Tuesday, August 28

Tuesday – Making the Lower Box

This morning I planed out a plank of the red oak I had brought in to acclimate. I have three projects lined up that will all use red oak, so I brought in enough to do Dan’s Treasure Chest, Gilda’s breakfast tray table and get a good start on Marie’s dining room suit. I’ve dealt with Marie before and know her to be a patient sort, so I’ll get these two little projects out before launching into the table and chairs. That project may take a couple of months all by itself.

Because all of the lower box parts will have a 12° bevel on their upper and lower edges, I set up the table saw to rip at this angle and trim the plank to width with it’s bevels… making sure the bevels run the right direction on both edges!

Because the side pieces angle in at the bottom as well, the ends of the front and back pieces have to be cut to a matching angle. I could use my miter gauge on the table saw – and normally would do so, but that would mean messing up the angle on the blade. So I’ll use the chop saw instead. A decent chop saw has an angle gauge that allows you to dial in the exact angle and lock it down for precise, repeated cuts.

When all the parts are cut I test fit them using masking tape to hold them together while I check the angles and be sure the box comes out square.

Next we need a bottom, but this piece needs to be glued up from narrower pieces so it won’t warp. Since we do not yet have a jointer (until recently we did not have room for this piece of equipment, at least not a good one) and because I’ve always gotten good results from using my table saw and a glue-line blade as a jointer, I will again use the table saw. Oh, but wait… the table saw is set up for 12° cuts. What to do, what to do? Well, why not use 12° glue joints? That way we do not have to disturb that setting as we will need it again. As long as they are all precisely the same angle it doesn’t matter much what that angle is. A very shallow angle would make the boards try to slip up over one another, and even here I use clamps to prevent this, but at this angle it’s not much of a problem. Even if it were to end up a little out of alignment, I’m gluing this part of from rough sawn lumber which will be planed to finished thickness when the glue tacks up sufficiently, so any misalignment will be pared away by the planer anyway.

While the glue sets up lets give credit where credit is due. The design for this chest came from http://www.bayoustyle.com. I gather that Dan saw it there a while back, liked it, but hesitated on buying it. When he went back to get one, it was no longer being offered. He did get a set of photos and the source for the rusty pirate hardware, so we can replicate it for him.

One difference is that the original was made of cypress, which is fairly soft and prone to dents and dings. Dan agreed that building it of oak would make it more durable. Otherwise we will follow the original design as closely as I can.

OK, that glue ought to be tacked up now. Yes, I know, I’m kind of a slow typist.

I surface planed the blank to smooth it and bring it down to the required thickness, then used the table saw to cut the bevels on the edges. By running it through upside down against the rip fence I cut the front and back bevels, and by using the miter gauge with the blank right side up I cut the end bevels. This was a slow process as I wanted to sneak up on a perfect fit, so the final few passes were taking just 1/64 of an inch off at a time.

One last test fit to see that everything is copasetic then it’s off to the glue-up table to make it permanent. Clamping all these angled sides is something of a pain; the clamps keep wanting to slide off the angled sides. But persistence prevailed. This will need to sit overnight before I bother it again.

So, it’s time to clean up the shop and head home. My sweetie and I have a date tonight and it would be good if I cleaned up a bit first!


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