Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New tool chest for the sea 4, Carcase assembled

After marking out the pins, I used my universal 4x4" workbench substitute for holding the end boards while I did the sawing.
To facilitate the process, I treated myself to a new blade in the hacksaw. I chose the coarsest type that we have on board: A 24 ppi blade. 
With a new saw blade and very little movement of the ship, the pins came out quite well. 

The lower dovetail of each corner ends in the rabbet for the bottom. There are different ways to end such a dovetail, and I chose to make a mitre. The idea is that before test fitting the dovetails, you saw out a 45 degree portion of the thin side of the rabbet. Then you push the assembly together and if the mitre seats before the rest of the dovetails you simply run a thin saw down through the mitre. It gives a nice clean look.

For glueing up I use a small brush to apply the glue to both sides of a dovetail assembly before putting them together. Maybe it is overkill, but I won't have to worry about all the glue being absorbed by the end grain before I push the pieces together.

The dovetails were made pretty tight, so I used a clamp to seat them fully. I removed the clamps afterwards to minimize the risk of the sides getting curved.
Before putting the assembly out on the transformer to dry, I checked the diagonals. There were about 1/32" difference between them. I used a quick grip to correct this.

Yesterday, I started working on the lid.

The lid will be made up of a frame and a panel. The frame will have mitred bridle joints. 

The first thing I did was to make the groove for the panel. I wanted the groove to be as wide as the open mortise for the joint itself, so I had to make two passes with my grooving plane to get to the correct width.
I aimed at a width of 1/4", since that is also the size of my smallest chisel. If I made the bridle joint any thinner hat the smallest chisel, I would have to sharpen a screwdriver to remove the waste from the joint.

After grooving all parts, I laid out the sizes of the individual parts for the frame, and sawed them to this length.
the longer pieces were sawn square in the ends, and the shorter pieces ends in a 45 degree mitre.

Next I used the marking gauge to transfer the location of the groove to the sides where I would be sawing out the shoulders for the tenon and the sides for the mortise.
Again I used a hack saw for the actual sawing.

The joints were cleaned up using a chisel and then it was getting time to call it a day.

Universal 4x4" workholding setup.

The glued up carcase.


  1. I was never a fan of overly small pins on a dovetailed assembly. There are those that say the smaller the pins (and the more pins present) make for a stronger assembly, but I can't imagine that it would make a very large difference. To me, small pins don't necessarily represent any great sawing skill, rather, they represent a sharp and finely set saw.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent. Will you finish by the time you return? Or is it still up in the air?

    1. Hi Bill.

      I have never tried making those very tiny pins. I think they are called London pattern?
      As far as I have understood, some people like to make those pins because it is kind of a hallmark of handmade dovetails. Presumably it is really difficult to make those small pins with a router.

      These pins could have been a fraction smaller, or maybe there should have been one less so there had been some more distance. But I don't think they look too bad, and it is a tool box, so the main purpose is to keep the box together.
      I have to confess though, that I am not the dovetailer I have been earlier. I need to make some more dovetails while I am at home. But it is like riding a bike,you never quite forget..

      I still have 2 weeks left out here, I just stopped for the night yesterday :-)
      All in all I am satisfied with the progress I am making, and I think that I'll be able to finish the tool chest out here before going home.
      I might even paint it too if everything goes as planned.

      Thanks for commenting

  2. Great work as per your usual.

    It always brings a smile to my face when I see you cutting dovetails with a hacksaw. With all of the debate on TPI, hang and what not, it's great to see you just getting the job done with what you have to hand!

    I look forward to seeing the lid progress and ultimately the finished chest.


    1. Hi Greg.

      Thanks for the nice comment.

      I think I have been using a hack saw too much, because I am becoming increasingly good at using it for dovetails and tenons etc. I am afraid that I can make a more accurate tenon using a hack saw than I can using a proper tenon saw. The advantage of the hack saw is that you can correct the cut a bit as you go along, I always have problems doing that with a tenon saw.
      Maybe I should just start to practise instead of whining about how hard it is for me.. :-)

      The lid is slowly coming together, so I'll post about that in the near future.