Posts Tagged With: Tool Chest

Grandpa’s Tool Chest, Pretty Much Done

I decided to go with the Cherry Danish Oil basecoat and Orange Shellac topcoat.  Between applying finish, sanding, sharpening tools for the chest and running a few errands that pretty much used up the whole day.

This was my starting point, sanded to 220, edges chamfered with a block plane.

Bare Naked Wood

Bare Naked Wood

I applied a coat of Cherry Danish Oil with a foam brush, and tried to work in in, especially into the light areat.  It’s really weird how some areas just won’t take the finish as well as others.    The entire front of the chest is one board, but half of it soaks up the finish and the other half doesn’t.  Weird.  I wiped it down with a clean cloth and let it dry off for an hour.

Cherry Danish Oil Basecoat

Cherry Danish Oil Basecoat

Then I built up two or three coats of shellac, thinned 50% from the can, which I guess makes it a 1.5lb cut.  I was trying to build up some color.  I left that to dry for three hours while I ran to the hardware store for some 400 grit sandpaper (which they didn’t have!) and did a few other errands.  Then I sanded the chest with 320 grit just enough to take the texture out of the finish.  Finally I brushed on one final oat of undiluted 3lb cut shellac.  I’m letting that dry overnight, in the morning I’ll rub it out with 0000 steel wool and wax it.

Shellac Top Coats

Shellac Top Coats

I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out.  The finish really seems to glow.

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Grandpa’s Tool Chest, Part 3

I managed several hours in the shop yesterday and was able to pretty much finish the fabrication of the chest, just leaving the finishing.

The first order of business was to flatten the lid, which is glued up from two boards.  I worked across the grain to level them, then lengthwise to remove the marks from cutting across the grain and the last few little low spots.  Then I pulled the blade back and made passes until I gut full-width whisky shavings.

Why didn’t I use my LN #4 for this?  Two reasons, the main one is that I still get inconsistent results with it.  I have a really hard time setting it up to take a whispy shaving (while it’s dead simple with the #8).  I don’t get it, the next time LN is in town I’m taking the plane in for Denab to look at it.  The other reason is that it fell off of the bench the other day, and landed right on the front tote, which took the full force of the impact.  No other damage to the plane, but the knob and it’s mounting screw are toast.  I’ll have to order a replacement knob after the holidays.

Flattening the Lid

Flattening the Lid

And of course I had to use my muscle bound buddy to fill in the gaps in the knots.  I used the same stuff to fill the nail holes in the skirting.  I’ll be interested to see how this looks under the finish.

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Stoopud Knot!

Muscle Clad Buddy

Muscle Clad Buddy

In the past hinge mortises have been worrisome for me.  Well, my ability to make the accurately, has been a concern.  The last several sets I’ve done have come out pretty well.  First, I position the lid on the case, and strike a knife mark across both the lid and the chest for the outside location of each hinge edge.  Then I use a marking knife to outline the position of each hinge on the case edge and bottom of the lid. and my marking gauge to mark the depth.  I pare up to the outline marks like you would for a “first class saw cut”, then chisel them deeper and pare to the mark again until I get to the full depth.  Then I pare away the hump in the middle until I get to my depth line.  Then I finish it with a router plane.

Hinge Mortise in Case

Hinge Mortise in Case, Will it Fit?

All four mortises came out great, and they even lined up exactly as they should.  I had to run to the hardware store to get longer screws, these came with 1/2″ long screws which didn’t seem like enough.  I used 5/8″ screws on the lid and 1″ long screws on the case side.  I also picked up some light gauge brass chain and screw eyes to make a support for the lid when it’s open.

Yeah!

Yeah!

Then I fit the upper skirt.  I glued and nailed it to the lid.  The corners are mitered, glued and cross-nailed.  And of course I countersunk the nails and my muscle bound buddy filled in the nail holes after the clamps came off.

Upper Skirt in Place

Upper Skirt in Place

I made a chisel rack for inside.  I just marked out the spacing, sawed across the grain to depth and chiseled out the waste like a dado.  The chisels are Wood River (Woodcraft store brand) butt chisels that were on sale for $29.  The online reviews were surprisingly good, although they need serious work on the backs to flatten them.  They are surprisingly not sharp out of the box.  I’ll need to tune those up today while I wait for the coats of finish to dry.

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Pretty, But Dull

I mounted the chisel rack inside, and added a saw till.  Next time I do this I’ll use screws to hold the slotted bots to the cross piece.  Nailing into them (while they were sliding around making a mess with the glue) was a pain.  They are too springy from the relief cuts to be able to nail into nicely.

Saw Till and Chisel Rack

Saw Till and Chisel Rack

Here is the mostly-finished tool chest.  I have a few little details left.  A bit of sanding, breaking the edges of the top skirt with a plane, adding the top stays, and of course the finish.  Should be able to do that all this morning.

It may not be apparent from the pictures, but it’s big.  Not as deep as the regular anarchists too chest, but I just checked the dimensions of the “Traveling Anarchist’s Tool Chest”, and mine if 4″ shorter, 3″ wider maybe 2″ shorter.  It’s big enough that we’re certainly not taking my mini to the in-laws tomorrow.

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Tool Chest

Tool Chest

Tool Chest

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Grandpa’s Tool Chest – Choosing a Finish

I’m nearly ready to put some finish on the tool chest.  I made up some sample swatches to try different finished.  The topcoat is going to be shellac, but I’m considering putting some color under it.

Any opinions or favorites?

I’m leaning toward either just the orange shellac, or maybe a base coat of “cherry” danish oil, t0pped with shellac.

Finish Sample One and Two

Finish Sample One and Two

Finish Sample Three and Four

Finish Sample Three and Four

 

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Grandpa’s Toolchest, Part 2

Christmas is fast approaching, and as a none too subtle footnote I actually only have until Saturday night to finish this tool chest as we’re getting together with my brother-in-law’s family for our gift exchange on Sunday.  Plenty left to do, and I actually have one more present in mind that I’d like to make after this.  Or two.  Shoot, I’m doomed.

Yesterday I got a few hours in after taking care of work.  The first order of business was to get the bottom installed, but I couldn’t wait to see how the dovetails looked after a bit of clean up.  The circles on the tails are where I used a piece of dowel rod to drive the tails home.  The glue seemed to grab too soon, I think I didn’t have enough on the surface so it was drying out quickly.  But overall it’s mostly gap-free, and they should look good after I plane the sides down a bit.

Initial Clean-Up on Dovetails

Initial Clean-Up on Dovetails

I’m doing this tool chest the same way Chris Schwarz has shown for his Anarchist’s Tool Chest, although I won’t be dovetailing the skirts.  I’d like to have tried that approach, but I’m concerned about the amount of time it would add.  I cut half-laps for the bottom boards.  I kept them pretty straight and square as I was working, but still used the little shoulder plane to tune them up.  One or two passes on the shoulder removed any little problems.

Cutting Half Laps

Cutting Half Laps

I had to tweak the depth stop until I got a good fit up between adjacent boards.

Good Fit!

Good Fit!

Then I cut a bead on the left side of each joint as a decoration.  This is a sample cut on a scrap as a test of course.

Beaded

Beaded

Finally I nailed the bottom boards to the shell.  I pre-drilled holes for the cut nails, and angled them slightly (like dovetails).  I really like these nails.

Nailing the Bottom On

Nailing the Bottom On

I used four nails per board, it seems very secure.

Check Out My Bottom!

Check Out My Bottom!

I planed up material for the bottom skirt, although I neglected to take any pictures.  I mitered the corners, nailed and glued it on, filled the nail holes and beveled the top edge.  If I’d taken a picture of the skirting installed it would look like this, but with the skirting of course.

Ready for the Skirt

Ready for the Skirt

I was almost out of time for the evening, but I jointed and clued up two boards for the top.  The top is a major deviation from the ATC design, instead of a frame and panel it is a flat board with a skirt.  More like a boarded blanket chest.

Two 1 x 12 Boards Jointed

Two 1 x 12 Boards Jointed

In The Clamps

In the Clamps

So, what’s left?  At least these things, although there are a few other small things I’d do if I had time.  I have to say, I’m jealous.  I need to make one of these for myself next.

  1. Plane lid, cut to fit, add skirting, hinges and a support strap
  2. Interior: small chisel rack, saw till, maybe a sliding till if I have time
  3. Exterior finish.  Shellac, maybe with a stain or dye.  I started a finish sample board yesterday
  4. Clean-up and sharpen a Stanley #4 I bought on ebay to go in it
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Grandpa’s Toolchest

Lost Art Press recently printed an English translation of Grandpa’s Workshop.  I bought three copies, one for my son and the other two for two of my nephews.  In the book there is a simple tool chest; I was inspired to build a simple tool chest for my brother-in-law for Christmas.  Hopefully he’s not secretly reading my blog.  The visual I had in mind was another chest inspired by by the same book.  This one is built by  Archer Burbank, age 6.

Archer's Chest

Archer’s Chest

I like the simplicity and size (of the chest, I don’t actually know Archer, although he looks to be a cute kid).  So of course I immediately ignored those two things as I started building one as a Christmas present.  I set the size based on one of the standard “golden ratio” sizes (13″ tall x 21″ wide x 34″ long), in part because with a 1 x 12 and an applied bottom and lid I would end up at about 13″ tall.  It’s a wonder I get through the day in one piece.

So that’s the story of why the chest is so big.  The complex part boils down to wanting the practice dovetailing.  If I’d nailed it then I’d be done by now.  I tried to work carefully, and timed myself on different parts to get a sense of how long it takes me to cut and fit dovetails.  I was cutting tails (or pins) on one end of one board in about 12 minutes.  Layout, sawing, chopping.  No way it that going to set any records in the Hand Tool Olympics, but my goal was to get the best fit possible.

Chopping Tails

Chopping Tails

Sawing went just fine, thank you very much.  I have plenty of room for improvement, but all of my tail cuts were square and followed the line reasonable well.  I haven’t been sawing out the waste, instead I’me chopping right on the baseline and paring away some of the waste for chisel clearance.  After sawing my first step is to pare away a small chip in front of the baseline.  Then I register the chisel in the baseline and give it a light tap, and repeat paring up to the baseline.  At this point I can use a solid hit with the hammer, and I repeat this until I’m about 1/2 way through.  Flip the board and repeat on the other side.  This seems to work really well for me.

Tails Paired

Tails Paired

A sharp chisel makes this so much easier.  I nicked my finger when I went to brush away a chip and touched the chisel with my left middle finger.  I had to stop and grab the masking tape to keep from bleeding everywhere.

Tails Cut

All Tails Cut, Time for Pins

Transferring the tails to the pin board went really smoothly.  No slipping, and I’m still really liking my Cosman dovetail makring knife.  I sawed all of the pins next to the layout line, and in a few places was a little wide of the line and could easily pare to the line.  I tried to sneak up ion the fit.  I probably left it a little too tight as it was a struggle to glue up.  Live an learn.

Pins Transferred

Pins Transferred

Test Fit - Almost There!

Test Fit – Almost There!

Gluing up wasn’t as smooth as cutting and fitting.  It was a little rushed and sloppy, I need to work out a better process for that.  I’ve since planed up the joints, I have a few gaps at the baseline because the glue set up before I could get everything driven/clamped into position.  Nothing terrible though, this is going to be nice!  Times a-wasting.  I have to nail on the (shiplapped) bottom make the lower skirt, lid and some internal bits.  A chisel holder, saw till and sliding till.  Or whatever I get done by Saturday night..

All Glued Up

All Glued Up

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Instant Tool Chest Update

Just a quick update on Kolya’s Christmas tool chest.  I painted it red first, then slathered on a coat of black.  Tonight I scuffed the edges with some worn 220 grit paper, then rubbed the whole thing out with steel wool and danish oil.  I’ll probably go over the outside once more with the danish oil to improve the sheen, then wax it and re-install the hinges.

I’ve put together a nice kit of tool to go in it, including a small hammer, block plane, coping saw and some other essentials.  This was a fun, simple project and I think it will make a great present.

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The Instant Toolbox

This is a quick update on the “I Can Do It” Gent’s Tool Chest that I covered in an earlier post.

I decided to add the faux raised panel.  Honestly that was the most fun of the whole project.  I didn’t even stop and take pictures of the process.  I took one of these cheesy 1-by pine boards and sawed out a slightly oversize piece for the panel.  I planed one side so it was flat, trued one edge, flipped it over and took it down to 1/2″ with a scrub plane, then flattened it with a #6.  Wow, it went fast and came out pretty nice.  I shot one end square, trimmed and shot it to length and planed the last long side to width.  Then I beveled the edges with a low angle block plane.  I did the ends first in case going across the grain caused any blow outs (it did, but not bad) then did the long edges.

I glued it to the lid of the box and sanded everything with 220.  Honestly I should have left the raised panel unsanded.  Sanding immediately rounded over the nice crisp edges I had from planing the bevels even though I used a light touch and a sanding block.

I stained the inside of the box and lid, and painted one coat of red latex on the outside.  When that has dried I’ll put a coat of black over the red and then selectively sand through the black to expose the red and the pine to give it some character.

Paint really helped the appearance.

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I Can Do That (Too)

Popular Woodworking has been running a series of articles called “I Can Do That”, the premise being that with some simple tools anyone can make these projects.  I think it’s a great idea, although most of the projects don’t interest me personally.

However the I Can Do That: Gent’s Chest from the December 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine caught my eye.  It has a bit of a retro look that appeals, and it looked like something I could knock out in an afternoon.  I’m also putting together a small kit of tools for my son for Christmas and this seems like a great addition.  So let’s get started.

The materials are pretty simple:

  • Pine 1″ x 8″, at least 6′ long
  • Pine 1″ x 10″, at least 6′ long
  • Pine corner molding
  • Pair of small brass hinges
  • 4D Finishing nails
  • Glue

I started by cutting four pieces from the 1″ x 8″, two at 18″ and two at 7.25″.  I’m using an inexpensive ($30) pull saw made by Vaughn from the local big box store.  Surprisingly, it makes a clean, straight cut with a little care.  Keep the angle of the saw low, use a light touch and be careful not to twist the blade.  It’s at least twice as good as my $12 Ace Hardware back saw, but that’s not saying much.  A little beeswax on the sides of the saw helps it work more smoothly.

After cutting to length I shot the ends of the boards to make sure they were square, and that the pairs of sides were exactly the same length.  The pine boards are not what I (or any person with at least one of their five senses intact) would call straight or square from the store.  The two edges aren’t parallel, they have twists and cups, and for this project I decided I didn’t care.  I shot the ends square to one edge and called it good enough.  The plans call for hiding the nailed butt joints under corner molding anyway.  And yes that is my late-model Stanley #5 being pressed into service.  I lapped the sole, filed the frog flat and fitted a Hock iron and breaker.  It’s now officially marginal.

I nailed and glued the front and back to the two sides and checked that the “joints” were square.  Then I had to rip a small strip to serve as the battens to support the bottom of the chest, which is nailed to the top of these.

And glued them to the inside bottom of the box:

The bottom and lid were cut to length, slightly oversized, and planed to the correct length and width.  The corner molding joints were laid out with an angle square and cut slightly long using the same pull saw, then adjusted on my disk sander to get the angle and length just right.  I need to make another shooting board to be able to shoot 25 degree miters!

After the bottom was nailed in, and the trim glued and nailed in place we have a mostly-finished tool box.  I need to sand it, fit the hinges and apply some finish this morning.  I’m still debating about whether to include the faux raised panel element on the top. I think I have about 2 hours into this project so far.  I think it’s going to serve, but there are some klunky bits I don’t care for.  First, nailing the bottom on top of the battens gives up too much space.  It could be screwed to the bottom of the box and you would gain another 1.5″ of depth.  I cut a rebate on the two long sides of the bottom piece to eliminate some of this loss, but I would do it differently next time.  Also the trim is a little weird.  The joints between the vertical and horizontal trim are going to look a little sloppy because the edge of the trim is rounded — so you have a square cut end butting against a rounded edge.  Also, the trim when viewed from the back looks incomplete.

I’ll finish it according to Megan Fitzpatrick’s instructions and then review the end result.

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