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Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Dutch Tool Chest Completed

Completed, but with an asterisk.  The hinges for the top are still on back order.  A till for two joinery saws will be installed on the lid after the hinges are installed.  I also plan to mimic Chris Schwarz's block plane holster found in his published Dutch tool chest.

Empty Carcase
This post is meant to be a 'How I Did It' commentary.  As usual, I don't profess to be an authority on woodworking in general, and Dutch tool chests in particular.  To the left is the completed carcase built to the large chest plan found in Popular Woodworking, October 2013.

I did the glue up of the carcase alone.  I used run of the mill Titebond wood glue to join the dovetails at the bottom of the chest.  I had some difficulty getting the shelves into their dadoes and the glue was pretty well set up by the time the clamps were on.  The carcase was out of square so I forced it square and nailed a cross brace across the back.  The shelves are only nailed in from the outside with no glue.

The carcase settled in slightly out of square (about a quarter inch) when the clamps and cross brace came off.  I did what I could to force it back to square when I screwed on the front plate.  The back consists of inexpensive home center carsiding because it is already tongued and grooved.  I screwed and nailed on the carsiding level with the bottom of the chest.  I left the sides protruding beyond the chest on both sides to account for being out of square.  I then planed the end grain level with the chest side.  I never planed nearly three feet of end grain before and found that it was not as easy as I'd hoped, but not as hard as I'd feared.
Full Chest
Above is the full chest.  The top is organized, but I just threw a bunch of stuff into the bottom to clear some space on the table.  The personalization of this project is all on the inside, and then mostly in the top.  Here is the top full of tools:

Organized Top Of Chest
A previous post stated that there would be two rows of tools in the tool rack.  However, the plan changed when I finally started playing jigsaw puzzle with the planes.  The space was designed from the bottom up.  And I still ended up with a second tool rack.  There are 12 tools in the rack at the top right of the photo; here is a close up:
Secondary Tool Rack
However, I'm getting ahead of myself.  The space was designed from the bottom.  Painstaking tolerances were achieved for the planes by using circular calibration disks, washers for short.

Bare Bottom
Almost Done
The strips of wood are all from the scrap pile.  The left and right have a rounded over strip that the planes rest on to keep the blade off the bottom of the chest.  David Charlesworth is always placing his planes similarly in his videos, thus I'm simply emulating a Master.  

I often hear the reasoning for a plane kickstand is to keep the blade from getting dull; I believe the real reason is to isolate the cutting edge from a moisture retaining material (wood) to prevent rust.   

Getting back on track.  The wood strips are held down simply with glue.  I used screws and weight to hold them down while the glue was setting.  In the photo above the screws are coming out after the glue is set.  The screws came out to minimize metal to metal contact.  I ascribe to the philosophy that tools should always touch material softer than they are as much as possible; also, I hate sharpening.

Here is a close up photo that was just too cool not to post:

Close Up Of Tool Separators
The tool organization is designed to merely prevent contact with surrounding tools during ingress and egress (put'em n take'em).  This Dutch tool chest will not be traveling further than the basement shop and is not designed to protect during transport.

Here is a picture of my Lee Valley brass mallets in action:

Mallet Clamp (TM, Copyright, R, by me)

Gravity At Work
 The photo with block plane is a till for my dovetail saw.  It was fairly simple to make.  The kerf was started in a miter box and then finished with the saw itself:
Miter Box To Start Till Kerf

Saw To Finish Saw Kerf

I made two custom brackets for the tool rack.  The first holds a small square, the second a marking knife.  They both started from a block of wood (doesn't all our stuff?) before joining the tool chest.
Raw Knife Holder

I like this shot of the mounted knife holder.  I have a crappy camera, and worse skill when it comes to photography, so my standards are pretty low.

I will be building a second chest and a saw buck to complete my basement shop storage.  My idea of a saw buck comes from Ron Herman of Antiquity Builders.  It is a wood box that holds a complete set of handsaws.  Unfortunately, I neither have, nor wrote down what Ron deems a complete set of hand saws.  My box will be a simple rectangle about 28-30 inches tall, 10 or 11 inches wide and 7-8 inches deep with enough slots to hold 7 or so saws.  Apologies in advance for half-assing Ron's design.

Here are a couple more pictures that I took of the chest.

Tool Rack Looking Left

Tool Rack Looking Right
Look at the individual tool holders on the sloped left and right panel in the above two pictures.  I thought about custom making the sloped holders.  However, it seemed to me to be a lot of work with very little return.  These clips are often part of pre-mounted sets of tool organizers that you find in hardware stores and home centers, but you never see them offered alone (I don't, at least).  Certainly they would never be found at the exact slope you would need for any particular project.  I don't know the industry term for them beyond "spring clip" so there wasn't much success to be had on the friendly neighborhood Internet search engine.  I contacted a manufacturer, Gibson Good Tools, for retail sources of their product.  A very prompt reply from a nice sales person named Leigh offered to ship direct product in lots of 100 or more, and some retail sources.  I do plan to take them up on their offer of mass quantities if and when I start reorganizing the garage workshop.  In the meantime, I'll go with retail since I'm not building two dozen Dutch tool chests.

I don't know why I didn't think of this to start, but I found (because Leigh told me I would) the needed clips in the proper quantities at McMaster-Carr.  I don't know if you are acquainted with McMaster-Carr, but they are the type of operation that if a company starts making Splendiferous Widgets at 8am and you call McMaster at noon to buy them, by 3pm they will have photographs, SKU information, and a shipper tracking number for you.  Here are the clips I purchased:

1 1723A21 Tool Holder, Zinc-Plated Steel, for 3/8" - 5/8" Tool Diameter, Packs of 10
2 1722A41 Tool Holder, Nickel-Plated Steel, for 3/16" - 3/8" Tool Diameter, Packs of 10
3 1722A42 Tool Holder, Nickel-Plated Steel, for 5/16" - 3/4" Tool Diameter, Packs of 10

Only one of the smallest clips were used in the tool chest (line item 1).

Again referring to the two photos above.  On the left you see my three custom Grace screwdrivers and an inexpensive countersink driver that the origin of which I don't remember.  The right side features most of my set of Grace woodworking screwdrivers.  I fit seven of the 8 Grace woodworking drivers in the tool chest.  The tallest, for #14 screws, would not fit by just a smidgen.  I could modify the wood handle to make it fit, but I really like the way Grace drivers feel in my palm and don't want to risk losing that feel.

The spacing for the clips is all by eye.  I mounted examples of each purchased clip on a piece of scrap.  From there I tested which clip fit which tool the best.  The last step was to fill the chest up and eyeball what fit where on the sides and screw in the clip.

The last post on the construction of this chest will come when I finally get the hardware for the top.  I'll probably have the second one built before that happens!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Disposed Income

Well, this is my end of year blog entry where I talk about my annual woodworking shopping habits.  The woodworking purchases have been pretty low this year as evidenced in the blog entry calendar to the right of the page.  Here is the short list for 2013:

Lie-Nielsen I finally completed my chisel set and added some floats to my arsenal.
Highland Woodworking  I visit their site every other week at least.
McFeely's  It feels like I've purchased thousands of screws from them this year.
Tyler Tool  A new entrant to the list this year.  A great no frills source for power tools.
Lost Art Press  Most the stuff I buy from them is reviewed on the blog, so I'm not adding details here.
CU woodshop  This is an independent outfit in Champaign IL.  They have a great selection in stock from power tools to milk paint and, of course, wood.
Owl Hardwood lumber  There is a Hooter's one block away.  It is always a three or four hour outing when I go to Owl. Not including travel.
Woodcraft  Most of my odds and ends are filled by this place, it seems.
Menard's and Lowes  Interchangeable on most things so they get one line.
Amazon  The 7-eleven of the ether, and soon landing smiley boxed Stuff in your own backyard.

I'm giving a shout out to the many anonymous yard sales and flea markets I frequent.  I scored some major wood and paring chisels over the summer.

I'll return and add anyone I've forgotten.  Best wishes to you and yours in the coming year.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Court Jester Woodworker?

Sometimes I wonder why I keep at this woodworking thing.  Sure, I have a couple cool tables and a score of scout derby cars for my efforts.  But, it seems the more I do it, the more my shortcomings are revealed.

I finished the carcase for the Dutch tool chest a la Popular Woodworking and Chris Schwarz.  The top hinges are on back order from VanDykes hardware.  They have been on back order for a while now and I'm tired of waiting so now on to working on the innards.
I remarked before about how it was tough to keep square during the glue up.  I failed again.  The case ended up out of square.  I used tongue and groove carsiding for the back.  I cut each board wide enough to ensure coverage across the back of the out of square carcase.  Once in place I glued the tongues and nailed in the boards.  I planed the end grain by hand until both long sides were flush.

The innards for this box are pretty simple.  However, I held off on doing the tool racks until I gave it more thought.  I have opted for two rows of rack.  The first rack is for flat tools and the second for anything else.  I'm pretty sure I will lose floor space in the top compartment by making this decision, but so far I'm OK with that.

Tonight I started the top rack (flat tool).  The rack is in three layers.  The back board is 1/2" thick.  The middle layer is 1/4" thick spacer chips 1 1/8" wide.  The top layer is a 1/4" thick solid board.

I made the chips easy enough on the table saw over the weekend.  Unfortunately, I found out tonight that 1 1/8" is too wide for the spacing I want.  It is far too cold to go back out to the Outside Shop where the power tools live, so I'm stuck with the inside shop resources to make shorter spacers.  I used to have a nice bench hook made of scraps.  It got pretty chewed up, so I threw it away.  I told myself I'd make another from the scrap bin soon enough; as you might have guessed already, I never made the new bench hook.  So, here I am looking for a way to cut some small spacers in half.  I figure a bench hook is a lot cleaner than a chisel, allowing me to use both sides of the cut spacer.

Instead of making the top tool rack in less time than Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, I cobbled together a bench hook with what I could find around the house.
Making sure the top hook is square pictures one and two.

It ain't pretty, but here is the spur of the moment bench hook for cutting little spacers smaller:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Are You Finding Keepsake Mementos This Holiday Season?

From the AYFKM holiday shopping department comes the Lee Valley digital marking gauge.  My style of working with wood does not lend itself to using a digital marking gauge.  However, if I've learned anything in life it is that there is more than one way to do anything.  Please post any practical uses for this device below.

Garrett Wade also has a fine unique offering with their ruler knife.  I'm sure this CSI inspired instrument will provide hours of entertainment.

Feel free to post links to unique or odd gifts below.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Out of Chaos Comes a Toolbox

Here is tool chaos:

I started work on a Dutch tool chest, a la Popular woodworking and Chris Schwarz.  This is another copyrighted work so I won't be posting any plan details.  However, I do have another pictorial cornucopia to offer.  OK, so maybe 'cornucopia' is too strong a word.

I'm actually going to build two of these chests.  I bought enough wood for both, but I got two lemon boards (bad humor unintended).  I cut pieces for both chests to rough length and left them to adjust for a few days.  When I got back to the pile, all the parts cut from two of the boards were egregiously warped.  I now have enough parts for one chest and a lot of firewood.

Here are the promised pics:

Glue up (duh).  Heck to keep square

Notches for lock boards

Completed notches

Ready for a skin

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Folding Card Table Resurrected

Chris Schwarz clued me in to a cool folding card table on his Popular Woodworking blog.  Here is the post in question.  The table appears in John C. Hodges' book English Furniture.

I like the table in question so much that I hit the series of tubes in my computer that lead to Amazon and purchased a copy.  I got the book in my grubby little hands and promptly found the table on page 90 of my edition.  My first thought was, 'dang, Chris has a really good scanner'.  My second thought was 'that's it?'.  I expected to find build plans in the book.  Unfortunately, English Furniture is more a treatise on furniture in time than a how to build reference.  But I am not daunted.

I wrote previously about George Walker and Tim Tolpin's By Hand And Eye.  The book is an introduction to designing stuff; ostensibly furniture, but the principles apply to any structure.  I put what I learned from Walker and Tolpin together with my own experience to come up with a design.  Also, it's just a table.

I guess I have tables on the brain lately.  I just finished building the Civil War Folding table from Woodworker's Journal.  Barely hours after sinking the last fastener I read about a folding card table in volume 3, page 836 of The Practical Woodworker.  The TPW table top pivots on a narrow base to support the bisected top when open; when closed the whole top is rotated to cover a nice side table.  On the heels of the first two tables came the Schwarz post on this table.

I don't have a nice scanner, so here is a photo of my copy of the folding card table:
Folding Card Table From English Furniture

Below here is my theorized design of the table.  Things will probably change when I actually build it.  The next task toward an actual assembled piece is to locate the brass fixtures; leave suggestions in the comments below.  Please.  Pretty please?

The base of the table is a 28" square broken down as follows (letters refer to graphic above):

A.  Fixed panel, 9 10 inches long UPDATE: panel should be 10" long with a one inch overlap with B.
B. and C.  Folding hinge panels 8 inches long
D.  Leg, 29 inches long, 1.5 inch square.  I have not decided on the taper yet, but there will be one.
E.  Fixed panel 25 inches long

Parts A, B, C, and E are 4 1/4" wide and 3/4" thick.  I would prefer a 5/8" depth on the skirt, but the sliding groove prevents it.

The top is not shown in English Furniture, but there is a description:

"The corners of the top, instead of being square, were formed as projecting segments of a circle, and circles in walnut were slightly sunk on the surface as positions for candlesticks.  On all four sides an elliptical sinking was provided for money or counters".

Here is where George and Jim's book helped me out.  The top is generally a 30 inch square.  However, each corner actually projects three fourths of a circle outside the square.  The projecting circle has a five inch diameter.  I arrived at 5 inches because it is an even proportion of the overall top (30 inches).  I originally tried a six inch circle, but after actually cutting one out and laying on a similar table it was obviously overkill.  A five inch circle looks nice and is plenty of room for the base of a small candelabra.  Here is a crude rendering if you can't picture the corner of the table.
Table Corner Mock Up
I don't have any idea how to manufacture the top, yet, but I haven't given it much thought either.

I can imagine sitting in a dark room with nothing but candles on each corner of the table for light.  Beyond the ample opportunity for cheating, the surreal ambiance would make for a pretty intense game.

The folding card table should be a very fun build.  Hopefully my skill level won't ruin what should be a striking piece of furniture.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pictorial Tour Of Civil War Folding Table Build

This one is more self explanatory than anything else.  Without further adieu...

First Cut
Skirt Pieces

Glue Up Of Top
Dovetail Preparation

Completed (Sloppy) Dovetails On Skirt

Trim The Edges After Glue Up

Application Of Skirt

Completed End

First Set Of Legs (Skirt Too Low For Lock)

Second Set Of Legs
Create Notch For Brace

Hinged Legs Applied

Locking Mechanism In Place

Ready For Finishing