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Project Information

A fellow engineer and friend of mine asked me to make him a top for his pickle croc. It's made from walnut with a birch, we think, inlay of the Wisconsin "running" W. It has 15 coats of wipe on satin poly with sanding between every 5th coat. Two coats of wax and buffed. The top sit loose on the croc so I added a couple of "cleats" to the underside to keep it from sliding off. Works quite well if I do say so myself. He now has a very nice blanket storage container for the TV room. :p

The back story. After him asking me to make a top for the croc, I thought that an inlay in the top would look nice. I had something simple in mind and run the idea past him. Beings that he's an UofW alum he suggested that we inlay the Wisconsin running W logo in the top. I couldn't very well say no sense I'm the fool for opening up that can of worms. So the journey began.

First he found the logo, Pic #2. Great, it's a jpg file. So I said that I would see what I could do with it but I had to get it into AutoCAD so that I could get the scale correct if I were to use it. After about 2 days of searching and installing software into my computer from the internet I found a free program, the best kind, called InkScape. It has a built in function that could "trace" the outline of the logo and create a dxf file. Now I have something that I can work with!

Next came the fun part. I had to create an offset, Pic #3, so that I could make a template that the router bit could follow to produce the "W." Easily done in AutoCAD. The hard part was making the template work in practice.

The template is made from 1/4 hardboard cut with a jig saw and lots of sanding and filing. Oh yeah, there was some cussing involved too.

We made a couple of tests runs in some MDF and Hardboard for the inlay to make certain that everything was good to go. Good thing because the template 1.0 failed miserably. The pieces that stick down from the top to form the separation in the W were way to flexible. So after much ado and fiddling around with it, I decided to scrap it and go back to AutoCAD.

So for template 2.0, I made the separating pieces a little wider and added "bracing" that had to be cut out afterward. This added extra work but as you can see from the finished piece, turned out pretty decent.

All and all it turned out quite nice. There's a few places that aren't perfect and a run in the finish on the edge that you can't see (unless you're a woodworker and are looking for it) but that's why they call it hand made / custom furniture!

This is one of the projects that you could never charge for as you would have to be Bill Gates to afford the labor that went into it. Good thing that I'm a great friend and did everything for BEER! I'm pretty sure that I came out the winner here.

Thanks for looking,

Gallery

Comments

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70 Posts
Nicely done! I agree Inkscape is awesome! I use it to design full scale templates for my longboards, makes things much simpler.
 

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65 Posts
ON WISCONSIN!! Hope the finish holds up with the moisture potentials.

TJP
Green Bay, WI
 

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173 Posts
The only down side is that that crock won't be used for making kraut anymore. But it is a beautiful topper.
 
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