Category Archives: Hand Tool Projects

These are projects that I have worked on in the last two years using almost or exclusively hand tools

Something for the home, at last

Most of my past entries seem to involve items I’ve made for my shop or my tools.  And I suppose that when first starting out (or re-starting in my case) it’s natural for a joiner to build the tools, benches, and chests he needs to get established.  But eventually, it’s time to put the tools and knowledge gained to work.

My first project was inspired for a desire to replace the big box glass and who-knows-what-kind-of-wood dining table we own, with something a bit more practical. An added bonus is I can make something more in line with my tastes in furniture.   After a bit of study I landed on a drop leaf harvest table.  In the end, it will be large enough to sit 6, which is about the size of our current family, and the drop leafs will fold down to allow it to be set against a wall, out of the main flow of traffic.

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The example above is one I base my design on.  You can see the practicality of it.  Easily stored out of the way, but versatile enough to expand one side, or both as needed.

The first step was to decide on the legs.  All tables need good legs to stand on, so this is the place to start.  At the time I didn’t have a lathe, so squared legs were the obvious choice.  I decided to use all cherry, a good strong wood, easy to work, and common for this type of furniture in some parts of the country.

I ordered four blanks from ebay.  And here’s where I offer some advice.  If you’re able to find wood locally, where you can actually see what you are getting, do so.  Otherwise, if you must buy online, buy more than you need.  That way you can pick out the best.  I made the mistake of buying just what I needed, and had to settle with what I got.  They weren’t too bad, but I would have liked to have had options.  The next step was to taper each leg on two sides.  Tapering gives the impression of lightness, without giving up much strength.  These taper down from 2 3/4 inches at the top to 1 1/8 at the foot.  I tried initially sawing the taper in by hand, but didn’t like the results.  So, out came the hand planes and in a fairly short time they were down to the proper dimensions.

Once the legs were tapered, I then started working on the aprons to connect the legs.  It was easy work cutting and planing the pieces to size.  I first did the short ends.  Mortises were pre-bored with bit and brace, then pared out with chisels.  Since the apron boards are fairly wide, 5 1/2 inches, I made a double tenon to increase the strength of the joint.

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You can see the mortise for the double tenon above.  The center of the mortise is cut less than half the total depth of the sides.  This keeps the wood on the sides of the mortise from being too thin, risking blow out.  Note the marks left by the auger bit.

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The layout lines for the mortise.  The center, shallow part is easily seen.

After the mortises were done, I cut the tenons on the aprons.  In the above photo you can see the tenon, cut to a 45 degree angle at the ends, in the bottom of the mortise.  The angled cut allows the tenons to meet together at the bottom of the mortise, allowing for a bit more length of the tenon.

After cutting the tenons, and before assembling the legs, I cut two details into each apron.

dscn0478 A bead at the bottom of the face side, to add some interest and remove a sharp edge that can be easily damaged.

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And a groove at the top of the back side of each apron, to take a wood clip to attach the table top.

dscn0476I then assembled the legs to the short apron, using draw pegs for a little extra holding power.  Now you can see the taper on the insides of the legs.

After drying, a repeat of the procedure for the long aprons.

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The clamps really aren’t needed with draw bored pegs, but I used them out of habit.

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The inside showing the groove for attaching the table top.

To finish off the table base, I needed to add a center rail, and notches on the aprons and center rail to support sliding pieces that will eventually support the drop leafs when extended.

The center rail cleats were screwed in place, with a stop dado supporting the center rail.  No glue was used to allow movement.

Once this part was done, I opted to put a finish on it for protection while work proceeded on the top.  I first put a light coat of shellac to seal the grain, then applied a light gel stain to bring out the wonderful grain of this cherry.  A final coat of shellac to seal the stain coat, then three coats of water based polyurethane for protection.  The second shellac coat was needed to make sure the water based poly adhered properly to the oil based stain.

The Top.

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I was fortunate to find a couple of boards with grain that closely matched, and were both wide enough to give me a 25 inch wide main top section.  I ripped, then jointed each by hand to give me a nice, clean glue edge.  Then the ends were trimmed to a length of 72 inches.

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(the small dark spots are filler.  There were two small pitch pockets that opened up during sanding)

The next step was to cut the half of the rule joint on the main top.  The rule joint is a combination cove and thumbnail that fit together when the leaf is raised.  This gives the leaf extra support along it’s length as it sits atop a part of the main top.

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The Rule Joint.  When closed, there is ample support for the leaf edge as it rides on the main top edge.

The first step is to mark out the profile using marking gauge and compass.  Then a rabbet is cut to the depth of the thumbnail (top left).  Next, the edge is chamfered slightly, to start the area that will be rounded over (top right).  Then, the thumbnail is formed using a round plane, brought down gradually to it’s final shape (bottom two).

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When this was completed, I treated the top with the shellac/stain/shellac finish to give it a little protection.  The poly will be added after the top is completed.

Next, the leafs!

Cherry is a beautiful wood to work with.  It’s strong but not hard to work with hand tools.  Most of the wood I have seen is very curly, which although making planing that much harder, gives a beautiful final result.  I managed to find two more boards with a good grain match to the main top that will give me two 7 1/2 inch wide leafs.

The boards were sawn to length and width, planed to thickness, then sanded smooth (normally I would just smooth the boards with my #4 smoothing plane, but due to the extreme curl of the grain, I opted to sand to avoid tear out).

The next step is a mirror image of the rule joint cut on the main top.  This will go on the mating edge of each leaf.

After marking out the profile, rabbet and shoulder planes cut out most of the waste, before the hollow plane cuts the final shape.  This technique saves wear on the hollow plane blade, which is harder to sharpen than a straight rabbet plane blade.

To be continued…

Chisel Me This, Chisel Me That…

Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  It’s not that I haven’t been busy, I have.  I have worked on some “commercial” projects for people that have made a few dollars.  And, I’ve made some new things for myself and mine to make our lives a bit more comfortable.  And, I’ve made things for the shop.  This is a quick note about one of these.

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This project came out of necessity. My regular tool chest was doing all it could to maintain the tools I use regularly for measuring, cutting, and joining. I wanted something separate that would protect my carving chisels that wouldn’t take up a lot of room. I don’t own many chisels (yet), so the size of the box would not be too prohibitive (a good thing as my shop is getting crowded!)

I chose to use cypress for three reasons; 1) I had some on hand, 2) I love the grain patterns, and 3) my experience has shown it will protect my tools from excess moisture for years to come.

I raised the panel for the lid using a skewed rabbet plane, after cutting the shoulders on my table saw (yet another hand tool needed to replace that operation!).

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The panel for the lid is an example of why I love cypress.  The grain is bold, and jumps right out at you.  Different pieces can treat you to colors varying from a mild pink, to a cobalt blue.

I also decided to use mitered dovetails for the first time. My standard dovetails are coming along very well, so this seemed like the next step for me. These would allow me to put in a groove for the bottom that won’t show at the corners.  The only regret I have about my choice of wood, is that cypress can be a bit brittle, leaving some roughness to the dovetails. But all in all it went together well.

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The mortise and tenons were cut with chisel and saw, the grooves in rail and stile with my Hong Kong plough plan.   The lid fit in perfectly.

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I shaped the dividers with my coping saw. At a later date I intend to make a small tray to give me a second level of chisel storage.

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The lid was mounted with some bold, brass hinges and huge dome headed screws.  It’s amazing how hard it is to find the right screws these days.  I had to mail order these!

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A small strip was nailed in place with brass escutcheons.  This acts as a stop to keep the lid from opening too far.

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I finished it with a simple Tung oil finish. I wanted to preserve the grain, while adding a little bit of luster.  Now to add more chisels!

If You Can’t Afford One, Build It

One of the great things about woodworking is that you can build a lot of what you need. I had been looking through catalogs for a while, making lists of what tools I needed in order of importance. One that always seemed to get bumped down the list as time went on was a router plane. To date, I hadn’t had a real need for one. So, it could wait.

Then, one night I was working on a project that required a bunch of dados. I wanted them to be as flat as possible, so just paring them by eye wasn’t good enough. Time and money wouldn’t allow an overnight order of a router plane. So, I was stuck. But then I remembered a video I saw from Paul Sellers. He took an old 1/2 chisel and a piece of 2×4 and turned it into a type of router plane that used to be called an Old Widow’s Tooth. Not a very complimentary name, but something quick and simple I could whip up. Well, simple is not a word I often apply to my work.

I eschewed the 2×4, and instead laminated a couple pieces of mahogany together, then cut and drum sanded the desired shape. The hole was bored with a 1/2 inch auger bit, using a bevel gauge to guide my hand. I chiseled the hole square, so the 1/2 chisel I planned to use would fit flat. Then, a wedge made of maple, also scraps lying around the shop.

The resulting OWT plane is shown below, along with a sample of a dado (in a 2×4, a much better use for it)

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The Mother Of All Tool Totes

Ask any of my family or friends, I don’t do anything half way. The Germans would be proud of many of my projects, which tend to be engineered to last forever. So, when I decided I needed a tote to bring tools to an install site, things got a little out of hand.

I started off with a design incorporating hand cut dovetails and angled ends. This way I could get some practice laying out and cutting angled dovetails (next step, compound angled dovetails). It was to be made of OBS radiata pine boards, 24 inches long and 8 inches wide. As I began to layout the boards for cutting, I re-thought the dimensions. 24 inches, with the angled sides, would give me a box with a 20 inch floor. Not quite enough to hold my jointer plane, which was one of my requirements. So, I decided to add six inches to the overall length. After all, 6 inches wasn’t a significant increase, right?

After cutting the side boards, I transferred and cut the desired angle at the ends. I stepped off the dovetails using dividers, just as with a squared end. The difference was the angle of the tails. I transferred the angle from the ends of the two sides to the bottom half of the tails, and guesstimated the top angle at just over 90 degrees. They looked good, so the outlines were cut, the waste removed with a fret saw, and the excess chiseled out. The pins followed, and were actually pretty easy. Once the tails were cut, the only thing left was to transfer the tail outlines onto the pin boards. After cutting and fitting, they came out like so…
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The floor was easy, I cheated. Rather than glue up pine boards (which I didn’t have enough of), I used some birch ply I had lying around. I simply cut to size, then angle cut the ends. Done. I wanted to put more time into the handle.

I cut the handle to length, with some excess for tenons to fit into the box sides. The combination of dovetailed sides, and the tenons on the handle ends, would insure good weight carrying capacity. Probably more than I could carry.

After drilling and cleaning up the mortises, I rough cut the tenons, making the cheeks with my small rabbet plane. It was trial and error fitting, which worked out pretty well. I elected not to add wedges to the tenons. It just seemed redundant.
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I marked out the contours and piercing for the hand grip, then cut everything out with a coping saw. It worked well, but on 3/4″ material, a coping saw is slow work. A turning saw may end up on my Christmas list.
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After the waste was removed, I used rasp and file to clean up the cuts (add a spokeshave to that list), finishing up with sandpaper.
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Assembly was fun. I used a slow setting wood glue, because I had four sets of dovetails to glue up, and then put everything together…carcase, floor, and handle. Once together two clamps held it all together. It was a snug fit, but came out perfectly square.
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After sanding, a little putty (very few gaps I’m happy to say), I put two coats of paint on the box exterior, followed by two coats of water based poly on the bare wood and the paint. The paint was mixed using existing stocks I had. I didn’t want to spend more money on this project, so I mixed some white into the obnoxious General Finishes Corinth Blue “milk paint” to try and tone it down a bit, along with a dash of analine dye powder.
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Interesting color, I’m tempted to add a Tampa Bay Rays sticker to the side. When done, I had what I affectionately called my Big Ass Tool Tote, or BATT for short. I can not only fit in my jointer plane, but also a full size panel saw, with room to spare. I guess 6 inches can make a big difference.
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An Enlightening Experience

ImageWhen I began to get back into hand tool work, I became somewhat fascinated with Japanese tools and work.  I think it had to do with my search for a Zen experience, if you will.  Or, a more peaceful way of doing things.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the noise and dust of machines is kind of a turnoff for me, which is why I am really enjoying hand work.

Along with my research on Japanese tools and techniques, I also looked at traditional styles.  One of the early things I came across was a book by Edward R. Turner entitled Making Japanese Style Lamps and Lanterns.  It seemed like a good start, so I picked up the book, and found a pattern I liked. The result is to the right.  In wanting to keep somewhat traditional, I even found battery operated “candles” to light it, so as to give it a more authentic look.   I have built a few more since, for other folks, who wanted more light. So, I’ve begun putting sockets for electric light bulbs in them.  They offer more light that way, but kind of lose something that way.  Ah well, the customer gets what the customer wants.

Below are the steps I took during construction.  As usual, I split the work between power and hand tools, using my table saw to rip and planer to thickness the wood.  The joints were cut by hand, with a bit of trial and error, but came out quite well.

Step 1, a frame within a frame.

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The inner frame is made up of 1/2 inch square pieces that are joined at the corners with half lap joints.  A second set of opposing half laps allow the frames to be joined into a box shape, kind of like a box kite.  I cut the 1/2 inch wide by 1/4 inch deep dados for the lap joint across a full 6 inch piece of poplar, 1/2 inch thick.  I then ripped the board into 1/2 inch strips, giving me 1/2 inch squares with the lap joints accurately cut in each piece.  All I had to do then was cut the opposing lap joints that allowed the box to be assembled. Using this method sped up production time quite a bit, as I found out in another lamp where I cut the dados one at a time.  Very time consuming!

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The outer frame consists of four legs, 1 inch by 3/4 inch, with dados cut on two sides to accept the overhanging ends of the inner box. The legs are held together at the top by a “lid”, which is doweled and glued in place.  I originally used 3/8 inch dowels, which I found to be totally excessive.  Later models just had 1/8 inch dowels which work fine.

Step 2, finish first

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Before gluing in the screens of paper, I had to apply the finish on the parts first.  Once the shoji paper is glued in place, you can’t do any finishing work.  The inner poplar frame just got a light coat of polyurethane to seal it.  I wanted that piece to stay light.  The legs and top got a treatment with Behlen’s Solar-Lux red mahogany, then three coats of hand brushed gloss lacquer.  This made the outer frame really pop.  In the lower left of the second photo you can see the “candles” that will illuminate the lamp.

Step 3, a bit of paper hanging

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Traditional shoji paper is readily available from several sites here in the U.S..  Shoji is a heavy weight paper, traditionally made from rice or mulberry fibers.  It is usually used in Japan to cover the latticed doors and windows in their homes, the paper allowing in a pleasing, diffused light.  Modern shoji paper can also be made from synthetic fibers, even from laminates for outdoor use.  I chose a more traditional mulberry paper.  To apply it, I simply cut the pieces to the proper dimensions.  The proper glue to apply the paper is a rice paste, which can be easily removed if pieces need to be replaced.  I used a modern pvc white glue, with high tack called Tacky Glue.  One other deviation I did was to forgo wetting the paper after it is glued in place.  This step, spraying a light film of water on the paper and allowing it to dry, causes the paper to shrink and eliminates any wrinkles or sags.  Since the pieces I was working with were so small, I was able to stretch them tightly, eliminating the need for water.

A bit of improvisation

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I came up with the idea of adding a design onto one of the panels, something inked in that would stand out when the lamp is lit.  I decided to use the kanji symbol for love.  Now, Japanese is a very diverse language, with many symbols that mean the same thing.  I perused several translation sites, and think I have the right symbol.  I would hate to have a lamp that says soup.  To put the symbol on, with as little waste as possible, I elected to print it on with an ink jet printer.  This would forgo the need to learn brush lettering, and allow me to put just about anything on future lamps that you could imagine.  I taped a piece of shoji paper onto a heavy card stock backer, then ran it through the printer.  It worked perfectly!  The photo showing the mounting technique is from another set of lamps I did for a friend.  The symbols are supposed to mean Light and Godzilla.  What they really mean, who knows?

ImageThis was a quick and interesting project, which took my researches into forms of the far east.  Although I plan on doing more of this style of furnishing, I will always love the work of the Shakers.  Perhaps I can come up with something that combines both.  Hmmm.  But, the one thing I did get out of this project is that I am pretty much a western tool user.  I tried my Japanese saws, and found them somewhat lacking in what I wanted.  I actually blew out several teeth in the Dozuki trying to cut some oak.  Definitely not made for American woods.  So, my tool chest has since been stocked with Western tools.  But, even these can be used to make items with an Eastern flair.

 

 

I’m adding photos of two new lamps I made for a friend’s boyfriend.  They use the two printed screens I posted above (Light and Godzilla), and are finished to his specifications.  I’m making two more for him, one more table lamp like these two, and a floor model that has three frame trays in the legs for paper storage.  He plans to use it as an in/out box at work.

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These new ones have standard light sockets in them, rather than the candles.

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Here is one of the last ones,  the grand daddy floor model.

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The big challenge on this one was the legs.  Not that there is anything really difficult about them.  But for some reason (probably tripping from eating an over-ripe apple) I decided to make my own thick stock instead of just buying some 5/4 from a local supplier.

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I had purchased two of these 8/4 x 8 cypress boards from a local mill.  I love cypress, and the grain in these two just called out to me.  So, not knowing what I would use them for, I bought them.  Green.  Yep, no kiln dried stuff for me.  Now, I’ve dealt with green cypress before…4/4 boards that dried quite nicely in my air conditioned shop.  But these monsters were different, as I was to discover.

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Step one, rip to size.  They were too heavy for my munchkin table saw, so I whipped out my 26 inch rip and, well, let ‘er rip.  It was my first time with stock this thick, and it left me breathless…really.  I almost needed oxygen.  Gotta do this more often.

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Step two, plane them square and flat.  Because of their length, I used a chalk line to get a rough edge, then planed to it.  Four sides square and flat times four boards.  I was really getting a work out.  I then sticked them out and let them dry a couple more weeks.

Step three, re-plane the boards which have begun to resemble snakes during the drying process.  Re-stick them again.

Step four, re-plane again the still moving boards.  At this point the floor was covered in shavings, and the boards were in danger of getting too small to use.

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This time the legs had dried enough to keep their shape, and I was left with about one third the amount of wood I started with.  This would definitely be my last experience with this type of lumberjack work.

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Once the legs were shaped and notched, the lamp box and shelves were a piece of cake (comparatively).  Lots of dados, ripping, and assembly.  I got pretty good at hand tool assembly line work.

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It was about two and a half months in the making.  But the reward was the customer liked it. Done!

 

Updating my first bench

DSCN0001Back in the 1980’s, I built my first workbench.  It was short due to the lack of work space, but thick and heavy to take the work.  I made it from laminated Southern yellow pine, a dense, soft wood that is easily available, and inexpensive.  The top was made from ripped 2×8 boards, glued face to face.  The legs were glued up from 3 of these home made 2x4s.  My early attempts at mortise and tenon work to join the legs was crude, and the bench lost some stability due to that.  But, it did what I needed, and I used it for almost 30 years.

Recently, I’ve wanted a new bench for two reasons.  One, I wanted a longer work surface.  The original was 4 feet by 2 and a half.  I wanted to lengthen it to 6 feet.  The added length would allow me to add a tail vise, something that until my experience at the Woodwright’s School, I never thought I needed.  But the tail vise adds versatility to the bench, especially when planing a board face.

I needed to keepP_20140223_094814 it inexpensive, and I’ve had great luck with the yellow pine, so that was my material of choice.  I used 2x8s again, this time planing to rip them to two andP_20140223_115620 a half inches thick, a full inch and a half thinner than the shorter top.  This would allow me to cut the planks so as to avoid the heart grain as much as possible.  I started with a small stack of 8 footers, cutting them to length and then ripping them on my bench saw.

After letting the cut lumber settle in the shop for a week or so, the next step was to laminate up the top.   I chose to use a design from the Spon’s book, with a top about 20 inches wide and a tool shelf along the back.   I started by gluing two boards together, then glued the six pairs together.  This gave me a nice, strong, heavy top.

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The glued up top had to be clamped to the smaller bench, then planed flat on both sides.  I also planed the edges to make sure they were parallel.  It looks like a massive job, but there wasn’t much wood to remove, so I had it done after a few hours work.

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When it was ready, I attached it to the original legs using cleats on the bottom, just like Spon’s illustrations.  I then attached the face and tail vise, using some 1/2 inch stock to space them to the proper height.

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The vise I chose for a tail vise is pretty light duty.  But, I was limited by the amount of room between the edge and the leg.  So I had to use a small vise.  I’ve used it to hold some boards for planing, and it works pretty well.

The last steps were boring holes for dogs and holdfasts, then adding a board along it’s side for the tool tray, and another the same height as the bench along the back edge of the tray.  This gives me something to rest work on when working with larger pieces.

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I’ve been using the bench for a couple months now, and so far it’s doing well.  I need to level it a bit more on the far left side, but it hasn’t interfered with anything I’ve been working on so far.  It’s a nice, heavy top.  I can do some pretty heavy planing on it with little movement.  The next step will be to replace the legs so I can make the mortise and tenons tighter to eliminate any movement.

 

The Anarchist’s Bug Out Box

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Living here in sunny FLA, we don’t have to worry about ice and snow. But, we do get the occasional tornado. And hurricanes are not unheard of. So, as my hand tool collection has grown over the years, it suddenly occurred to me that if I had to flee from impending natural disaster, it would take me a good hour to gather up my precious hand tools.

Now, not to downplay the importance of my power tools, but they are easier to replace than some of my vintage hand tools. So, after watching Chris Schwarz’s videos many times, and reading all the articles, and perusing the various chests made by fellow Lumber Jocks, I came up with a box that should not only hold my current and future tools collection, but it should be portable enough.

I chose a traditional English design, aka Anarchist’s Chest, rather than the Dutch box. Though the choice was certainly tough (all those dovetails!). The size precluded using a single width of surfaced lumber from Home Depot. Eleven and a half wide wasn’t enough. And, since we have a cypress saw mill locally, I decided to try our locally grown lumber. I purchased a stack of rough cut 4/4 by ten boards at the incredibly low price of $7 for a ten footer! Looking back, I should have added the 30% for select boards to eliminate many of the knots which vexed me a bit. But, the wood was stacked in my man cave in the air conditioning to sit and dry for a few weeks as they had been out in the yard without covering.

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After three weeks, the boards were down to about 13% moisture content, which seemed satisfactory. I hand planed one side of a board flat, then jointed one edge. I finished it up in the surface planer and table saw. What I got was a very clean, smooth, board with not a bad grain pattern. So, in the following weeks I finished milling up the remaining boards. I chose the best boards for the chest sides, gluing up the front, back, and side panels. The rest ended up going to other projects.

Then, the fun began. I started cutting the first of 40 tails and pins for the joints.

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Working a bit at a time over several weeks, I finally sawed and chopped out the dovetails. Most are a bit rough, gradually improving as I went along. Next was the dry assembly, to test the fit.

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Everything fit well, so it was time for glue up. Lots of clamps and it went together smoothly, coming out nice and square. And, the cats loved it

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Next, the bottom. I chose some clear 6” pine, and using my recently aquired tongue and groove planes, T&G’d the bottom boards for a nice fit to allow expansion. After trimming, I nailed them in place with 4d cut nails from Tremont Nail Company. They should hold tight, without the need for glue.

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Next came the molding strips along the top and the skirt. The skirt will add strength and raise the box off the floor. The top strip will add strength and along with the lid will keep dust out. The pieces are dovetailed reverse from the box carcase, changing the direction of the strength of the joint. I glued and nailed the trim on with cut nails, then planed a chamfer in the skirt.

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The last part of the exterior was the lid.  I opted for a simple frame and panel held together with mortise and tenon.  I added a slight chamfer to the rail and stile of the frame, and a corresponding chamfer around the panel.  The panel was rabbeted all around with my latest addition, a skew rabbet plane.  Assembly was quick and easy.

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I added dust strips mitered around the front and sides of the lid.

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Period style hinges were hard to find, so I picked up a set of nickeled Stanley hinges from Woodcraft.  I buffed them with steel wool, then treated them with Casey’s Permablue gun bluing.  A little oil and they look like wrought iron.  The brass chain was a bad idea, it kept jamming up on the box edge.

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So, I put together a block in the back to catch the lid and keep it open at about 105 degrees (the photo was taken before final fitting).

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Next, the interior.  I started with the chisel rack, as it would take up the entire length of the box.  I needed a piece of 1/4″ thick, 8 inch wide, by 30 inch long pine for the face of the rack and the back of the saw till.  So, I resawed a piece of 3/4 by hand.  It took about 25 minutes, but came out pretty nice after finishing on the thickness planer.

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After the chisel rack was glued in place, I nailed the saw till in.  It is designed to fit two full length panel saws and two back saws.

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The rest of the tool spaces were added a piece at a time.  Each piece is pressure fit in, with dados to hold the ends together.  This way I can pull them out and re-design them as needed.  I have to admit, there was very little pre-planning or sketch ups with this project.  I don’t always use them, I find I work best when I build on the fly.  It does lead to problems from time to time though.

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The tool tills.  More dovetails, these in 1/4 inch stock (this time I was able to resaw on the table saw).  This was the only goof in the project.  I forgot that dovetail jointed boxes are as wide/long as the pin boards.  So, I added a half inch to the till width to compensate for a perceived loss of material due to the dovetails.  This resulted in the tills being about 1/2 inch too wide.  Not a disaster by any means, but it makes it a bit of a wiggle getting the #7 out.

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Two coats of Sea Green milk paint (the kind you have to mix up), and two of water based poly.

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Before the poly, a hand painted logo.  It represents my Chinese zodiac sign, the rat on the beam.

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The box is heavy with all the tools stocked in it, but in a pinch I could move it myself.  I keep it on a home made dolly so it can be moved around the shop with ease.  I feel ready to leave at a moments notice, bringing my hand tools along with my other precious cargo, my wife and my cats.