Hidden Lock Cabinet- Bumble Bee Syndrome

To date, all of my woodworking projects were for me, by me.
The Hidden Lock Cabinets my son and I are making for him has become an interesting collaborative effort. He throws out ideas and I give him options on how to do it or why it would be tough to do. Last nite we had a Bumble Bee Syndrome event.
Explanation: With what we knew at the time - prior to high speed cameras - bumble bees weren't supposed to be able to fly according to the theories we had on aerodynamics. The bumble bee, not knowing that he theoretically couldn't fly, flew. History is full of folks who were told "It can't be done!" and they went and did it anyway. When I was teaching lost wax casting I'd get a student every now and then who, out of "ignorance", did something that every thing I knew from personal experience and from books, classes etc., couldn't be done. Sometimes it could be repeated and sometimes it couldn't. If it could be repeated it went into my class handouts for others to use if they chose to.
In this instance my son wanted to make the top out of birdseye maple. He rejected using birdseye ply because he didn't want to frame the top to hide the edges of the ply. That left making the top out of edge joined boards and breadboard ends would likely be necessary. He dug out 6 birdseye boards, a smidge over 3/4' thick by 4-5 inches wide by 47 1/2" long. He layed them out on the bench top and he played the board shuffle and switch and rotate game for about a half an hour.
Only when he had an acceptable to him set of boards that would yield what was needed did he notice that the birdseye figure wouldn't be on the exposed edges of the top.
He wanted the birdseye figure to be on the edges of the top as well. "Don't they make the stuff they cover the ends of ply with in birdseye maple?" Had to tell him I'd never seen or read or heard of any. Told him we could frame the top panel, but in solid wood we'd probably need breadboard ends because of acrossed the grain expansion and contraction.
"Does ply move like solid wood?"
"Nope."
"Then what if we did the top out of birdseye ply and frame it with some of the solid wood birdseye?" He they sketched up what is a rabbet for the ply to sit in and a chamfered edge to desguise the transition from horizontal to vertical - keeping as little non-figured wood visible. Here's what he came up with.
++--------- / | Birdesye ply | | | +---+----- | | Solid birdseye with figure on +----- + the outer face
With mitered corners, possibly with a contrasting wood feather, it might look like what he wants - grain flowing off the top onto the edges and down onto the front panel which will also be birdseye. (This kid has expensive taste).
Put the birdseye maple boards away and got out a sheet of birdseye ply. Stuck two framing squares together to create a window the size of the top and turned him loose to find the areas of the sheet he wanted to use. As is often the case with figured ply, there were stains and dead spots in critical locations. The board shuffle was trivial relative to finding what he needs in ply. He'd find what he wanted for one top but that'd not leave any he liked for the second top. This is like putting together a music set! Getting everything to flow together is hard - but fun!
An hour later we marked what he wants with Post It dots at the corners and called it a night.
I'll rip a piece of the solid birdseye, route the rabbet/rebate and chamfer the top edge so he can see a sample of his idea in the actual stuff we can use.
The evolution of his design has brought up an interesting design issue. The grain on the top of the cabinet well flow acrossed the top from left to right. The front panel however would, if made of solid wood, have to flow up and down. Having the grain flow left/right on the front panel seemed "wrong" to me because of my bias towards solid wood furniture.
"But dad, with the birdseye, the grain direction isn't going to be noticable and we're going to use ply!"
I got caught up with The Rules and overlooked the specific materials and application. It's the Exception To The Rules that you have to be open to. And it doesn't hurt to work with a "bumble bee" either.
This is turning out to be even more fun than I'd hoped for.
charlie b
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You taught him well... an open mind and wisdom will overcome any obstacle...
Bob S.

snip...
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It sounds to me like there is a free exchange of ideas between you and your son as opposed to your telling him how it has to be done. A VERY healthy and, as you say, FUN thing to do. I commend you AND your son for communicating in this day and age of kids suing their parents for divorce, etc.
Well done, Charlie & Son <<<<<<<< new business name?
Vic
<snip>

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charlie b wrote:

Not quite. The fellow who did the calculation was an entomologist's lab assistant, Sainte-Lague, who did the calculation on a napkin using a very simplified model in response to a question asked over dinner. Later he did the calculation in more detail and came up with a different answer. Meanwhile, the person with whom he had the conversation spread the story all over Germany and the media picked it up but never explained the circumstances.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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I finally got around to renting Nova's special on Orville and Wilbur Wright.
Literally - the sky is the limit when you approach problems without bias. So far, that's the only downside to "experience" I see.
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Thu, Jun 24, 2004, 10:24pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@conroy-family.net (patrickconroy) says: <snip> Literally - the sky is the limit when you approach problems without bias. So far, that's the only downside to "experience" I see.
One time when my mother picked me up at the airport, coming home on leave. Just left the airport, and the car stopped running. Turned out the distributer cap had broken in two. Propped it in place with a folded piece of cardboard, drove to a service station. No cap. Same story for another. So, said the Hell with it, and just drove on down to where my dad was working, to say hi. Still working fine, so on home. A lot of people said it couldn't work. But, they all said that after I'd already driven about 40 miles home.
Did the about same thing when an almost brand new alternator lost all the screws holding the case together, wedged a folded chunk of cardboard to hold it together. Only about 10 miles that time. Never did figure out how the screws all came out. Different car, different life.
Problems like that, just put your brain in neutral, and do whatever you think'll work. No prob.
Of course, the proper repair, in either case, would have been copius quantities of duct tape.
JOAT Use your brain - it's the small things that count. - Bazooka Joe
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<snippage of some neat father-son stuff>

My line generally turns out to be something like: "I haven't figured out how to do that yet!" Or better yet, "let's go across the street and talk to Brad." Or Kirby. Or Jeff. Or almost anybody with more experience.
I found, when I was writing code (and that's been a long time ago), that talking with one of my younger sons about the problem I was trying to solve often helped me to understand the seeds of a solution to the problem. Wasn't that one of JT's sig lines for a while?
Thanks for keeping us in the loop on this project, Charlie. These are good reports to get, even if your wood cache is being depleted. You can prolly find some more. You only get a few kids.
Patriarch
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Fri, Jun 25, 2004, 5:20am (EDT+4) patriarch
<snip> I found, when I was writing code (and that's been a long time ago), that talking with one of my younger sons about the problem I was trying to solve often helped me to understand the seeds of a solution to the problem. Wasn't that one of JT's sig lines for a while? <snip>
Dunno, if it was, musta been longer than yesterday, 'cause I don't remember nuthin like that.
I found out long ago, that talking to yourself helps almost as much as bouncing ideas/problems off of someone else. Because, you can think about someting for days, and the words just bounce back and for in your skull. But, when you talk, you get the words going in your ears, give you a whole different perspective. If you don't believe it, rehearse a speech on something, without saying any of the words aloud. Then, after you get it all perfect, when you speak it, I can almost guarantee you'll say something stupid somewhere in it. But, if you practice it aloud, you'll be much more likely to pick up on the stuid part(s) and correct it/them. There is no guarantee you won't say something stupid, even with a prepared speech, if you're a politician.
JOAT Use your brain - it's the small things that count. - Bazooka Joe
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Thu, Jun 24, 2004, 1:07pm (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@accesscom.com (charlieb) says: <snip> bumble bees weren't supposed to be able to fly according to the theories we had on aerodynamics. The bumble bee, not knowing that he theoretically couldn't fly, flew.
Story I heard was some aerounotical (?) engineers got together, sometime around WWII, and proved that if a bumblee was scaled up, so it could hold 4 or 8 aircraft engines on its wings, it couldn't fly. Or, maybe it was, if the enginesw where scaled down.
History is full of folks who were told "It can't be done!" and they went and did it anyway. <snip>
I think it would be more accurate to say, full of folks who weren't told it can't be done, and they went and did it anyway.
I've been told many times thru the years, that I couldn't do something, or it can't be done. And, in most of those cases, I was being told by people who knew they couldn't do it themselves, and figured if they couldn't do it, they didn't want me to show them up, so they tried to stop me before I started. Took awhile to catch on, but once I did, I usually just ignored them, and did whatever. And, yeah, I know there's a lot of things I can't do, but I don't worry about those, and conentrate on what I can do, or can learn to do. Now if I could only learn to get my kids to work on that damn Luv for me.
JOAT Use your brain - it's the small things that count. - Bazooka Joe
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J T wrote:

Tom Plamann has a wonderful quote along those lines on his website:
"There are two types of people. Those that do and those that don't. Don't listen to unsuccessful people. They will try to discourage you from your dreams. Instead, look to those who have done well. They will tell you the right things."
Sounds like rock solid advice.
-Rick
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Sat, Jun 26, 2004, 6:50am (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@n0spaam.charter.net (RickNelson) says: Tom Plamann has a wonderful quote along those lines on his website: "There are two types of people. Those that do and those that don't. Don't listen to unsuccessful people. They will try to discourage you from your dreams. Instead, look to those who have done well. They will tell you the right things." Sounds like rock solid advice.
Sorta flawed in ways. I can do, but if you're talking "done well" in terms of big bucks, hasn't happened yet. However, it always seems like a lot of people who are ready to discourage others, wind up with some serious cash themselves. I suspect tthat's often a result of their stealing credit from whoever they're telling is worth nohing. Last employment I had, our manager wound up with 9 (nine) promotions inside a year (with a tidy raise each time). But, no one else got even an "atta boy". If I racall right, that was the year the rest of us got raises ranging from 0 (zero) to 3 (three) cents per hours - depending on performance - the same performance that "earned" the manager all those promotions. Makes you wonder at times.
JOAT Use your brain - it's the small things that count. - Bazooka Joe
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