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Assembling the Module Frame - Part 3: Installing the Middle Cross Member
Our next step is to install the Middle Cross Member to our square frame. 
Step 3.1
  • Take six 1½" #6 Robertson screws and screw them into the holes we drilled in the middle of the Front Piece and Back Piece so that they just come through the other side of the wood as shown in the photo below. 
  • Smear some glue on both ends of the Middle Cross Member
  • Insert the Middle Cross Member between the Front Piece and the Back Piece as shown in the photo below.
Step 3.2
  • Take two pieces of scrap wood and place them on the Middle Cross Member next to the Front Piece. 
  • Align this scrap-wood-Middle-Cross-Member combination so that the top surfaces are flush with each other as shown in the photo below
  • Screw in the three wood screwss
Step 3.3
  • Repeat step 3.2 to fasten the Back Piece to the Middle Cross Member
  • With a wet J-cloth, wipe off any excess wood glue. 

If you managed to stay with us so far, guess what?  You've got yourself a module frame that should look something like this:

At this point in time, you are probably in a hurry to install some styrofoam to make a surface for the module.  Don't!  Your module is going to experience some extreme temperature and humidity changes - especially if you're transporting your modules from setup to setup.  As any old paint pro will tell you, the secret to stopping wood from warping is to seal the surfaces - all the surfaces. 
Assembling the Module Frame - Part 4: Covering the Screw Holes and Painting the Module Frame

This is where a few little tricks of the trade will cover up a multitude of sins or mistakes that we might have made in putting the pieces of wood together.  More importantly, it adds that nice professional touch to our work.

Step 4.1 Filling in the Screw Holes

  • I fill the screw holes with some Lepage's Tinted Wood Filler.  The secret to using this stuff is don't try to fill up the holes all at once.  This usually takes about 3 applications - the first application fills up most of the hole and the other two applications give it a nice smooth finish. 
  • In between the first and second application, I use a wet J-cloth to "wet-sand" the dried wood filler so that I don't get a lot of dust. 
  • After the last application, I use some very fine sandpager and lightly sand the wood filler and the complete module frame. I then wipe the frame down with a damp J-cloth to get rid of the fine sawdust. 

Step 4.2 Painting the Module Frame

I use the small tins of flat-black Tremclad or a house-brand equivalent rust-proof paint and a sponge brush to give 3 good coats of paint to the module so that all of the surfaces get sealed. 
In between coats, I keep the sponge brush in a bit of turpentine so that when I'm finished, I don't have to do a lot of cleanup. 
This is the kind of job that's best done out of doors because you can get three coats of paint on in one day.  More importantly, you'll keep the peace in the house. 

Our next step will be to cut and install the styrofoam, then seal it to our module frame so that it all becomes one integral unit.