This is a multi-part article, follow these links for Part 1 and Part 2.
So if you've been following my progress, you'll know that I've got my KaiserCraft advent calendar, unpackaged, sanded and painted.
This stage of the project took me just under an hour I would guess. To complete the task, you'll need a hammer, some wood glue (remember this part) and a block of wood to hammer on. You will recall from my photos that the calendar goes together with a series of tongue/groove joints. The base (or back) of the calendar has a bunch of slots in it, and each of the pieces (sides and shelves) has tabs.
I recommend figuring out exactly where each piece is going to go (it's not hard) before you start putting it together, since they do fit pretty tightly. If you make a mistake, it is possible to get them apart, although it is a bit tricky. More advice: Don't hammer directly on your MDF, since it's tough but not all that tough if you get my drift. The last thing you want is to get this far and crack a piece. You may also wish to use wood glue to give you some additional security. I didn't initially, but found out after the fact that it would probably have been a good idea (keep reading to find out why).
I started first by securing each of the longer pieces that formed the outside and inside frames, and then moved on to securing the small dividers. It is at this stage that good, thorough sanding really pays off. Remember that 'nub' that I talked about yesterday? Well, if you don't get it off completely (or at least almost), these little dividers won't fit or will cause the outer and inner frames to bow. Not nice. So check your 'nubs' and make sure they are all gone.
Once I had my calendar fully assembled (or almost), it looked like this.
I had one piece left over - a long skinny one. I didn't know at first what it was for, but I went to KaiserCraft and found out. It's for the very bottom of the unit - so that when fully assembled it stands flat on a table. If haven't put it on yet - so it's not in the picture, but trust me, it could very well be necessary.
Once I got this far, I realized that wood glue probably would have been a big help. See my corner - it's not quite lined up.
So depending on how picky you are - this may or may not suit you. For me, I didn't like it - so I decided to try and fix it up a bit. Now, since I didn't want to disassemble the whole thing (I'm lazy), I thought I would try sneaking some glue in and around that joint to try to tighten it up. I used painters tape and a clamp to help me hold it tight while the glue dried. It worked fairly well, and I'm comfortable with the end result, but I would definitely recommend using the glue as you go method - it would be much easier.
This is when I also realized that the long skinny piece would actually be quite handy. Once the frame was all 'squared up', it no longer sat quite as straight. I know it sounds odd initially, but this is because the the back of the unit is slightly larger than the outer frame, by design. When the frame was left to it's own devices, it compensated for the slight difference I guess and bowed down in the front (which evened out the stance). After I had squared up the frame though - it no longer bowed, and thus the stance became uneven - know what I mean?). So, you may need this piece, or you may not - that just depends on how picky you're going to be about getting everything completely square.
So now that I have my calendar frame fully assembled, the fun part begins --> assembling and decorating the drawers.
Stay tuned for the next installment in my adventure to see how I did this.