Maple and Cherry Box #6: Splines, Shaping, Sanding, and (Unfortunately) More 'Learning Experiences'

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Cheapguy82 posted 01-07-2017 04:54 PM 986 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Finishing the Box’s Construction. Hilarity Ensues… Part 6 of Maple and Cherry Box series Part 7: Fixes, Finger Joints, Sanding, and Finishing Prep »

I took the clamps off of my box and flush trimmed the lid using my router before doing some sanding to remove and glue or dings and dents that were especially bad to my eye. I didn’t really go nuts sanding, as I planned on doing it thoroughly and properly once all splines and any additional detail had been trimmed and shaping had been completed.

I cut the kerfs for my splines with a newer blade of mine, which was a mistake. Since I’m cheap and don’t have $100 to spend on a single saw blade with flat topped teeth – and since I don’t have a router table (which I could’ve used my sled on to cut flat bottomed kerfs) – I had been using a really old blade with worn teeth to do this in the past. Honestly, that worked out pretty well for me. I will be either doing that or getting more equipment.

After cleaning up the extra material on my splines and sanding them flush, I put a roundover bit on my router and went to work. Rounding the top went very well. The corners didn’t go that poorly, either. When I got to the bottom, I had issues. I think that this was because there was not a lot of material to support the cuts. I had a piece of cherry go flying and the cut went JUST too deep in all four corners. I also had another piece of cherry split and a part of the base split lengthwise. I luckily found most of the piece of cherry that went flying, to I glued that in place. I had to trim it flat on its end and add another piece of cherry to complete the patch. We’ll see how that ends up looking. For the splits, all I could to was let them spread, insert glue, clamp, and hope for the best.

I know that I write in a self-deprecating tone to be funny, but this project has been very frustrating for me. I hate taking beautiful wood and wasting it. I also think that some folks have had the experience where you don’t have quite the right tool and have to make things work as efficiently or precisely as you know is possible, while hoping for the best. I don’t have a router table or band saw. Those are two pretty basic pieces of equipment in a woodworking shop in my opinion. Neither of those two items are overly cheap, either. I don’t know if my saying that is like the golfer who is always complaining that a new club would make him hit the ball straighter or farther. I’m open to opinions on that one. I’m sure that there are plenty of folks on here who have tried withOUT the right tools and have since gotten them. Has it made a world of difference? Do you think it would make my work and experience better, overall? I’d like to know what you think.

Trying to make lemonade from lemons, I suppose that my situation gives me the opportunity to practice repairs, which I think is certainly a good skill set to have. In the long run, it would be really nice to not have to spend time messing with fixing stuff that shouldn’t occur.

Once my newest round of repairs sets up, I’m going to gingerly trim and sand everything. Once that’s done, I can cut the top, try out making some finger lifts, and start finishing. I’m looking forward to being done with the ‘repair phase’ and getting into the finishing one. We’ll see how it goes.

Thanks for reading and for any comments or responses!

-- Stephen - Georgia

2 comments so far

View EngineerChic's profile


34 posts in 1785 days

#1 posted 01-07-2017 10:39 PM

As a newbie woodworker, my experience has been that every new tool is making things easier. Router table makes making moldings a lot easier for building frames. The push sticks make running the table saw better. And a miter trimmer may seem like cheating but it works great compared to trying to get it right on the table saw.

Yes, it is frustrating to not have the right tools and try to make it work with what you do have. I feel that the most when someone else says, “what if you just made this fit with that?” and I’m thinking ,”how the hell do I make that cut with the tools I have and not lose 2.3 fingers in the process???”

Some days, though, I take a perverse pleasure in seeing how much I can accomplish in a small space with extremely limited tools.

View Cheapguy82's profile


83 posts in 1814 days

#2 posted 01-07-2017 11:55 PM

“how the hell do I make that cut with the tools I have and not lose 2.3 fingers in the process???”

LOL! I think the same thing a lot of the time. I just make sure that my health and life insurance premiums have been paid first :)

Since I can’t afford the latest and greatest, I try to get tool on sale or from someone who has been doing God knows what to them how God knows how long. Taking them and trying to make them accurate is a challenge. There’s no instruction manual for the type of stuff that is wrong with my stuff. I find that sites/communities are great to help with stuff like that because (1) the folks on here are very knowledgeable and very willing to teach and help and (2) they’re a heck of a lot more experienced than I am. I love this site.

In any event, I’ll keep on keepin’ on and see if I can’t learn a thing or two along the way.

Thanks for the comment, EngineerChic!

-- Stephen - Georgia

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics