The space either side of the fireplace was always meant to receive some furniture. We used to just pile the wood onto the carpet, and we had sticks sitting in a basket. Now that we have a nice new slate hearth we can have nice neat wood, too. So the theory goes.
We also have spare books without shelving to sit on (eternally so, no matter how much shelving we make), so we’re going to combine wood storage boxes with book shelves. The irony of which one you burn and which one you don’t is not lost on us.
On this occasion, we’re going to go with trendy exposed end-grain ply. Each box is about 1.5m wide and 77cm high so that it blends with the edge of the fireplace. Ideally, the boxes would be 68cm deep, to get them to go against the wall and line up with the front of the fireplace. Ply only comes in increments of 1 foot, though (600mm, 900mm, 1200mm, 2400mm), so we cut that back to 60cm for material and cost efficiency. We’ll make the ply walls about 35mm thick – nice and chunky.
We got 3 2400x1200mm sheets of 15mm structural ply, and 1 sheet of 6mm marine ply for the outside skin (yay ute action). We chop each one length-wise to give us 8 2400x600mm sheets.
Of course, we didn’t have a straight edge that was 2.4m long, and we don’t have a table saw. So a bit of time was spent casting around for a piece of steel or aluminium that would give us a long straight edge whenever we need to cut big sheets. It’s surprisingly hard to find – a lot of the material on sale is only 2m long at most.
Anyway, difficult doesn’t mean impossible, so:
It doesn’t have to be perfectly even – we can always trim with the plane later to create a uniform depth, but the straighter we make it now the closer to 600mm depth we can achieve.
Perhaps the trickiest bit is making sure the cut end doesn’t flop onto the ground and bend and crack the last bit as you’re cutting and squeeze the circular saw blade and so on. We use patented agricultural techniques to catch the piece not clamped to the table:
No, we don’t have sawhorses.
With all the bits in half, it’s a tad easier then to chop off one end. Each piece will become one left-and-right and one up-and-down piece.