Thursday, January 29, 2015

New tool chest for the sea 5, the lid.

After the grooving of the frame parts in the last post about this build, I continued with the fabrication of 4 mitred bridle joints.
I sawed out the tenons and the "mortise" using a hacksaw.
I am not sure if it is called a mortise for this type of joint, but until I find out, that is what I am going to call it.

I am becoming increasingly skilled at sawing out mortises with a hacksaw, so the joints went together with only a minimal trimming of one of the tenons.
The frame wasn't completely square, but I didn't expect it to be. I had made the parts slightly oversized to be able to deal with this situation.

The way I do it is similar to trimming the mitred dovetail joint:
I assemble the frame and square it up by measuring the diagonals. Each joint is pressed together until it makes contact somewhere. Next I clamp the dry assembly to a flat piece of wood taking care that each member of the frame is secured.
With a thin kerfed saw I saw down the middle of the joint, removing a little bit of materials from each side at the same time.
The frame is then flipped over and the joints on the other side receive the same treatment.
Usually I can get by with one or two rounds of doing this, but it all depends on how accurate you manage to make the mitres in the first place.

With the frame square and with tight joints, I measured the size for the floating panel.
I do this by measuring the "hole" in the frame, and then I add twice the depth of the groove to each measurement. Since this wood is bone dry, I am pretty sure it will expand when I bring the tools chest into my workshop at home. Therefore I subtracted a couple of mm's on the width to allow the panel to expand a little.

The panel was then brought to the desired size, and I ploughed a groove on all four sides of it to allow it to fit in the panel.
When I was done I made a test assembly before fetching the glue.
For glueing up this sort of lid, I allow the panel to be completely floating. So I only add glue to the mitred joints of the frame.
I added some clamps on the joints to make sure the walls of the mortises were pressed firmly together. It wasn't really necessary, but it doesn't hurt to do it, as long as you remember to put some blocks of wood between the clamps and the frame to avoid marring the surface.

The lid went to the top of the transformer for drying, and I started out attaching the bottom of the chest.

First I laid out the ship lapped boards and numbered them. I then ripped the end boards to make them approximately the same width. One of the end boards had some ugly tear out, so I opted for removing this instead of the two boards being the same width. I doubt that anyone will ever notice.
The bottom boards were then cross cut to the required length.
Since the rabbet is a bit shallow, I pre drilled holes at a slight angle to prevent them from accidentally wandering into the chest.
I glued the first board to the end of the chest before nailing it on. The remaining boards were mounted without any glue. To allow for some movement, I used a spacer to create a small distance between each board before attaching it. In this case the spacer is a 0.5 mm shim that I found in the junk box. The last board was also glued to the end of the chest before hammering in the nails.
My reason for doing this is that it will add some strength to the ends so the rabbets hopefully wont break as luggage handlers shift my bag in airports.

Test assembly of the lid.

Attaching the bottom, note spacer.

Detail of the mitred dovetail.

Testing the lid on the carcase.


  1. Nice use of a pump shim as a spacer

    1. Thanks.
      Once in a there is something useful in the junk box.
      In addition to that I can claim that I work to very tight tolerances out here ;-)


  2. Jonas,

    The chest is coming along beautifully. I give you great credit for being able to work so accurately at sea. I'm more than a little jealous of your talent.


    1. Hi Jeffrey.

      Thanks for the kind comment on the chest. A bit of practise really does help, also when it comes to work in a shop that is not completely steady.

      Besides, if you look at my blog, you will see a peculiar tendency to make small chests. Some are made canted, and some square, but basically it is just variation on the same theme.
      Woodworking out here is like Friday candy to me, so I take my time, that is also one of the things that help me achieve an OK result.
      A "good thing" is that most my pictures are pretty crappy, so that can hide a few blemishes.

      One more thing is that I use the same tools over and over again, and that might be the biggest advantage. Becoming really comfortable with a few tools is a really good idea.

      By the way, I tried to add your blog to my "blogs I follow", but I get a message that there is some fault in the feedburner. (I have no idea what that means, but I have tried a couple of times, with same result)
      I'll try to add it again, then you can click on it and see the message yourself.


    2. Jonas,

      I hope that I am much better with wood and metal than I am with computers. I messed around a bit and got the link to work using this link:

      I hope that works for you and thank you for trying to add my blog.

      Much appreciation,

    3. Sorry Jonas,

      The link is right, but without the period on the end.

      Thank you,

  3. I like the traditional lid. How will you attach it? Will you make hinges or do you have a set ready to go? Also, I like ship-lapped boards for a chest bottom better than tongue and groove. They are easier to fit, and if you have an issue, they are easier to remove.

    1. Hi Bill.

      Hinges are one of the things that I try to bring with me from home. I have some small galvanized steel hinges that will look fine on this chest.
      So the lid will be attached using regular butt hinges.
      I am a bit divided about ship lapped vs tongue and groove boards. The ship lapped boards are easier to make, and I prefer those when they are to be nailed to the bottom.
      If I make a bottom that is contained in a groove, I prefer to make the boards with a tongue and groove.


  5. Replies
    1. Thanks for the nice comment.

      I am impressed that you can actually make a comment on a smart phone.
      I tried using one of the Ipads we have in the house once. I tried a long time, but it insisted on suggesting all kinds of wrong words. In the end I got really #%§! off. So I found a normal computer with a keyboard instead :-)
      I have some milk paint at home, but I was thinking of painting the chest out here if I manage to get that far in the process. In that case it will be oil based ships paint.
      I have never tried to use the milk paint though, but this could have been an appropriate project for it.
      I once tried to make my own milk paint, but it was a complete disaster. I used the wrong sort of lime, and it ended up being just a bunch of lumps with an uneven colour.
      I don't plan on adding any finish to the inside.

      Maybe I'll add a couple of tills, but the first priority is to complete the chest itself.