Tool Chest: Framing and Planing

In my previous post, I introduced my plans for a new tool chest.  Now the building has begun.

It took me a day and a half to get this far:

The outside dimensions are 34″ wide, 20″ tall, and 20″ deep.  I will eventually add a skirt on the bottom, which will drop down below the bottom to partially conceal the casters.  The front and back frames will be joined with drawbored mortises and tenons.  The side pieces are joined to the front and back with wedged mortises and tenons, as there’s not enough stock for drawboring.

I dimensioned and surfaced all the stock by hand. Cherry planes easily, and the grain on these boards is straight for the most part. The plow plane got a good workout cutting the grooves for the panels. I cut 16 mortise and tenon joints.  I sawed the tenons by hand, but I used a drill press to hog out much of the waste for the mortises. But I didn’t blow out a single mortise wall, so I consider it a success.

I proceed to dimensioning the pecan stock for the panels.

Pecan, like its close cousin hickory, is hard, tough, and difficult to work, even with sharp edges. It planes smoothly enough, but it takes some muscle to push a tool through it. The strength of the wood will be worth the effort in the long run, I hope.

My resawing job on the bandsaw was, um, irregular to say the least. The jack plane saw a LOT of action. I’m starting to wish I had a surface planer, just for rough thicknessing. One of these days.

On a few edges I had to get really aggressive. As you can see, some bugs got into the bark side here. Fortunately they didn’t get in very deep, so the board was salvageable.

Planing spalted wood is like slowly unwrapping a Christmas present. Each shaving you take reveals something a little different. I’m saving the boards with the wildest spalting for the lid.

My fancy glue-up job. The only clamps I had on hand for the battens were the handscrews. Awkward, but effective.

These panels are only 1/2″ thick, which in most woods would be relatively weak.  But pecan does not split easily. (I know because I split the billets out of a log, and nearly killed myself in the process.) The panels will float in 1/4″ grooves, which I think will be strong enough in the long run. If there’s a weak spot in the chest, it’s the groove in the cherry, not the wide, thin panels. I suppose only time will tell, though.

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4 Responses to Tool Chest: Framing and Planing

  1. Pingback: Tool Chest: Beginnings | The Literary Workshop Blog

  2. That is some beautiful cherry you have there!

    Before I had a bandsaw that could cut reliably straight, I used to cut as much as I could using the tablesaw (in several passes) from each edge. Then I’d finish the cut with the bandsaw. My wastage was a consistent 1/8″ – more than a bandsaw kerf, but the cut was always straight.


    • Yes, I believe I’ve seen that technique in Tage Frid. The issue really isn’t my bandsaw, however. Any bandsaw equipped with a good resawing blade ought to be able to resaw fairly accurately. It’s all in how you set the fence, which is not necessarily precisely parallel to the edge of the table. My little bandsaw is perfectly capable of making accurate cuts.

      The real problem is that in order to resaw effectively on either a table saw or a band saw, the workpiece needs two relatively flat reference surfaces at 90* to each other. One surface rides on the table and the other rides along the fence. The difficulty is starting with a log, or with split-out billets. If the log splits straight, then it can be relatively easy. But if the log has a bit of twist, as mine did, then each piece requires a lot of hewing and even planing before sending it through the band saw.

  3. Pingback: Tool Chest: Panels in Frames | The Literary Workshop Blog

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