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Box Making – Every Dovetail deserves an adjustment

September 15, 2021 Leave a comment

There are people that make perfectly fitting dovetails every time and I don’t envy their lack of opportunity to adjust the dovetails they make. Typically I will have at least one dovetail that needs some work along with a saw cut that went a little too far and perhaps somewhere the wood chipped. Frequently I can also pick out the dovetail that was cut first. Which suggests that I should make a practice dovetail to increase my focus before beginning on the real thing.

With this box I have three corners that look good with only a couple of minor changes required but the fourth corner needs a little work. Nothing major the joints are strong and fit well just a few cosmetic touches.

Filling in the minor gaps is simple, find wood that is similar in color ensure you match end grain to end grain and long grain to long grain and trim the wood to fit the gap and glue in place. Once the glue is dry trim with a chisel and plane it smooth. In most cases the gap disappears and will never be noticed. If needed you can fill in some fairly large gaps!

Categories: Cherry Box

Box Making – Glue Up

September 8, 2021 Leave a comment

Before glueing up the box I needed to install the grooves for the future sliding door. I thought this could be done quickly on the table saw, but after a minute realized that it would not leave a flat groove since the saw teeth are offset. I grabbed the plow plane and in a few minutes had a 3/8 inch upper groove and 1/4 in lower groove completed. In most of the woodworking I do, it is often quicker to do the work by hand and much more pleasant.

There are more clamps then usual since I continued to have some minor warping from the humidity. I did not glue the back or shelf in place just let them ride free in the grooves.

This is a typical dovetailed box with only the integrated divider to consider so I didn’t plan on extensive practice prior to putting it together. But I did lay out all the clamps and place some brown paper on my bench. I did make some cauls to help glue the ends and then forgot to take a picture of the final glue up.

There are people that make perfectly fitting dovetails every time and I don’t envy their lack of opportunity to adjust the dovetails they make. Typically I will have at least one dovetail that needs some work along with a saw cut that went a little too far and perhaps somewhere the wood chipped. Frequently I can also pick out the dovetail that was cut first. After the glue up we’ll se how I did.

Categories: Cherry Box

Box Making – Installing a shelf

September 1, 2021 Leave a comment

The box design has a shelf approximately 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. The shelf is installed with blind rabbets so all of the work must be done prior to glue up. There are many ways to make rabbits and after some thought I decided to use my router plane and a chisel to provide a stop for the blind end of the rabbet.

The shelf is wider than the boards that I have on hand so I did a quick glue up and planed it down to 1/2 inch. It’s been some time since I used the router plane and it is definitely one of the most useful specialty planes that I own. This one happens to be a Veritas since I had a very difficult time finding a used plane when I first began using hand tools. Needless to say I have been very happy with it. Since the rabbit was in a couple of inches from the edge I cut across the board with my marking knife and then used an edge guide. You can see a corner of the guide at the bottom of the plane in the photograph above.

It only took a few minutes to cut each rabbit and square up the blind end with a chisel.

Categories: Uncategorized

Box Making – Bottom

August 25, 2021 Leave a comment

The sides of the box completed, I begin to look at the bottom design. the previous boxes that I completed had a bottom glued to it, simple and looked great but since this box will actually be turned on its side, it needed something different. Insetting the bottom into a groove will make the best use of space and provide a great look.

There are several ways to inset the bottom, I used my plough plane and set it to make a groove just inside the edge.

A couple of the rabbits ended in a dovetail so I had to use a chisel and router plane for these rabbits.

The actual bottom also was trimmed around the edges to fit but I did not get a photograph. on to the next step.

Categories: Uncategorized

Box Making – Marking up Dovetails

August 18, 2021 1 comment

Looking through the posts on my site it’s been a while since I made a dovetail joint. The last appears to be the Roubo End Cap that I completed in 2019 and even longer ago since I made a box. Needless to say, I am rusty in my layout skills. Taking a few minutes to brush up on the use of dividers and dig out various tools I remembered the article that Mike Pekovich wrote about using blue tape and decided that this would be great time to give it a try.

Planing everthing smooth and square, I dug through the Fine WoodWorking articles until I found one that described the use of Blue tape. There are many articles, dig around and find the one that works for you.

After grabbing the essential layout tools, I marked out the tails on one board and then placed blue tape on the board that will have the matching pins. After cutting out the tails I laid the tails board on top of the board to be marked out for the pins and using a sharp marking knife cut the tape. Then peelsd out the areas that need to be removed. Please read the article. I don’t intend this to be a blog on how to use the blue tape but the effectiveness of the method.

I then followed my method for sawing the doovetails and removing the waste. We have all seen the articles and comments about the blue tape method and indeed it work and extremely well. In fact I only had to adjust one pin which I actually over trimmed. Everything else fit right off the saw! The tape is easy to see and provides just enough edge to provide a guide for the saw. Definately an excellent technique.

Woodworking and Gardening

August 15, 2021 Leave a comment

We all have multiple hobbies and quite often there are subtle links that tell a story of our personalities. Clearly in my case there is a very reasonable link between woodworking and white water kayaking. We all have those two base hobbies. Another likely hobby that we share is gardening. Since moving to Texas a couple of years ago we bounced between aprtments and renal homes until finally moving into a home of our own. While in those other properties I never had the chance to get a garden growing. This year I managed to get some basic vegetables. Unfortunately the tomato plants have struggled and not been overly productive. I attribute this to a lack of nutients and will be proceeding to a local farm to pick up some manure. In the mean time one of the easiest ways to improve soil is to add compost and since we all love woodworking and grass cutting we have some of the basic ingredients. Add some of the boxes and waste paper from our many incoming tools and we have the makings of some fine soil.

I placed a layer of grass clippings, followed by a layer of wood chips, then some scrap paper and a few shovelfulls of dirt. Next a little water and repeat for several layers.

After it is built I will turn it every coupe of days and occasionally add moisture. Hopefully I will turn these two waste products into more productive soil.

Categories: Uncategorized

Box Making – Wood Prep

August 11, 2021 Leave a comment

Local hardware stores provide great service and often have greater service then the big box stores. The 4MM bolt that I needed to fix the planer took me to three stores before it was found. I realize that everyone needs to make a profit and that it is costly to keep inventory that has low turnover but three stores to find two screws?

With he planer fixed and adjusted I proceeded to prepare the pieces for the walls of the box. The piece of lumber that I had was 25% pith so I ran it through the bandsaw and planer to get it down to the 1/2” thickness.

Careful with the order of the boards to maintain some congruity with the grain direction I could envision the dovetails and final look. Next I grabbed boards to glue up for the back and carefully laid them out to keep the grain looking similar.

After many years of woodworking its only in the last couple that I have made more effort to watch the grain and it certainly pays of in the finished project. Next dovetails and rabbits.

Categories: Cherry Box

Case Miter Jig

August 8, 2021 Leave a comment

The Dovetailed Box Project has mitered sides on the case inserts. I thought of several methods to do this but with the visibility of these mitered corners realized that I had to try something different, my sawing skills may not be up to the task. searching through Fine Woodworking magazine I came across an article from May/June of 2017 which built a simple jig to ‘shoot’ these miters with a plane.

I guess that a table saw could be another alternative but I think using a shooting board will provide me with he results that I want without all the noise and dust.

The jig is fairly simple and I managed to use mostly scrpas to make it. All good jigs are made from scraps!

I used my shooting plane but you could easily use a number 5. And after a couple of test runs I had it tuned in and perfectly. mitered corners. This will let me try out inserts in the box that I’m making.

Powermatic 719A Mortiser Assembly

August 4, 2021 Leave a comment

After the dramatic loading and unloading of the mortiser the cleanup and reassembly was fortunately very bland.

Categories: Tools

Powermatic 719A Mortiser

July 28, 2021 Leave a comment

The air, heavy with moisture was like a blanket draped across my shoulders, the breeze bore the distinct scent of rain, a mix of soil, water and electricity, pausing with knees burning on the hot rubber I accepted fate and slowed down. Rushing would only result in an injury or damage to the tool. Stowing the straps and placing smaller parts in a box I sought the bolts that would allow a single person to do what required four and hour ago. There on the base were four 1/2” bolts and at the base of the column four Allen head bolts. Careful that the tool would not roll on my hand I removed the bolts and the 300lb tool became three manageable parts.

Positioning my table saw next to the truck, the two upper pieces slide easily out of the bed and I was able to wheel them into the shop, the base was light enough to be lifted to the floor. Closing the shop door I could feel the breeze increasing but now I was in the clear.

Moving heavy tools is no joke and there is a lot at stake. Frequently as woodworkers we rely on friends and neighbors to help. Today I was lucky, to have help loading and everything at exactly the right height to unload. Make a plan, adjust as needed and stop when its not making sense.

Categories: Tools