Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another Fabulous Thunderbirds Helmet Case

You would think that after building a half dozen of these helmet display cabinets, I'd have it down pat. (Here's one.) But no, each one is different and presents its own little challenges. This pilot brought in a utility helmet for me to use when building the case,

 and my starting point is almost always the top frame. That piece determines everything else about this cabinet; at least that's how I approach it. 

This case also needed to hold two headrests - one to be hung behind the helmet, and one to be stored in a drawer below. 

There is absolutely no room for error on this piece, so I had to double-check every single operation, to ensure that every cut was square. 

Since the display case was going to have glass on five sides, I used a scrap piece of it to make sure that all my kerfs were aligned. 

Pieces like this make me stress a bit; I'm not sure if it's because I was building this for a friend, or if it's just a complex piece that really demands my concentration. It always seems that when I'm working on something like this, there is a constant stream of phone calls and visitors, which can be really distracting. I've finally learned to NOT answer the phone when I'm in the middle of something critical.

 Here's a perfect example of the construction mania that exists mid-project. 

When I routed the rabbet in the top frame that would eventually hold the glass, I wound up with rounded corners. Time to pull out a chisel and clean up those areas. 

And finally - the piece is taking shape. 

Can you spot the mistake I made here?

I decided to add a small display ledge inside the drawer, 

to hold some military coins that service men and women seem to collect over the course of their service. 

Eric suggested I use something cool for the drawer pull, and so I dug up this bevel gear and mounted it. (Thanks for the suggestion!) 

My hardware supplier was out of the full-extension drawer slides that normally I use, so I substituted a self-closing slide. Once you close the drawer, it self-closes the last two inches or so. I may have to start using these all the time; they're pretty great!

First coat of oil!

I thought I'd put my helmet inside the case, just to see how it fit. 

And - voila`! 

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