Making Boxes- A Guest Post by
In other words, mistakes are very costly and something to be avoided. All that and we need to get it done NOW, too.
So, what do I like to do to relax? Play with wood in a way that is a thousand times more persnickety, more unforgiving and more cuss worthy.
At least the time constraints aren't an issue! Usually.
I've decided to put the shop back together and in doing so I've had to reset, tune up and test out all of the tools. This little box is part of that process.
It's nothing special. Some maple, padauk (from Africa) and a mystery wood that I think comes from either Africa or South America. You see, I have a pile of old scraps that I've stored in the basement. There are a few things in there that I can't identify. The majority of the top is mystery wood, with the padauk in the middle bracketed by a thin strip of maple on each side. I sawed the mystery wood in half, ripped a couple strips of maple and a piece of padauk, glued it all up, made sure the grain was going in the right direction and clamped it together. After it dried I belt sanded it flat, squared it up and cut it to size.
The angles were cut into it using a Delta tenoning jig. The relieved section on the bottom was done with a router mounted in a router table. It creates a raised center that just fits in the box to keep the lid in place. I also used the router to make the small cut around the bottom of the box. The reason for that little cut is to create a shadow line. Details, details.
The body of the box is 1/2 inch maple, resawn from some larger scraps I found, and the little splines at the top are made from the padauk. The bottom is made from a piece of eastern red cedar from our property. I made the box using miter joints. Not my preferred method of joinery but this was just a box made to test equipment. The splines, while being a nice decorative addition, will also help to strengthen what is an otherwise inherently weak joint.
Even though this is a very simple little box it still requires accuracy levels at or better than 1/64 of an inch. See what I mean about persnickety? Building it let me see where I needed to tighten things up. It found the weak links in the system and now I'll have to address them. Blade vibration, the bandsaw needs a bit more tuning, the carpenter needs to bust out the instruction manuals and brush up - things like that. It also pointed out the very limited usefulness of my jobsite tablesaw. It's as dialed in as it can get, probably withing a couple thousandths, but is still isn't adequate, for a variety of reasons. I can't put my shop saw together yet. It's a BIG piece of equipment and I need to make room for it. The new carport is coming in a few weeks so the John Deere will move out of the garage and the saw will move in.
I'm sure that Kathy will have more about putting the shop back together in coming posts. After all, why bother going to all this trouble if it doesn't provide fodder for the blog? :) I'll try to show and explain the tools and techniques that carpenters use. And I hope to show Kathy doing some of the work, too! She always liked using the bandsaw. With the fine scrolling blade it can cut some intricate designs. And bandsaws are just about the safest saws in the shop, too. I'll explain why when we get around to seeing the quilter getting her woodworker on.