I left off my last Throne Room article with the side cabinet carcass being mostly assembled and partially insulated. This time I’ll finish up the assembly and insulation. When I’m not at the boatyard working on the Throne Room, I’m spending at least few hours each weekend practicing with my latest
toy tool, an AHP AlphaTIG 200X welder. A “gas lens” kit that I bought made a HUGE difference in weld quality on stainless. The gas lens is a ceramic cup on the pointy end of the TIG torch. But unlike the normal cups that came stock with the AlphaTIG, gas lenses are shaped a bit differently, and they have a much larger base with a diffuser screen inside that, as if by magic, focuses the gas (argon for stainless and aluminum) evenly around the weld area. Another day or two of practice and I’ll tackle the first of several aluminum welding projects that need to be done before the Roamer splashes later this year. But first… back to that cabinet.
Looking at the clamping system in the pic above, “Rube Goldberg” comes to mind. But the thing is, each and every clamp and scrap of wood serves a very specific purpose. If I had a bigger selection of clamps, I might not need as many bits and pieces to hold it all together, but given what I’ve got to work with and the need to clamp in the X, Y, and Z axis, this is what it took to get ‘er done.
The long bar clamps compress against the scrap 1/2″ ply, mooshing the insulation against the bottom of the interior cabinet bottom panel, which pulls it toward the cabinet top. That squeezes the side panels tightly into place between the top and bottom panels, but it also lifts the bottom panel off of the cabinet carcass. So a short bar clamp on the left pulls the long bar clamp end down, forcing the cabinet bottom into contact with the carcass face panel. But the right side long bar clamp isn’t near a convenient edge, so I had to use a 1″ x 1″ mahogany cleat as a lever to push the right side long clamp down, forcing the right side of the cabinet bottom into contact with the cabinet face panel. At that point, I had good squeeze out on both ends of the cabinet interior bottom panel, but the center was floating free. So, I re-oriented the mahogany cleat and added a scrap of 3/4″ ply in the middle. That gave me good glue squeeze out all long the length of the interior bottom panel joint. The other scrap wood pieces (and the chisel) in the foreground are used as weights to keep the Buffalo Batt insulation in contact with the wet epoxy on the panel.
The stick in the top right corner tightens up the top to side panel joint.
With sticky epoxy everywhere and some not entirely stable clamps holding everything together, I closed up for the day and went back to play with my AlphaTIG.