The Den of Slack

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Freelance Police office – braided rug and welcome mat

In the early episodes of Telltale’s Sam & Max games, the Freelance Police have a braided rug in their office. (After Max becomes President of the United States, it’s replaced by a rug out of the Oval Office.)

As seen in this bird’s eye view screenshot, the rug has green, brown, and off-white rings. Also note the astroturf welcome mat outside the rat hole — we’ll come back to that farther down in the post.

Each ring is fairly solid — the off-white has flecks of green, but the green and brown are just green and brown. I could have duplicated the rug exactly, but I thought variegated thread would give it a more authentic “rag rug” look. (Also, I have a bunch of variegated thread that came in a variety pack and nothing else to use it for!) I used two skeins of DMC 94 (green) and one of DMC 105 (brown).

I followed this nice tutorial from Natalia’s Fine Needlework. The first step was to braid the floss. This is time-consuming — it took me about an hour per skein. The braid then gets coiled into its rug shape on top of a piece of glass covered with double stick tape.

This was my first attempt. I didn’t plan it out, so I ended up with a thicker brown ring on the inside and a thinner one on the outside.

I followed the directions to iron fusible interfacing to the back of the rug. I’ve used this stuff before and haven’t had problems with it fusing, but this time it really didn’t want to stick. After several rounds with the iron, the edges of the interfacing started fusing with the glass, so I figured I’d done enough.

Apparently not! When I tried to peel it up from the tape, this happened.

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Freelance Police office — hardwood floor

For the hardwood floor in Sam & Max’s office, I used the same micro veneer that I have used in the past in the Victorianna and Thatched Cottage. I buy this stuff in batches off eBay. It’s basically the same as the dollhouse hardwood flooring made by Houseworks, but a lot cheaper.

I used a light color (I think maple?) that’s no longer included in the bundles. (It has been replaced with oak.) I used the paper cutter to cut the veneer sheets into 3/8″ wide strips.

The veneer is paper-thin, and it has a sticky backing that makes it easy to apply to the floor.

The other times I’ve used this for flooring, I used darker colors and went around the edges in black Sharpie to make the individual floorboards stand out. I didn’t like how that looked with this lighter color of wood, so instead I left very thin lines between each floorboard so the brownish MDF shows through.

I carefully lined up the boards at the front edge of the roombox. I didn’t really like how it looked — since you can see the edge, it’s very obvious that this is thin, paper-like stuff and not real floorboards.

I tried wrapping a couple over the edge and decided I liked the look of that better.

So I ripped out the edge pieces I’d done so far to re-do them wrapped around the front.

As soon as I finished doing this, I realized it was a bad move. The folded-over veneer doesn’t stick tightly on the front edge — when I run my finger over it I can hear it crinkling as it sticks and unsticks itself. And some of the boards got sort of chewed up at the folds, with the wood splintering and peeling up from the paper backing. I expect that the folded-over pieces on the bottom will get damaged and may come unstuck over time as the roombox gets moved around.

But I was concerned about running out of this color, especially since it’s no longer available from the eBay seller, so I pressed on.

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Freelance Police office — Sam’s desk

I’m waiting for some things to come in the mail before I continue with Sam & Max’s office, so I took a break from the structure to build Sam’s desk. Here’s a render from Telltale’s game that shows what it looks like.

We only ever see Sam’s desk from the back, so I don’t know what the other side looks like, but I assume it’s a kneehole desk with drawers on either side of the chair hole.

I cut all of the side, front, and top pieces from 2″ wide, 1/16″ thick basswood. I wanted to get all the pieces out of one 24″ strip of wood, so I was more focused on that than on copying the dimensions of a real desk. The front is a little less than 5″ wide and the sides are 1.75″ wide. The legs are 2 1/8″ tall (1/8″ will poke out under the desk and the rest will be inside the desk for support).

I used Minwax Aged Oak gel stain for these. I’d originally intended to use this color for the wainscot, doors, etc. in the roombox but grabbed the wrong can (Walnut) at the time and didn’t realize it until later. It worked out, though, since the furniture needs to be a lighter color than the trim. If I’d used Aged Oak in the roombox, I wouldn’t have something slightly lighter than this to use for the furniture.

The top needs to be thicker than the rest but I didn’t have a thicker piece of 2″ basswood, so I cut two top pieces to glue together. I clamped them while the glue dried, with the wood wrapped in wax paper so the clamps wouldn’t leave marks.

The pieces shifted when I clamped them so the edges weren’t flush when the glue dried. I cleaned them up on the disc sander.

Here’s the desk upside down. I used 1/4″ square basswood for the legs and as supports in the corners that don’t have legs.

And right-side up. I had planned to add drawers to the pedestals, but I’m not sure if I’ll bother, since you won’t see this side of the desk inside the roombox.

Because I didn’t plan out my measurements carefully, I ended up with a desktop that was exactly the same depth as the desk, rather than overhanging. I didn’t like the seam from the two pieces being glued together, so this was a happy accident.

I fixed it by gluing a basswood frame around the outer edge of the desktop.

Next I added mitered pieces of 1/4″ basswood around the front and sides to create panels.

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