Apparently third time is a charm. There were two things about this project I was concerned about being able to pull off. One it the egg crate dividers, the other is the door. Of the two, the dividers had me more concerned because they have to fit snugly into the case without any gaps. I did my best to make a square carcase, which simplified getting the dividers in. But it took three tries to get the dividers built.
The first attempt I had the notches on the vertical dividers too tight and the and the “tabs” split off. Rats. No, really, that’s what I said.
Besides cutting the slots too tight in the vertical dividers, I cut one of the slots too loose in the horizontal dividers (by like 1/16+). So I re-cut both slots in the horizontal dividers to the same dimension (.420″, in case you’re wondering). Then I machined up some stock for the vertical dividers to exactly fit the slots. I carefully laid out each slot in the new vertical dividers, using an off cut to make sure I had the exact right width.
About half way through cutting the slots in the second set of dividers I realized that I’d picked up the wrong off cut to lay out the the spaces. I was using an off cut from the slightly-thicker vertical dividers instead of the correct-thickness horizontal dividers – .375″, in case you’re interested. I should have been more interested.
So, rewind again. I machined up another pair of vertical dividers and used the correct bit of scrap to do my layout. Third time lucky, as they say. (I don’t know who “they” are, but I wish it was “nailed it on the first try” instead). This time it worked out OK. I padded on a couple of coats of orange shellac and left it to dry while I grabbed lunch.
In case you’re following along with the plans, I made the dividers 5.5″ wide instead or 6″ as called out in the article, so I could get two parts out of each 1 x 12. I don’t think it will have any serious impact on the function.
I started all of the notches at the same time — if they are a little tight anywhere and you do them one at a time is really easy to split off one of the tabs. If you work them all together at once, a little at a time, they all tend to support each other. I got the fit just about right, they slid together without much persuasion until the last little bit.
I fit the dividers into the case carefully. I had to slightly pry the sides open as they were ever so slightly bowed in. Just finger pressure. I drove the dividers down until the horizontal bars were 8″ front-edge-to-back-of-case.
I used the little layout gizmo from the article to mark where the ends of the dividers were on the outside of the case, and laid out pencil lines so I could drive in the nails to secure the dividers in the case. That worked really well too.
I also pined each of the interactions with my 23 gauge pin nailer. That worked really well, and it really tightened the divider up nicely.
I flushed the ends of the dovetails with a plane and sanded the outside of the case with 220, then I was out of both time and wood. Tomorrow I’ll pad on a coat of shellac on the outside of the case and make up the panels for the back, then start fitting the “crate” framework.