Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sticky situations

As part of the original design for my big storage cabinet, I envisioned a big door with a drafting board mounted to it. The door has fallen by the wayside, for now, but I did get the woodwork part of the drafting board done today.

It's 6 feet long, and four feet wide, and built basically like a hollow core door...

Well, maybe a little better than that. This is a picture of a hollow core door that was taken apart by a guy I knew in my old building. He had sawn it apart to make a train table for his son, and this is the piece that got cut off. It's just corrugated cardboard, hot glued into place, in a hurry. Probably by some poor 8 year old in China. God Bless Home Depot. It's a random picture I've been waiting months to have an excuse to show.

Anyway, So, I built the board today, it's ribbed inside with plywood, with the gaps filled in with polystrene foam board. (otherwise known as styrofoam, you can buy 4x8 sheets of it to use as insulation, believe it or not. Again, God bless Home Despot.)

So, the last step that remained was for me to glue down the self-healing vinyl board cover that I'd purchased form Charrette for the purpose. To do this, I used contact cement, which is vaguely like rubber cement on steroids, and at the same time, not really.

The essence of the process is, you coat the mating faces of the two items to be joined. Wait 20 minutes or so, until it's dried to the point of being tacky, and then touch the two things together. What I wasn't really thinking about was that I'd just turned my 4 foot by 6 foot piece of vinyl into a 4 foot by 6 foot piece of tape with the adhesive strength of duct tape. Ever have a piece of duct tape fold into itself while you were trying to tape something? Well, imagine that, but worse.

About 30 minutes later I managed to untangle the mess that I got after the vinyl folded into itself a few times, and half of the adhesive came off and stuck to the board, leaving a rougher surface than before. 10 mintues later, knee deep in the process of removing the remaining contact cement from the vinyl, so I could give this all a second shot, I called my girlfriend to let her know I'd be another half hour or so. (Oddly enough, this was the most accurate estimate I've given her to date on how much longer I'd be stuck at work. )

The contact cement stuck, but it was willing to come off, much like rubber cement... and rolling it around resulted in small balls that grew into a larger ball that I could roll around to pick up more. So, the sheet of vinyl is clean, but I'm now confronted with the realization that I may have to fabricate something interesting to make this process more predictable for that second go around. There won't be a third go around... I was exhausted after my bout of duct tape wrestling tonight, and I'm not gonna do it again. So the 'something interesting' better be good. Because I want this drafting board to be Very Good.

First things first, though. I need to get the gunk off of the board, so I have a clean, fresh surface to glue down to...

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