So once the motor and transmission were setup in their new home, it was time to bring a control board into existence that would hold all the necessary electronics, under the hood. To help with this I had called Finch Lumber in Carrboro a few weeks back and found that they both sold MDO board (thick water-resistant expensive plywood and good control board material) and would actually cut it to match a template that I would provide. That sounded easy so I went by Staples and bought some poster board material that would fold up and fit in my little car, that I could use to make a template.

The plan was to cut the template into the exact shape with all the needed holes marked, and take it to Fitch on New Years Eve morning. I stayed up till 2am finishing it up on Wednesday night (30th), and got up early on Thursday (31st) to be at Finch when they opened. I thought with luck they could make my control board before the New Year. Here is my template.. Its upside down, but if you noticed that, you must have made one yourself. The cut-outs are for high voltage cables.

So I arrived at Fitch Lumbar bright and early with my template, and there was a large hand written sign on the glass door.. “Closed For Inventory”.. I peeked in the door and sure enough there were like 8 people inside and they were all counting stuff.. Sooooo… I went and sat in my car and wondered what to do next. Tomorrow was New Years and then the weekend, so it was going to be 4 days till they were open again.. I took out my iphone (how did I survive before iphone), and did a google on “wood working 27517”. The first entry was “Hammerhand Woodwork” and a button with the phone number and a button for a map. I hit the map button and saw they were located near my house, so I touched the phone number and just like that, I was talking to Rich Komisar.

I explained my situation to Rich, and being a master wood craftsman, he knew all about MDO board, but didn’t have any in his shop. He also had just finished a project and so had the time to build my control board. The next thing I know we were driving over to Raleigh to Capital City Lumbar to buy MDO board. We purchased the normal 4′ x 8′ sheet ($100) which they cut in half for us. On the way back, we stopped at Home Depot and bought some spray enamel and primer. I had not yet decided on the color so I stared at spray can tops for quite a while. The control board sub-project had begun!!

When we got back to Rich’s shop, I left him to his work and I had some errands to run. I wanted to move my bank accounts from a large bank to a small bank. See its a really big deal. If you are associated with a large bank then you should take a look.

I returned a couple of hours later and took pictures and videos of Rich working (stay tuned for videos). Here is a pic of Rich working on the control board. The first thing I noticed is that the board was in the foreground and Rich was intently working on something next to it. It was one of those, “I don’t know what you are doing, but I’m sure that you do, so I’m not going to say anything, and eventually it will be clear” moments..

So eventually it became clear that Rich was making templates that would allow him to quickly make all the necessary rounded cuts on the board, and they would all be perfect and look exactly the same.. and it worked. Here is Rich clamping one of the templates to a section of the board before using a router to make a perfect rounded inner corner.

Rich’s shop was an interesting place. I don’t think I have ever been in a professional woodworking shop so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. Lots of wood, lots of tools, no surprise there. Here is the main section. I like this picture because I’m thinking if I had a woodworking shop (in a different life), it would have a similar balance of organization and messiness. Check out the size of those Bar-Clamps!

In any case, once Rich finished cutting all the perfect corners and cut-outs, he was going to prime and paint it. In order to do a really good job of that, it was going to take days. I decided that it was worth the additional time and cost to have an exceptional control board. In the end, Fitch Lumbar being closed was a blessing in disguise. Rich was going to construct an infinitely nicer control board!! Plus, working with Rich through the process while taking video and pictures was a very positive experience.

More entries on control board to come.. Part II is priming and painting..