Monday, December 27, 2010

Progress on the Tool Chest

As I mentioned in my last blog I'm starting to build a chest for my carving chisels.  I do need a safe place to store them as they sometimes fall out of the leather tool rolls I'm currently using.  Since the economy has slowed down with paying jobs being scarce, this will keep me in the shop, allow me to utilize odd pieces of material, and most importantly, give me a chance to work on new skills and hone the ones I have.
In many traditionally built pieces the back is made of solid wood, contemporary design has us making backs from plywood where you don't have to worry about contraction and expansion of the wood across the grain with changes in the humidity.  I had a short length of 8/4 Maple which I re-sawed and turned into several pieces measuring 3/8" thick and about 3" wide.  Here's the pictorial sequence of how I formed tongue and groove joints on these to turn them into my floating panel for the back of the chest.

First step was to clamp a piece of MDF to the table saw, run a rip blade through it and cut a 1/8" groove in the center of one edge of each board.  This was cut 1/4" deep.  The piece of MDF is there so the piece won't fall into the slot for the blade on the insert -- much safer this way.

Next I set up a 3/8" rabbet bit and cut the opposite side of each board to create the tongue.  I used that new fence I mentioned in a previous blog and am happy to report it sucked up about 90% of the sawdust -- nice improvement!

Here are the boards when they're assembled.  More than enough to span the panel that will make up the back of the chest.
Although I have made a general sketch of this chest, much of it is being designed "on the fly".  If this were a commission I wouldn't have so much leeway.  Also, since I'm using leftover lumber that dictates my sizes too.  Tomorrow will be spent making the side panels.  They will be made out of the only wood I purchased, Alder, and have maple panels.

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