Logo 1 #topThe Poor Man's Fix-it shop.[not for the proficient craftsman] . . . .Logo 2


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    I suspect that anyone reading this page already has a good idea how a case is made, so it's not my intention to teach on the subject. Besides, there are web sites with much more  information on the subject than I possess. I'll just point out some difficult or unique situations I ran into building these.

    The case to your left was originally intended to be the sound chamber for a rustic musical instrument I have in mind to build. But I took on the chore of building a Tabernacle model for a lady (as described here) and I wanted a case to house the finished project, one she can use to carry the model to wherever she wants to set up her demonstration. The case I had built (only the bottom half at that time) was the prefect size for the project, so I decided to forgo its former intent and convert it to the case as pictured here.




   As originally intended there would have been little weight to contend with since the case would have been essentially empty, and that's the way I built it, to be light. But when carrying the model, though the model was built to be as light as possible, it was still far too heavy for the simple hardware I had in mind, or that I used for other cases I built. The corners of the case would have separated and the case fall apart. To keep the unit together I bought some heavy duty hinges, corner brackets, and latches which bolted (rather than screwed) to the bottom part of the case once I had applied 2 coats of varnish to the outer shell..

    This case was going to have some rugged handling over the years, or so I supposed, so I used brass corner covers for looks and for protection. On the bottom of the case, as it sits with the handle up, which is how I expect it to be carried, I used protruding corners, which also allowed for the hinges that would otherwise set on the ground, and make the unit unstable.




    Here's the case with one of the models that will be fitted into the case.




    Considering that I spent a month and a half of my summer building the case and the models, I wanted to make sure they were kept as attractive as possible and as presentable as possible. I found this velour material in a thrift shop which I thought would set off the model nicely. I cut out a piece for the top and the bottom of the case and glued it in using a spray glue so it wouldn't puddle and cause the velour to have nasty spots (something that has happened to me in the past) of glue showing through. Next I cut strips of thin veneer (I could have used mat board or some other stiff but thin cardboard, even cereal boxes for the purpose) and glued velour over them covering the face and part of the back, at least the part that would be facing the top. These I glued in, using pieces of scrap wood as pressure plates and forced the assembly together using clamps in several places.

    There would be space between the edge of the case and the model that would allow the model to shift out of place. Besides this I planned on storing the smaller pieces like the wood dowels painted gold, and some small paint bottles she would need for touch up, in this case as well. To provide this space I cut a strip of veneer, like described, that would fit snugly into the box, one for the top, and a matching one for the bottom of the case. These I also covered with velour, gluing the fabric over the entire strip of veneer and trimming it at the bottom and the sides (three edges) with a pair of scissors.




    The finished product looks so good I was tempted to keep it for myself, especially since she had no idea I was building these cases, and she said she planned on carrying the model in a suitcase. I was able to override my temptation and sent the model and case as planned.



    A parting shot of the case from the bottom.

    Veneer is cheap enough and easy to obtain, but the veneer I had on hand was especially attractive and I hated to use it for this purpose. I just hope my efforts and attention to detail in the making of this case and model is appreciated by the recipient. I find it usually isn't, a sad commentary on today's society.




    When I measured the box for fit I didn't compensate for the thickness of the veneer liners and fabric, so the finished case was too small to handle everything that needed to be carried. For the rest of the model, in this case the backs of each, I built this custom case to match the large one just described. For this one, since it was smaller and lighter, I didn't have to use reinforced corners or the heavier hardware, causing it to be lighter and cheaper to build.


    The case in its unfinished state.
    The lid of the case has been finished, but the bottom is not yet covered with velour. However I've set a covered piece of veneer along one side with a piece of wood as a pressure plate that will be clamped to the side of the case once the bottom of the case has been covered. I might add that when I cover the bottom of the cases I cut the material oversize, glue it in, and trim the excess off with a razor blade, cutting on the sides of the case, not the bottom. I don't care how far up it extends under the side covers as long as there's exposed wood that the glue can adhere to.
    Another option, along with or in place of glue, is to use tiny nails that will disappear into the thick fabric. I've had to do that at times to hold down a spot that didn't glue well enough, not on these projects, but in the past.


    The finished product along with part of what will be carried in the case.
    This case, along with the sample board depicted here, I was also strongly tempted to keep for myself. But they too went along with the shipment. Maybe I'll make one for myself some day, although that's highly doubtful.  



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