Building the Dutch Tool Chest has had some important lessons for me. Aside from the obvious “make sure the dovetails all face the same way”.
First, the one that bugs me most, is get decent lumber. I got Common Pine (“whitewood”, a very soft pulpy wood-like material), which cupped after I got it home. By the time I dressed it the “1 by 12″ (.749″ out the door) was closer to 5/8” thin. This doesn’t leave enough for nailing and dadoing in my view. It also continued to move around after it was flattened, and is super soft. I wanted Select Pine but the home center has been out for several weeks.
A consequence of the soft, thin boards is that the cut nails I’m using caused blow out in several spots as they went into the pre-drilled holes.
Something else I’ll do differently is to put the back on after the drop-front is fitted so I can glue on the brackets for the sliding latch more easily.
I had a bit of a struggle with the boards on the back. I decided to go with tongue and grooves instead of shiplap. Problem #1 was my tongue and groove plane doesn’t make a joint that works right off the plane. The tongue is too big (or the groove too small). It’s problem with the cutter width, I’ll need to replace something there. I also installed the boards from the top to bottom. Bad call, I should have started at the bottom, and not cut the bevel on the top board until it was ready to go otherwise. Live and learn.
One of the reasons I wanted to do this project was to dust off my hand tool skills and take a break from the crazy detail of marquetry. I tuned up my coffin smoother, it leaves a super surface now. That’s a great feeling, it works better than my metal smoother with a more carefully prepared blade.
This tool chest is going to get a coat of milk paint and go into service as storage in the house. I’ll make another one to use when I go to woodworking classes.
Without grading on a curve, this will be a B-minus project when it’s done. Everything will be functional and square, but the details aren’t quite a nice as I’d like. I’ll do another with either select Pine, or maybe some VG Fir I saw at the wood store.