Sunday, July 19, 2015

Treasure chest with curved lid part 8, assembly

After I had glued up the lid, I cut the ends of so they were level with the sides. Then I started rounding over the outside of the lid using a plane.

This was when I realized yet another drawback of this design. Work holding for such a shape is difficult to say the least. It reminded me of trying to hold a fresh seed from a water melon. Not the most efficient shape if you want to retain full control over the situation.

I took a break from the free hand planing, and decided to glue up the lower part of the chest. This went conspicuously smooth. Even the diagonal measurements were spot on.

More planing and I was satisfied with the shape of the lid. I sanded the surface with some grit 60 to make it a bit more smooth.

I planed the lower part of the chest  to remove any protruding pins or tails. My solution with the floating bottom that has a lip made it impossible for me to plane the lowest part of the chest. So I had to use a chisel, and later I will follow up with some sandpaper.

The lock was mounted after making a mortise. I had to bend the upper plate just a bit, since the upper edge of the front board is not square to the front, another disadvantage of making slanted sides.

I  more or less try to follow the advice given in "The joiner and cabinet maker" from Lost Art Press, when it comes to mounting a lock. The most important thing is to keep everything centered around the pin for the key. Since all locks I have ever been able to find are full mortise locks, my biggest challenge is to not break through the sides of the board. If I succeed in making the mortise, the rest usually goes pretty smooth.

Next task was to fit a striking plate in the lid. I marked out the position from the lock, and I even remembered to make the mortise below the striking plate wider that the square hole itself so the lock would actually work.

The hinges were mounted their own width from the ends, which is pretty common.
I started mounting them on the lid, because I could use the lower case for holding the lid while I performed the job. This was for once in this project a nice work holding solution.

Since the lid did indeed end up being 1/4" too narrow, I decided to mount the hinges so this would be visible on the back of the chest. That way the front will look as nice as possible. I thought about removing about 1/8 from the front and the back, but discarded that idea, because it would make the lock visible from the front. Further more I was afraid that it would lead to that the mortise for the striking plate could penetrate the front of the lid effectively ruining the project.

I still need to make some feet and an escutcheon for the chest, and I am considering making some lifts for it as well.

View from the front.

Work holding of the lid.

An escutcheon will add to the look.

Interior of the chest.


  1. I as sure the lid wasn't going to look very nice, but WOW! It turned out

  2. The lid looks totally different from the raw glue up. Who gets this one?

    1. Hi Ralph.
      It am constantly amazed at the difference obtained from planing the relatively rough pallet boards.
      I am not sure who will get this chest. As it is, we already have an abundance of small chests at home, so it depends on the "public opinion" at home if it will be allowed to stay there.

  3. That looks pretty awesome!! Was this project one of your more challenging builds? And how will you finish it? If I had a vote it would be paint, but that is just me.

  4. Hi Bill.

    Thanks for the nice comment.
    This is definitely one of the more challenging builds I have made. The curved lid was a bit difficult, but actually it went smoother than I had anticipated. The slanted ends on the lid were far more difficult than I had expected.
    There are some gaps in the dovetails of those that I am not completely happy with. In addition to that I first made a set of ends that proved totally useless because I had made the tails first, and I screwed it up fair and square. It is not often any more, that I can't figure out how to make a set of dovetails, but this project beat me on that point.
    On top of all that the work holding was a lot more difficult than my usual projects. The biggest problem is to find someone to blame, because I would hate to admit that it was my own fault :-)

    I haven't decided on the finish yet. We have some old dried up varnish on board that I was considering to try and thin with some white spirit. I am still a little way from finishing, as I need to make some feet and also need to sand it a bit more. I also have to make an escutcheon and perhaps some lifts.

    I have seriously considered painting the chest, but I haven't decided on a colour yet. Since there is no skirt on it, I think I will have to stay with just a single colour instead of using two contrasting ones like I have done on occasion before.