Another Week, Another Box

Aug 12 2014

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Yes, another dovetailed box. I do like making these, and I’m actually starting to get pretty good at the dovetails. Everyone says it’s just practice. I guess so. I banged these ones out pretty quickly, gang cutting the tails. This means I put the two front and back boards together and cut the tails on both of them at the same time. This is not only quicker, but the added width helps you to cut straight. Including layout, the tails took about a half hour to cut and chop out.

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The pins took a bit longer. It’s always a more delicate operation because you are now matching a second set of cuts precisely to the first set. And they have to be done one at a time. And due to poor planning, one of those pins was smack in the middle of a big knot. I wound up breaking a big chunk out of that knot while I was chopping out the waste. But it’s inside so you can’t see it.

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Other than the knot incident, these dovetails came out as close to perfect as any I’ve done yet. Only one small gap in the whole bunch of them. I guess the fact that it was pine helps. This stuff is like cutting and planing butter.

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The top and bottom went very quickly. Not much to them. Just a couple of boards with some roundovers. I was using a nice wide pine board, so there was no need to glue up panels, just cut the top and bottom to size. When all that was done, I decided to try a bit of stain. This is just a shop project to hold a tool – a Stanley 71 router plane with accessories – so it was a good piece to experiment on.

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Wiped on the stain, it sucked right in. Let it sit most of a day, then wiped it down and applied three coats of shellac and some wax. I was surprised how good the stain made the cheap home center pine board look. It’s a cherry stain, and almost looks like cherry. The illusion is destroyed when you pick up the box though. It’s way too light.

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The whole project took no more than a few hours total. The build was accomplished over the weekend, but I was out most of the weekend doing other family stuff, so was only able to put in a half hour here and there. I did the stain Monday morning and the rest of the finishing Monday night. As usual, this was done with 100% hand tools. The only electricity used was for the shop lights so I could see what I was doing.

So another fine shop box project. This one was a quicky and feels pretty cheap when you pick it up, but it will still probably last a few decades longer than I do. I always imagine where these things will end up in the far future. In someone else’s shop as a proud possession, still holding the tool I made it for? Repurposed for something else, and still in use? In a basement or shed somewhere, under a pile of other old junk? Even the last one would be OK, kind of like a time capsule, waiting for some kid to come along and find and clean up and use to store some precious toys. The only bad option would be to have it wind up in an incinerator or landfill somewhere. I’ll never know, I guess. That’s part of the fun.

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