Posts Tagged With: Underhill Nail Cabinet

Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 8, Finished!

Yesterday afternoon I fit all of the drawers, sanded them and applied a finish to the faces.  This morning I installed the pulls and called it finished, I’m pretty happy with the final result.

After gluing and nailing the drawers they are all just slightly too tight for the openings.  I hit the sides with a plane and sanded the exterior, testing the fit as I went.  I think the end result is decent.  I sanded the fronts to 220 grit and applied a coat of plain linseed oil.  The oil brought out the color and grain in the Alder I used.

Drawers fit, sanded and swabbed with oil

Drawers fit, sanded and swabbed with oil

Oil only, shellac to come

Oil only, shellac to come

 

I left the oil to dry for several hours, then padded on two coats of Garnet shellac.  I made up a simple template to layout the locations for the screws to make sure the pulls ended up in the right place.  I didn’t need to pre-drill any holes, the awl mark was plenty, Alder is pretty soft.

Laying out the locations for the mounting screws for the drawer pulls

Laying out the locations for the mounting screws for the drawer pulls

With the finish applied and the pulls installed I’m calling this done.  I’ll need to make some cards for the pulls to indicate with is in each drawer, but they are mostly empty right now.  I’ll need to order more cut nails and slotted iron screws so I can be in the cool hardware club.

Now, I’m not sure what I want to make next…

Finished

Finished

Nails Fit

Nails Fit

Last Glamor Shot

Last Glamor Shot

 

 

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet Part 7 – Nearly There!

I just finished gluing and nailing the drawers for the “Underhill Nail Cabinet”

The actual assembly of the drawers went quickly, but milling the stock and sizing all of the parts took my quite a few hours.  I re-sawed Pine 1x10s, then jointed and planed them to 1/4″ thick.  Then I flattened and squared some 4/4 Alder and Pine for the fronts and backs.  Then I ripped and cross cut the parts to approximate dimensions, and used a shooting board to accurately size the parts.

Before I could shoot the parts to size I needed to make a shooting board.  I threw away my old board when I did the shop overhaul and hadn’t gotten around to making a new one.  I had something more elaborate in mind — in fact, I’d like to just buy one that is all “scienced out”, like the great one from Tico Voit.  I’ve heard great things about Tico’s board, but we just fitted Kolya with several thousand dollars of orthodontia and my debit card is still smoldering.

Instead I made a simple board out of MDF.  The main point was I wanted it to be accurate without a lot of screwing around.  I used my heavy, thick machinist’s square and a piece of precision ground steel bar to accurately align the cross stop while I shot a couple of pins into it, then added screws for strength.  It came out dead-nuts-on.  I sharpened by LN-62 and that worked OK as a shooting plane, but I discovered that the sides on it are not exactly square to the bottom.  What’s up with that?  I’ll need to buy or make a dedicated shooting plane, but I’m particularly disappointed that this one isn’t square.  Maybe it got dropped at some point or warped over the years?

Making a simple shooting board

Making a simple shooting board

I started by making all of the bottoms.  I cut the parts slightly wider and longer, and used the shooting board to size them each to a specific opening.  The openings have minor differences, I’m hoping to get a nice close fit on all of the drawers.

Shooting the bottoms

Shooting the bottoms

I made one complete drawer as an experiment, so I could see if the sizing was going to work, and anticipate any issues.

Bottoms Done

Bottoms Done

Then I moved on to making all of the sides, then all of the fronts and backs.

Material for the drawer sides

Material for the drawer sides

By the time I had everything sized and ready to glue up I had a blister from the back of the blade on the LN-62 digging into my hand.  I am so ordering a shooting board plane.  I wish LN would make the #52 chute board to go with they LN #51 plane.  That would clinch the deal for me.

Once the parts were made it was pretty simple to glue and nail them together.  I have to sand them all still, my experience so far is they are coming out a slosh oversized for the opening.  I want to make sure the face of the drawer is nice and smooth, including the exposed end grain from the pine sides and bottom.  I’m going to pub a coat of oil on the exposed area, then pad on a couple of coats of shellac.  But first I have to mount the pulls, they should arrive later this week.  I should order some nails to store in this too. after that’s what its for.

Now I’m left wondering what to build next.  The stool build off is next weekend I think — but I’m not sure I have a shop-stool-in-a-weekend in me.  We’ll see.

Drawers Done

Drawers Done

 

 

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Roy Underhill’s Drawers

No, I’m not talking about those drawers, silly.  I’m talking about the drawers I need to build for the nail cabinet.

The drawers in the original are faithfully reproduced in the article, and the construction is a bit odd.  Instead of dovetails, rabbets, tongue-and-groove or any of the other standard drawer construction methods these are build by gluing and nailing the sides and bottom the the edges of the front and back.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 5.48.35 AM

 

I thought (briefly) about dovetailing them instead.  I also thought about veneering the front to cover the exposed end grain, or perhaps running a rabbet around three sides.  In the end I’ll probably just follow the instructions in the article for the experience.  I was concerned about the door (which has glued and nailed miters) being too wimpy, but it turned out OK.  My test joint took a fair amount of force to break (albeit still way less than other construction methods), so these will probably be OK too.

The first step to making the drawers is to prep the stock.  I didn’t want to plane 3/4″ boards down to 1/4″, so I decided to try re-sawing first.  I’ve mostly used my bandsaw for metalworking (it’s in my metal shop after all), using it to cut out profiles in plate stock.  I have it fitted with a fancy re-saw blade from Highland Woodworking, and it has a 7.5 horsepower motor, so it should be up to the task.  I dropped the gearbox into high, turned up the speed and dialed in the blade tension (I still need a bit more I think).  Everything on this WWII era saw is hydraulic, the blade tension, the post height, table angle, table feed (yes table feed, so you could clamp something to the table and feed it through the blade), blade tracking and fine speed adjustment.  Crazy right?  The tension was making me nervous because I had to turn it up a lot higher than I usually do, and the adjuster was making some odd noises.  Maybe the gauge needs to be oiled or something.

Setup for re-sawing

Setup for re-sawing

It took several adjustments of the (cobbled together) MDF re-saw fence to get the tracking right, but I was able to re-saw these 1×10 pine boards into half without too much drama.  The boards were slightly cupped to begin with, and supped even more after re-sawing — I expect from releasing stress.  I was afraid if I flattened the stock before re-sawing I’d have to flatten it again, I’m pretty sure that’s accurate.

Success!

Success!

Then I jointed and planed the re-sawn boards (including my experiments on scraps) into 1/4″ boards, and left them stickered to acclimate.  I think “acclimate” is a five-dollar-word that means “trying to warp”.

I probably need 3 or 4 times this amount to make the drawers, so I’ll get out to the shop one night this week I hope to finish the stock prep job.  I have enough Alder scrap that I’m thinking of using that for the drawer fronts.  I’ll do one drawer as an experiment and see how it comes out. Right now I need to get my teenage son out of bed and off to school, which is way more challenging than making drawers.

Stacked, Stickered and Acclimating

Stacked, Stickered and Acclimating (the plane is for weight)

 

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 5

Nothing like string a simple project out for ever…

I finished up the door, mounted it to the case, sanded and finished the cabinet.  All I have left is to make the drawers, all 21 of them.  Yikes.

After taking the glued-up door out of the clamps I test fit it into the opening, it was actually a pretty good fit right off the bat…even with the little lumps of glue at the corners.  It’s a little too tight, and the gaps aren’t even, but this is what I was hoping for.

First test fit of the door to the case

First test fit of the door to the case

I knocked the glue lumps off, and shimmed the door in the opening to see how the fit was.  I worked my way around the perimeter of the door and got the gaps as even as I could.  I decided to only mortise the hinges into the door, just for expediency.  In the end, I’m pretty happy with the fit of the door to the case.

Door Hung and Gapped

Door Hung and Gapped

I epoxied two rare earth magnets, one in the door and one in the opening, to hold the door closed.  I have an irrational fear of putting one of the magnets in backwards and having a door that you can’t close.

Finally, I pulled the door back off for finishing.  Everything was sanded with 220, and I brushed on some orange shellac., trying to keep the color even.  Then I rubbed it out with 0000 steel wool and wax, re-mounted the door and hung the cabinet on the wall.  I just love the feel of shellac that’s been rubbed out with steel wool and wax, it’s just silky smooth.

I’m not happy with where this is mounted and I’ll end up moving it later.  It’s too close to the workbench, and the dust collector keeps the door from opening far enough.  But it’s off the workbench and out of the way so I can start processing stock for the TWENTY ONE drawers.  Good grief.

Completed case hung on the wall by my workbench

Completed case hung on the wall by my workbench

The inside, less the 21 drawers I still have to make...

The inside, less the 21 drawers I still have to make…

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 4

Just a quick update, I glued up the door for the nail cabinet this morning.  It went smoothly, and I’m eager to see how the door fits the opening.  I sized the components so it should be a close fit, and need to be planed slightly on all the edges to get it to fit with about a 1/8″ gap all around.

I made a test piece first to check my process, and it pointed out a couple of problems.  I was also curious how strong a mitered but joint would be.  I put glue on all of the miter faces and let it sit for 5 minutes — not surprisingly, most of the glue was absorbed into the end grain.  I put a second coat on, then clamped everything together.  After drying overnight I tried flexing it and the joint held.  I’m pretty sure I could break it with more pressure, but I’m relieved it didn’t just fall apart t the first hint of stress.

I did a couple of dry fits to make sure the panel fit properly — I had it a skosh too big at first and the miters wouldn’t close.  I made the necessary adjustments, and re-checked.  Before glueing I padded a coat of Orange shellac onto the panel and the inside edges of the door frame.

Parts ready for assembly

Parts ready for assembly

Then, glue and clamps.  In the article Chris said to put a nail in each miter, then clamped the assembly with regular bar clamps.  That would probably work, but knowing I’d be planing the perimeter of the door frame to fit the opening I was worried about running into a nail with my plane.  Instead I bought some spring miter clamps and used those to hold the miters closed.  They seem to work well for this application, they draw the miter closed but still allow me to tweak it slightly to make sure it’s 100% aligned.  After the for is fit to the opening I’ll either add some nails to reinforce the joints, or add a spline to reinforce the corners.

I’ll leave this to dry until tomorrow, then fit it to the case and install the hinges.  I put several heavy planes across the stiles to make sure it stays flat while it drys.  Then I have a lot of drawers to make, and I still need to buy hardware for them.

Glued, Clamped, Fingers Crossed

Glued, Clamped, Fingers Crossed

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 3

Moving right along, I finished up the case yesterday, leaving just the door and drawers to do.  I added a cleat to hang the hang the cabinet that is recessed in the crate trim — I hope I don’t regret that.  It means that the cabinet needs to hang exactly over two studs, but it also won’t show when the cabinet is hung.  I really hate drywall walls.  In my dream shop I’d have plywood or shiplap walls.

Anyway, here is how yesterday went – excluding photos of grocery shopping and laundry…

I started with the back, I machined some stock to 3/8″ thick and cut a 3/16″ rabbet in two edges to make the back.  I padded on a quick coat of shellac, skipping out the outer edge of the inside face so I could glue it.  I glued just the vertical edge of the two panels, and nailed them all around.

Plowing a rabbet for the shiplap back

Plowing a rabbet for the shiplap back

Pre-finish the inside, except for the outer vertical edge, which gets glued.

Pre-finish the inside, except for the outer vertical edge, which gets glued.

The back in place

The back in place

Next I ripped some strips to make the “crate” banding.  I don’t really follow the reasoning on the width.  On the sides it’s 2 1/4″ stiles and 1 3/4″ rails, while the top and bottom have 2″ rails and stiles.  And the bottom, front rail extends out wider than the cabinet.  But I’m just dutifully following instructions, when people ask I will just tell them it’s “an exact reproduction of Roy’s”.

I’m already worrying about what to do for the beer girl poster on the inside of the door, I saw one on ebay for $800 which is out of my budget for this project.  You might think this is a cheap build, you might also be surprised.  Compared to a lot of projects I suppose that’s true.  Here is the tally as I see it:  Probably five ten-foot 1 x12’s at $15 each, so about $75 for lumber.  I’ve used three boards so far, not counting the waste from re-making the dividers, to get to this stage.  I am sure I’ll need at least two more to make the door and all of the drawers – more if I don’t re-saw to get the thin stock for the drawers.  Add in a pair of hinges ($20.40), $25 worth of knobs and $58 for the 14 bin pulls and you’re quickly over $175.  I’ll probably look for some cheaper hardware for this, it’s not a piece of fine furniture, just a useful shop accessory.

Anyway, the crate trimmings were like falling off a log.  Cut to length, glue and nail on.  I used my pin nailer on these as I didn’t have any cut nails (or even wire nails) the right length.  The glue will provide the strength, and they don’t have a lot to do structurally other than hold the door.

French cleat on the back, covered by the side battens

French cleat on the back, covered by the side battens

Side battens in place, net the top and bottom

Side battens in place, next I’ll add the top and bottom

Completed case

Completed case

Completed case for the nail storage cabinet

Completed case for the nail storage cabinet

 

 

 

 

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 2

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.

Too Tight!

Too Tight!

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.

Strike Two!

Strike Two!

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.

These should fit OK...

These should fit OK…

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.

Success!

Success!

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.

IMG_1289

Laying out the guide lines for nailing

The "layout gizmo", slide it over the carcase side, align with each divider and mark the outside of the case.

The “layout gizmo”, slide it over the carcase side, align with each divider and mark the outside of the case.

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.

Divider Secured!

Divider Secured!

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.

Dovetail Glamor Shot.  Not perfect, but not terrible either.

Dovetail Glamor Shot. Not perfect, but not terrible either.

I'm still surprised this worked out...

I’m still surprised this worked out…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, Part 1

In the February 2014 issue of Popular Woodworking (available online, free!) Chris Schwarz contributed an article on Roy Underhill’s nail cabinet.  I’ve seen that in the background of every show I’ve watched, but never realized what it was — this is the picture that is on the inside door of the cabinet.

Bock Beer Poster

Bock Beer Poster

Anyway, I had three 1×12 pine boards in the shop and a couple of days before I go back to work, so I decided I’d build it.  It’s a little bit of an odd piece.  As the story goes, the original was made by some unknown woodworker out of a match crate.  The plans reflect that, you basically build a crate, fit it with egg crate dividers and 21 drawers.  I wouldn’t have designed it like this…and I almost re-designed it, but instead decided just to build it according to the article.

I started by laying out the sides and top/bottom for the carcase on a 1×12.  I used my power tools to dimension the parts.  I’ve decided I like dimensioning stock with a planer and jointer when I can.  It’s fast and efficient and accurate.  I planed the sides to 1/2″ (per the instructions), the top and bottom were supposed to be 3/4″ but by the time I got the worst of the cupping out it was a bit over 5/8″.

Rough Layout

Rough Layout

Now I get more dovetail practice, yippee!  I did the “140 trick” — planing a shallow rabbet in the ends of the tail boards.  This gives the board s positive edge to register against the pin board when transferring the location of the tails.  It worked really well.

The "140" Trick

The “140” Trick

I think my next project needs to be a Moxon vise, it would really help with dovetailing wide boards.

Ready to cut the tails

Ready to cut the tails

It’s probably not clear in the pictures, but I ganged the two sides together and cut the tails on both boards at once.  The rabbet is on the inside faces of these boards, so you can’t see it.

IMG_1280

Tails Cut

Transferring the tails was simple since I had a nice clean rabbet to align the boards.  I had some small issues with the stability of the pin board.  It is slightly cupped, and not well supported on the right side (and it flexes).  This is why I’m eager to build a Moxon vise, that will totally solve this sort of problem.

Transferring the tails

Transferring the tails

I dry fit all of the joints as I chopped them, then I dry fit the entire carcase and checked it for square.

Dry Fit

Dry Fit

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the dovetails on this.  I had a few small issues.  Unfortunately, none of the will show in the finished cabinet, they get covered with battens to make it look like a crate.

This is what I'm building

This is what I’m building

After a final dry fit I disassembled the carcase, lightly sanded the inside faces with 220 and rubbed on a coat of orange shellac.  Then I buttered all of the pins and tails with Titebond III and assembled it.  I checked the diagonals and it is square.  I’m going to start making the egg crate dividers for the interior next.  That’s the part that I’m most concerned about.  If the case is out of square or bowed it isn’t going to fit well.  It just gets nailed in too.  like I said, not how I would have designed it, but it should work out ok.  Right?  Fingers crossed…

Clamped and Square

Clamped and Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

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