Wednesday, August 29

Wednesday – Making the Lid

Today we will make the lid of Dan’s pirate chest. To start with I take the full size drawing I made, and trace off a paper pattern for half of the curve along the top. Then I cut the paper pattern out and use that to lay-out the full size piece on a piece of thin plywood. Then I go out to the band saw and cut out the curvy part. I cut it oversize then use a spindle sander to bring the shape back down to the line – much more precise that way. Finally I check the template I just made by setting it on top of the bottom box we built yesterday to make sure the edges line up and the angles look right. It’s good.

Now, I use the template to lay out the two lid end pieces on a piece of lumber. I found a board with a knot in it. Can’t use the knot, but because the grain in the board tends to swirl up and around these knots, I thought it would be a good choice for these parts; see how the grain will follow the arch in the part? Wood is such fun stuff to work with.

OK, so it’s back out to the band saw, rough out the arch on both end pieces and come back inside. One of these days I’ll shanghais enough muscle to help me move that monster inside the new shop, it’s too heavy for just the two of us.

I use the chop saw to cut the straight angles that will match the shape of the lower box, then use the spindle sander to shape the arches.

There are two ways to make a curvy top like this; one is to use a piece of flexible plywood nailed down to the end pieces, the other is to use slats. OK, there is a third way, but it's so time consuming it's not worth considering on this project. The original design used slats, and I’m glad of it because I prefer this method too. But even though they are narrow pieces, if the edges are left square, they will still have gaps where they go around an outside bend. How do we get rid of those? We could try cutting beveled edges, but that would take an awful lot of trial and error to get all the different angles right, and that would mean some slats will end up quite a bit narrower than others because of having to trim more off to get the angles right. There is a better way. Taking a lesson from roll top desks, I routed a bullnose (or rounded edge) on one side of each slat and a cove (or concave edge) on the other, that way the two fit into each other and allow the slats to “bend” around the curves without opening up any spaces. The slats will even “lock” together during glue-up to make a stronger cover.

But we don’t want to just nail the slats to the top – that would look sloppy. So I set up my Rabbet Master bit to cut a rabbet the depth of the slat thickness and three-quarters across the width of the crowns and route a pocket for the slats to sit in.

Next I cut the little rails that will be the front and back of the lid, test fit them on top of the lower box then glue and clamp them together. While the glue is setting up, I make those slats we dreamed up.

Once everything is ready, I trim the slats to precise length and test fit them into the lid. But first, I lay them out and look at the colors and grain patterns in each of the slats, and rearrange them to produce a pleasing look. Then I tape my starter strip in place and begin transferring the set of strips onto the lid. And it works out just perfectly.

Now, I have one reservation here. The pictures of the original chest show that the builder glued edge banding tape over the end grain of the end pieces and up over the lid – presumably this was to hide the joinery of this curvy top. Perhaps they didn’t take the care to get a precise fit; cut them a bit shorter and they’ll go in quicker and with less fussing, then just cover it up with edging tape. But *I* don’t care for the edge banding, and the joinery here is nothing to be ashamed of. So I’m going to check with Dan to see if he wouldn’t care to dispense with the banding – at least on the top. If I’d had my druthers, I’d have opted for mitered corners too – then there would be no end gain to hide. Might have been tricky to cut though.

But it will be Dan’s dresser that this ends up sitting on so whatever he chooses to go with I will do. Here are some shots of the semi-completed chest, remember though that the slats are just sitting there, they have not been glued down yet. I’ll work on that this evening after supper.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Appropriate comments are welcome. All comments are reviewed before being posted. Spam messages (anything not a direct discussion of this message) and all profanity will be deleted. Don't waste your time or mine by posting trash here.