Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mahogany jewelry box - Part 5

So I didn't get a lot done this week, sadly. But I will tell you about what I have completed.

All the drawers are cut and very roughly fitted. I still need to cut bottoms and glue up, so I just did enough to get them in.

The vertical "drawers" are not on runners and just fit with a little bit of gap or clearance. I am hoping for not too much wood movement.

Still a little snug, but I'll work on it after the glue up.

So now I take all the drawers apart again and route the groove for the bottoms. I used a 3/16 spiral bit at the router table, with stop cuts where applicable.

The bottoms are 5/32 ply. And they are a little loose in all directions. That's ok, because I am going to line the drawers with fabric and that will take up the slop.

Movin right along.

So....drawer linings. Never done it. I am a bit nervous. I enlisted the help of my bride for this part as she has more experience cutting and working with fabric. The fabric we chose is a double layer blue "faux suede" with sparkles. Gotta have the sparkles, you know. The pictures don't pick it up, but they are there. She is cutting it a little oversized.

We cut the corners off at a rough 45 degree to help us wrap the edges.

I sprayed some adhesive on the plywood bottom and let it dry for about 20 seconds or so, then carefully centered it over the cloth and brought it straight down on top. After applying some pressure to complete the adhesion, I then sprayed a little along the edges to wrap around.

With the help of some wax paper, mainly to keep my fingers goo free and from getting goo all over the place, I carefully wrap the cloth around and press firmly to complete the adhesion.

Then assemble to test the fit. Fits nicely.

The vertical drawer bottoms are more in the middle of the drawer and not on the bottom. The plan is to mount some hooks and things on both sides to hang necklaces and earrings. It'll make more sense soon!

And that's all I got done this week. I am afraid I won't get it done in time for next weekend, but I think she'll be ok with it being a little late. She is a good kid and will hopefully understand. It was just too nice a day to be in the shop all day. My wife and I took a long walk and then we put together our new smoker that we got for Christmas. This will be a great use of all my wood scraps this season. I seasoned it tonight with some cherry scraps and I think I'll smoke a pork tenderloin tomorrow night, my mouth is watering already!

Never-mind my horrible yard, I have 3 dogs and they have destroyed it this winter/spring. :(

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mahogany jewelry box - Part 4

Hello again, folks.  I have been on vacation from work this week and spent some time up in northwestern Pennsylvania visiting my in-laws for the first half of the week.  It was a good visit, but I was itching to get home and get back to work on this project.  So for the second half of the week, I have been hard at it and made some progress.

It began with a bit of a conundrum.  I needed to start work on the drawers, but the vertical dimensions were not certain, because I had yet to glue in the drawer supports.  I am kinda fickle about my spacing and I really wanted the supports to be secure before I determined the final spacing.  I didn't want to glue in the supports until I had a chance to finish the interior prior to assembly.  And I couldn't finish the interior until I had figured out where the drawer runners were to be installed.  And I couldn't figure out where the drawer runners were going to be until I knew the final vertical dimensions of the drawers.  Maybe I made a mountain out of a molehill, but that's just how my OCD works, OK?!?!?

The only way around it was just to start cutting the drawer sides to approximate dimensions and fine tune later.

So here we go...

I milled up the soft maple stock for the drawer sides to 3/8" thickness.  Then I ripped them to width, the top 4 drawers are to be 2" tall and the bottom 2 drawers were to be around 3 1/2" tall, the final actual dimension to be determined.

I rough cut them to length using my combo bench hook/shooting board and cross cut carcass saw.

Cutting them  to length, but leaving a little long to square up the ends and trim to perfect length.  Sorry about my thumb or finger or whatever that blob is in the corner....a photographer, I am not.

Here I am shooting the ends square and cutting to final length.

So this was the idea, clamp up the dry assembly as if glued and lay out the drawers with washers as spacers to get the spacing I wanted.  Turns out I was very close with my original dimensions, I chose to trim the drawer second up from the bottom to get the perfect fit.  This leaves the biggest drawer on the very bottom.

Here is where I got in a zone and forgot to take pictures for awhile.  So, basically, I went ahead and routed dados in the outsides of all the drawer pieces and also cut the drawer slides.  Then I marked out and installed the drawer slides on the supports.  With that done, I did a quick pre-finish of the interior, and then glued in the supports.

For the interior, I didn't want to do anything fancy, as it will hardly ever be seen, but I did want to add a little protection.  So I decided to just use a oil/beeswax/carnuba wax blend for the interior finish.  Nothing else, just oil/wax.  It looks nice for the few times anyone would look inside and it is nice and slippery for the drawers.  I taped off the dados and the front edges of the box to keep wax from getting on it and creating problems with glue or the finishing later on.

Finally, gluing in the supports.

So now that I have my dimensions for my drawer sides and with the supports glued in, I can figure out the final width of the drawer fronts and backs.  So it is time to mill up more lumber.  I pick the section of the board that has the best grain pattern for the drawer fronts and mark out the rough lengths.  I cut this section out, jointed, planed....blah blah blah....to a final 1/2" thickness for the drawer fronts.

Tadaaaa....presto.  Drawer parts.

Now to figure out the final width and spacing using the same washers as before.  I cut them to rough length then went back to my shooting board to get them square and a perfect fit.

With all of the parts cut to size and square, it is time to cut some damn dovetails.

I usually like to do pins first for small parts, but for some reason I keep gravitating to tails first these days.  Maybe I am just getting lazier in my old age?  This seems easier to me, I guess.

Half Blind, baby!  Yea!  Woo hoo!  (sorry, I get a little excited sometimes)

I could really use a fishtail chisel right about now!

And there we have it!  One drawer down, 7 more to go!

Well, at the time of writing this, I have 5 drawers total cut and fit and the 6th is close.  I wish I was further along, but I am happy with the progress I have made thus far.  I was dreading telling my niece that her birthday present was not going to be ready in time.  But then I had a conversation with my Mother and she reminded me that they will be out of town that weekend anyway for spring break!  Woohoo!  Extra week, baby!  I hope I can get it done!

On another note, my hat is off to all the podcasters and bloggers that do this all the time. This is really kinda hard work.  I keep having to remind myself at each step of the way to stop and take pictures and think about how I want to describe my design and thought process.  Kudos to you guys!

One more thing, in Part 3 I talked a bit the feet as an "experiment."  I think that experiment is over.  I have been playing with the shape of the feet and I just can't shake the thought that they look like a duck's feet.  So, I will do something else if I have time.  I have some ideas, but it will just depend if I can hit my deadline.

As always, thanks for looking and coming along for the ride!  This has been a fun project so far!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mahogany jewelry box - Part 3

With the case assembled and glued it's time to cut dados for the center drawer supports. I could have cut them with my router before I glued, but what fun is that?! Yes I need to get out more often. It's easy enough with hand tools. I lay it out and knife in the cut lines. With a crosscut saw, I saw the shoulders of the dado.

Plan was to rough out the waste with a chisel, and finish up with my router plane. But the dang thing was too big and I couldn't fit it inside without hitting the case, and I don't have a mini plane. So I just used the chisel for the whole operation. It worked fine, I just had to stop and measure quite often.

Moving right along.

Now that all 4 are done, I am going to level the joints on the dovetails and smooth the sides a bit.

Love this smoother, but this mahogany is a bear! I have heard about mahogany's difficult grain, but this the first time for me.

All this work with hand tools, I guess I better use a power tool to uphold my hybrid status. I need to cut a rebate around the back for the back panel. The router table makes it fast and easy.

Square the corners up with a chisel.

Now I work on the supports. Again, just like the case sides, I need to flatten one side by hand.

Finish up at the planer.

To determine the length of the supports, I decided it would be easier to cut a scrap to get a perfect fit. I started with the rough length and trimmed with a shooting board until the length was perfect.

Like this.

Then I use the scrap to set up a stop block on my crosscut sled.

Supports cut to length.

I am a fan of not cutting full width dados. I like making them narrower to help hide mistakes where the inside faces meet. So my dados are 1/2" wide and my stock is 3/4" thick. So I need to take off 1/8" from each side to form a tongue or a tenon to fit in the dado. I set my marking gauge and score my line, making sure to go as deep as I can.

I don't have a shoulder plane, so I thought I would try my router plane to remove the waste. I worked we'll enough.

Like a glove.

You may have noticed but I didn't mention that the dados are stopped dados. As such, I need to trim a bit off of the front of the tenons so that the front edge of the supports are flush with the front of the case. I set the depth with my combo square and transfer the mark to the supports.

Trim them up.

Now they sit flush with the face.

I got quite a bit done this weekend, and I am quite pleased. I sat the carcass up on the feet to see how they look. Again, I will have to refine the shape a bit, but I think they will be ok. My wife says they look good, so I'll keep playing with them.

Unfortunately I have to go change the oil in my vehicles, all 3 of them :( So that's it for now. I hope to start working on drawers and drawer slides this week.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mahogany jewelry box - Part 2

Time for some dovetails, hand cut please! Pins or tails first? Actually I go both ways.....errr, I mean um...I choose depending on the project. If it is a small project like my coin banks, I go pins first. The pieces are small to handle and it is easier to just hold them in place to mark the tails. Bigger projects, I do tails first because my Moxon vise is very handy to help with layout...more on that in a bit.

So first, mark the baseline.

I mark the tails off with dividers

Gang em to make layout faster.

But I am too chicken to gang saw the tails, so I just do one at a time.

Cut out the waste with my crappy coping saw. One of these days I am upgrading to the knew concepts saw. Oh yes, it WILL be mine.

Clean it up with a sharp chisel. On a side note, I am happy with my sharpening these days. I feel I improve daily. I also need a new honing guide as I broke mine tonight :( I did get a little unexpected practice with freehand though :)

Ok, so laying out the pins. The Moxon is fantastic for this! With the pin board clamped in front and the tail board clamped down, knifing out the pins is so easy.

Cutting the pins now.

Cleaned up with a chisel and first corner test fitted. Not bad, my dovetails are improving.

All four corners fitted, time to glue.

All glued up and ya, I peened them. Don't judge me! This a nice trick to close up any little gaps.

Leveling the joints on the front and back. Using my smoother here that I made in Scott Meek's class in January. Normally I might use a jack or jointer, but the blade was sharp in this one. Also, I figure that because I left the length longer than a typical smoother, it might work well for this. I was right, I worked REALLY well. I am coming to really love this plane. It is a worker!

So the case is done. Next time we will work on the dados and the supports for the center drawer stack. I have been thinking about what kind of feet I want to put on this thing. Then I remembered that I had a piece of walnut cove molding left over from a bookcase project I made for my wife. I decided to try and make some decorative feet out of that. I cut 45 degree corners and cut them to length.

I think they may work if I shape them a bit and take the clunkiness out of them. We'll call this an experiment for now, I am undecided whether I will use them. For now I glued them up with hide glue rub joints and I will play with the shapes when they dry.