Saturday, July 6, 2013

1 week to go until the FORP (French Oak Roubo Project)

One week from tonight I will begin my trek down to Georgia.  It seems like so long ago that I first read about this opportunity.  At first, it was only a dream.  With all that I had planned for my life this year, I couldn't imagine squeezing something like this in, time-wise or budget-wise.  Yet here I am.  Feverishly preparing to make the journey and participate in, hopefully, one of the most exciting projects of my life.  Words fail me here.  Only a few times in my 38 years have I felt like this.  I can't wait!

Anyway, enough gushing on about that.  Today I "finished" my tool chest with a week to spare.  I am using quotes, because I may still have a few things to do with the chest, but they can be done later this year or whenever.  The tool chest is 100% functional.  The wood I used is pretty, but that is as far as the glamour goes with this project.  I didn't want a perfect beautiful chest that I would be too scared to use.  I didn't take my time.  I went through this as fast as I could.  Most of the joinery is glued almost directly off the saw.  I may have spent a minute cleaning fuzz out of corners, but for the most part, I cut and dry fitted every piece, then glued it up.  No muss, no fuss.  Are there some mistakes?  Yep.  Are my dovetails perfect and tight?  Not all, but I surprised myself on how good they really did come out for the most part without any fuss.  Again, I wanted it functional, not pretty.  I may change a few things or add some details later, but my goal has been reached and I am happy with my success.

Again this is not an original design, but a heavily modified version of Chris Schwarz's ATC.  I think it looks like an ATC but is closer to the dimensions of his Dutch chest.  But for me, it is the perfect size. Big enough for all my current tools with a little room for future tools, but compact enough I can manage it up my stairs (barely).  I am proud to say this is my new tool chest.

I only have the base coat of Charles Brock's Masterpiece finishing system on it so far.  I will try to work through all the steps of the system before I leave, but I am not worried about it if I don't.  The handles are "carved" from a single piece of Walnut.  They are glued and screwed to the case.

I like the lid.  I was surprised by the figure in this board.  I am glad I held it back to use for the lid!  I may put some trim around the edge of the lid at a later time, but then again I may not.  I like the clean look...we'll see.  I may also put a lock on the lid at some point, but again maybe not.  I can live without for now.

I had room under the lid to install the pencil holder made by Ty Black.  One of these days I will remove and dye the leather lid supports black.

I used hard maple for the tray bottoms and parts they slide on for better wear.  I made my saw till portable as well.  I cut a short piece of leather for a handle to reach down and pull the till out.  It works very well.

Hand planes and assorted tools on the other side, along with the chisel rack  It's hard to see, but I screwed a piece of leather to the case to act as a sheath for the chisels.  This protects the blade edges from banging into the planes and it also protects my hands when I reach in to pull out the planes.  It only took me one time to stab my hand before I put that in there....haha.

Also, I made a little catch that swivels down between the trays when they are at their opposite sides.  This keeps the trays from sliding back and forth when traveling, and more importantly, when I am carrying the chest.  This thing is heavy and awkward enough without having shifting weight inside.  It is a very nice feature and I am very happy I did it.

Tomorrow I am going to build some timber framing style saw horses to take with me.  This will give me some sturdy horses to use and also allow me to practice the double tenon joint we will be using on the Roubo benches.  I'll show them when they are done.  That will probably be my last post before I leave.  I am hoping to post at least once a day when I am there...but no promises!
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