Saturday, October 20, 2012

Are We There Yet?

     Remember your kids asking that when you were on a road trip?  I sure do and my standard answer was usually ", twenty minutes".  That's the feeling I get sometimes when I'm getting to the final stages of a project, seems as if you always need just another  20 minutes, then another, and another; well, I'm sure you've been there.

Twenty Minutes Ago?
      Well, not quite but this is the latest of the major steps that needed to be done.  The pieces that are against the box sides have just a spot of glue to anchor them in place.  That's pretty much located by the clamps.  At our last Sin City Woodworkers meeting the subject of wood movement came up and since this box is leaving the dry arid desert and headed east I want to make sure the wood can move if it wants to.  There should be enough play in the center pieces and all of the dividers to allow for that.
     The last blog I talked about assembling the box and then cutting the slots for the splines.  Here they're being cut off.

Trimming Splines
     There are two splines in the box section plus one more for the lid.  Once these were cut and planed smooth I was able to separate the two pieces and cut the mortises  for the hinges.  There is a huge range in the quality and pricing of brass hinges.  Even locating the once prevalent Stanley brand is difficult and they're not the quality they once were.  It's a huge jump up to the Brusso ones at $35.00+ a pair!  Since this box has internal dividers a fold down stay isn't possible so that leaves Brusso's quadrant hinge as a $50.00+ option.  Neither of these options are in the budget but I was able to get a good quality, solid brass hinge from Rockler.  It's made in India and pretty robust, not like the Stanley stamped or extruded style.  Sizes were limited but the one I selected will allow the lid to open all the way back for easy access to the game pieces.

Separated with Hinge Mortises Cut
     The last few steps needed to complete this project is to finish the interior.  The exterior has Danish Oil and my hand rubbed top coats but for the interior of boxes my preference is to use shellac.  It protects well and is odorless, also my finish of choice for drawers.  Lately my method of applying the shellac to small surfaces has been with a simple air brush.  The first time I used this was on carved picture frames and I really like the ease of application without any runs or build up of the shellac in the carvings.  It's pretty easy to set up an area to spray in the side yard.

Shellacking the Interior Pieces
    The only thing left for these parts is to rub them out with a bit of synthetic steel wool and wax.  In the meantime the dust check for the front of the lid needed to be installed.  This is a perfect task for using a good, old fashioned gimlet to pre-drill the holes for the small brass screws that are used here.

That's a Gimlet
     That screw needs to be about 5/16" from the top and it's impossible to do that with a conventional drill -- the chuck gets in the way.  The tape on the gimlet is to set the depth, wouldn't look too good to have the hole go all the way through.  The plan is for the front, full length dust check to hold down the inner lid.  There are two other pieces on either side of the lid.  If our long distance measurements and planning is correct, these will put pressure on the game board itself and all of the cards and playing pieces will be secure inside of their custom box.
     The remaining interior portions of the box have been shellacked so after curing for a couple of days they can be rubbed out and waxed.  Apply the hardware and ship it off to my client.  It's an anniversary gift needed on the eleventh of November so no problem making that deadline.

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