Fabrication Week 2 – Multiples

Fabrication Week 2 – Multiples

For the Fabrication assignment this week, in order to practice process and repeatability, we were tasked with creating “5 or more of anything”. Multiples! I knew I wanted to work with wood, and to create something that completed a set. I sketched some ideas:


The inspiration:

I ventured to Home Depot and picked up a 6″ wide, 6′ piece of pine for about $9. I brought it to ITP on the train, added my name and practiced using the band saw, miter saw, and power sander.  Unfortunately, it disappeared from the wood shelf before I was able to use it, but I got lucky when I found a very similar unmarked piece at the bottom of the wood shelf. Time to get to work…

Facing my fears – chop chop with the miter saw!


I knew I would need over 18 pieces, with a few extras as first pancakes, so I measured 7″ slices. Then sawed them all in half.

20 pieces later!

Next it was time to cut the angles into each piece. I sketched the triangles and realized for an equilateral triangle, I would need each angle to be 60 degrees. Half of that was 30 degrees, so I set the miter saw to 30 degrees and got to work.

I set up two stop blocks using clamps to keep the pieces in place. This saved a ton of time! Plus as Ben mentioned in class, I didn’t have to think once everything was set up, I just had to focus on not chopping off my fingers.

And complete! 20 blocks cut with angles

Saw dust angels after cutting all those angles!

Next I sanded the pieces, and fell in love with the power sander.

One thing I learned from using the power sander is to definitely make sure part of the block is resting on the base. Otherwise the sander grabs the piece and swiftly pulls it down.

Sanded pieces looking beautiful:

Unfortunately, I quickly learned that the angle cut was not what I expected. The miter saw set to 30 degrees cut off 30 degrees. instead of providing a 30 degree angle. I ended up with 60 degree angles, and fitting them together made hexagons instead of triangles.

I should have fit two pieces together right away and realized my mistake, but I was too focused on finishing my time with the miter saw. Huge lesson learned: Check everything as you go.

I considered using the accident, and keeping the hexagon shape, so I made a jig that would support the pieces as the wood glue dried, because it needed to be clamped for 30 minutes.


After talking with Ben and realizing I would need to make two more hexagon shapes to complete the assignment, and mostly out of time, I had a lucky epiphany.

The pieces still fit together as a triangle, yet in a different configuration. Instead of cut end to cut end as I was envisioning, the pieces fit in a more interlocking style.

This is funny, because the original design I was inspired by had the pieces configured this way, but instead of following a guide, I had drawn my own plan. Due to a lack of finishing time, I decided to (ack!) super-glue the pieces together. I cut one of my first pancakes and half, and then glued it, letting the superglue dry overnight to test the adherence. The bond was solid, and nearly unbreakable by force so I decided to move forward.

Here are the triangle shelves drying in a storage compartment.

Here they are, fit together for the first time:

And after finishing touches with the sander:

Things I would do differently next time:

  • Make more pieces
  • Use wood glue and clamps
  • Test steps along the way before finishing cuts

2 Replies to “Fabrication Week 2 – Multiples”

  1. Nice work, I’m glad you rolled with the punches.

    Yes, you should have checked the angles of the cuts earlier, but I’m glad it worked out.

    Don’t know if I agree with the super glue choice. Your joints with wood glue and clamping pressure will be much stronger than super glue, in fact the super glue may fail over time. How did you end up clamping the triangles while the glue setup?

    1. Clamping was the issue I ran into and also informed part of my choice to use super glue because it was fast drying and didn’t required the same initial setting time. I was able to build a jig for the hexagon shape, but couldn’t figure out the triangle shape. (Note, in class you mentioned rubber bands, I will try this next time.) I ended up holding each shelf together by hand while they dried for 30 seconds, and then let them dry for another 6 hours before taking them back on the power sander. Interesting point you made in class about temperature changes and how the super glue and wood would react differently, weakening the bond over time.

      Additionally, economically speaking, it took a $6 bottle of crazy/super glue to complete six small shelves, and it would have taken far less wood glue.

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