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Small Tool Chest Bottom

The bottom of this tool chest is a frame like the lid, with a single panel. Looking closely at the grain I took a chance and decided to split the waste from the tenons using a chisel. This is definitely my preferred method to remove the waste and if all goes well, much quicker.

Grain direction is the critical element when using a chisel to remove the waste. After laying out the tenon and sawing along the bottom I look at the grain and try to determine where it will split. If the grain looks like it will split into the tenon I stop, grab my saw and cut the tenons. If the grain looks like it will split parallel to or away from the tenon I place the tenon in my vise and make some test cuts.

20131117-070202.jpgI place my chisel approximately half way into the waste and and on one side and give it a tap. Watching the split I can confirm that the wood will split where I intend. I then move to the other end and a place my chisel half way and make another test tap. If this works I go ahead and remove the waste. Using this method of checking each end of the tenon has been particularly helpful with the Sapele. The grain can change dramatically over a few inches and where I can use a chisel on one end of the tenon I may not on the other.

I saw two of the tenons and split the other two and quickly finish the mortise and Tenon joints. Most of the joints fit well,  but I still have a little bit of work to smooth the joints. Rigging up a clamp n my vice I am able to support the bottom while I use a plane and cabinet scraper to smooth all of the parts. Sapele has been fun to work, but I could never have gotten by without my cabinet scraper.

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Categories: Small Tool Chest
  1. Jeffrey L. Brann
    November 18, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Richard, I agree about the Sapelle and the cabinet scraper. I also prefer the splitting method with the tenons. I just picked up the Veritas Skew block plans for trimming the tenons after I have split them. Great tool!!
    Your tool chest looks like it may be on par with Pau’s. Great job. My first one will be out of pine I think (for practice).
    Cheers,
    Jeff

  2. November 18, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I’m really enjoying your progress on the small tool chest. This is from the video courses of Paul Sellers, correct? In your opinion are these courses worth the money, are you able to work at your own pace and go back over them as needed? If possible, I’d appreciate your comments about this course and it’s benefits. Thanks — John

    • November 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      The course is great and it is solely at your own pace. I jump started by attending a class in May but the course is similar and the teaching style is excellent. I don’t believe there is any long term commitment so you could sign up try it for a few months and if you don’t care for it leave. With a teaching background I think you would appreciate it for the teaching alone

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