Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Smith & Wesson 629 presentation case 6, ammunition block and surface treatment.

The ammunition block was ripped close to its final size, and then I planed one of the sides to act as a reference.
I crosscut it to the correct length, and planed the remaining side and the bottom and top of it, testing for a nice fit in the base.

I removed the block again and marked up the locations of the 50 holes for the individual rounds of ammunition.
The location of each of the holes received a small mark made by an awl before being drilled.
While my work holding and worktable etc aren't very good out here, the same thing can not be said about our drill press. It is a "Strands of Sweden", it is similar to Lie Nielsen in hand planes when it comes to drilling machines. It is really accurate and a joy to use. It is actually a stark contrast to the crappy drill press I have at home.

I drilled the 1/2" holes all the way through the block. The bottom of the base will work as a stop, so by doing it this way, I won't have to worry about getting all the holes to the same depth.
Two of the holes turned out less than perfect, the first one was because i didn't hold the piece firmly enough when retracting the drill, so it caught the side and made the hole oval.
The second hole was due to a heavy roll of the ship that caused everything to move. In retrospect I suppose that I should have waited with the drilling until some day with calm weather, but it was just a single time the ship moved that much.

After sanding the surfaces lightly, the ammunition block was finally glued in place.

While the glue dried, I took a cup of tea.

The dust seal wasn't completely level at all corners, so I gave it a few swipes with the plane and rounded the top again with some sandpaper.

At this point even I couldn't ignore the fact any loner, that the time for sanding the outside a bit more was getting awfully close.
I grabbed the sanding block and gave it a good workout on the outside using some grit 80 that we happened to have on board.
All the remaining pencil marks were removed and it started to look really nice. I found some fine emery cloth next. I think that it might be something like a grit 180 or 240, but I am not sure - it wa finer than the 80 which was the important thing.
Another round of that and the box looked downright fine.

The next step ought to be fitting the hardware, but since this is a ship and there is sometimes a lot of grime and oil etc in the workshop, I chose to give the box a coat of varnish instead. This will hopefully protect the surface a bit from grease stains etc.

I don't have any abrasive pads on this ship, but I found an old roll of steel wool. It isn't particularly fine, so I guess it is grade 0.
I poured a bit of varnish into a paper cup and dipped the steel wool into it. It rubbed the varnish into the surface using the steel wool, and once I was done, I grabbed a clean rag and wiped of the entire surface.
So far it looks good, but I am anxious to see what it looks like when the varnish has dried.

Interior of the box.

Bottom finished.

Top finished.


  1. The top looks really nice, but the bottom looks even better. :)

    1. Hahaha, yes, the bottom is really nice. It is a new trend in woodworking, called obscured surface perfection. The idea is to do your utmost to get a perfect surface or joint in an area that will rarely be seen.
      Never mind the regular show surfaces, because they are easy to find. The people looking at the piece will have to take their time and finding the few nice spots on a completed project.
      The trend is in no way limited to outside surfaces.
      It is very fashionable to French polish the bottom of a mortise prior to glue up, but those examples are hard to show later on unless you dismantle the project :-)

      The worst part is that there is a scratch on the lid that is deep. And I had really marked everything before gluing it up. Somehow I still messed up..
      I guess I'll have to make the felt lining look good to counteract for the small mistakes.

      But it is a comfort for me to know, that I single-handed make all the mistakes in the woodworking world. thereby relieving all other woodworkers from the agony of doing stuff like that..


    2. I've always French polished the bottoms of my mortises.

    3. I know.
      I am just trying to be as good as you are :-)

      I have to admit that one of the through mortises in the timber frame only got 3 layers of Tung oil before I polished it. The rest of them all got 8 layers.

      I am probably doomed..

  2. Jonas,

    Again, thanks for the tick tock of the build. I have to question if I can do as good a job using the portable work bench and limited tool set this Fall and I will not have to contend with a rolling ship. Maybe a little too much whisky but at least the ground will be stable :-).


    1. Hi Ken
      I am certain that you can do a better job. Unless there are many gnats, flies or mosquitoes. Working under the influence of insects is difficult to say the least.

      A little drink to keep the spirit high and while watching the sun go down has never hurt anyone, so I actually think it might be an advantage because you will feel more relaxed.