "playhouse" for Mr. Bun, a friend's rabbit.

Mr. Bun's House - Parts and measurements

The plan, based on the rabbit playhouse that Mr. Bun has outgrown, was fairly easy to build with two exceptions: the circular window and rounded top doorway. These were the perfect opportunity to try a simple circle cutting jig I'd seen in Fine Woodworking, which screws to the center of the circle and uses a guide bushing that rides in holes drilled at the correct distance—1/2 the diameter of the circle or arc.

This worked well, but I did learn a disadvantage to using this simple setup instead of a more complicated jig that incorporates a router base: if you are not careful to keep downward pressure the router can ride up out of the jig and eat a chunk out of the jig and your work piece fairly quickly. Look closely to the right of the door on the photo below and you will see what appears to be a slight ding—this was the result of learning this the hard way. Fortunately the damage is slight and Mr. Bun should never notice.

The other challenge with the routed circles was that the router bit was too short to cut through the entire thickness of the plywood. I hadn't realized this before starting and so planned for clearance above the bench. I used double stick tape to attach two scraps of plywood to the rabbets on the back of the front piece. These scraps screwed to the workbench to hold the piece stationary and above the bench. Since the router didn't cut through from the top, in the end I drilled the guide hole for the jig screw through the plywood and flipped the piece over to cut the rest of the way through from the other side.

Rabbet Joints on the corners

Of course, when building a rabbit playhouse, one must incorporate rabbet joints wherever possible—one on each corner, and one all the way around the top. These appear to have worked well as both a gluing surface and squaring reference.

Mr. Bun's House - completed

Several years ago a graphic designer friend of mine agreed to design a hallmark for me. I've been stamping my work with it and learning how to make the best impression. I'm still experimenting, but the big innovation this time through is the use of a dead-blow mallet, which eliminated the bounce I've been experiencing. I recently started inking the stamp before pounding it, but the ink I'm using is too thin—it looks crisp to start, but starts to seep into the surrounding grain before it dries. I think I need to find a thicker ink, or stop inking the imprints.

Hallmark on the inside of Mr. Bun's roof