Maple and Cherry Box #4: Finishing Up the Sides, Bottom, and Lid and Ready for Assembly

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Blog entry by Cheapguy82 posted 01-03-2017 05:49 PM 733 reads 1 time favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Box Side Contruction Debacle Part 4 of Maple and Cherry Box series Part 5: Finishing the Box’s Construction. Hilarity Ensues… »

So…I’m a bit nervous. I’m nervous because the progress that I made on this box went very well last night. The other shoe has to drop at some point, right? Maybe the woodworking gods have decided that they’ve given me enough ‘experience’ for this project. Who knows…

Last night, after having re-RE-glued one of my side pieces, I ran all four of them through the planer, being really careful to go as slowly as possible while bringing them all to the same thickness. I averted another disaster and ended up with four pieces with which I was really pleased.

I went to the table saw and brought all sides to the same width then used my table saw sled to cut my 45 degree miters. I decided that by putting each of the pieces side by side on my sled, lining up the stripes, I should have been able to cut everything exact lengths while keeping all the detail lined up, too. I made sure to cut things long to ensure that I had room for error in case this didn’t work out too well the first time. As it turned out, I didn’t need a second shot. Everything went very well and all the stripes lined up all the way around, when comparing the sides to my lid.

I went ahead and cut my box bottom to size and dadoes in my sides to accept it. Once I had that done, I ran through sandpaper grits up to 220. I remembered, after having done this, that I wanted to make this box friction fitting – which means that a lot of the sanding on the box’s interior served little purpose. DOH!
Today, I plan on gluing up the sides with the bottom in place and making sure that the detail on my top still lines up as I finish clamping and making fine adjustments, using a couple band clamps that I got at Harbor Freight for cheap…and with a coupon. I’m going to let that set up before either cutting slots for splines (using a jog that I made) OR putting the top in place. I haven’t decided which to do, yet. I think that having the top in place may provide more stability as I cut the slots, but I may just be acting paranoid.

I’ve already milled ¼” pieces of cherry from one of the blocks that I started with and will put them through the planer this evening to make use of time while the body of my box dries. I will be using these pieces, along with the rest of the curly maple that I have on hand, to build the inside’s dividers. I was just going to use the cherry for the outermost portion (the part that holds the lid in place), but will need to use it in more spots because I’m running out of maple and I don’t want to go buy more right now. Hey – I don’t like to waste stuff…and I’m cheap.

Once my top is on and dry, splines are added, and everything is trimmed flush, I’m going to try to round everything over like Big Al (Boxguy) does, cut the top off, try to make finger indents and apply tung oil, poly, and wax in the same way that he does as well.

As a side note – if you’ve not read any of Al’s (Boxguy’s) tutorials, I’d highly recommend it. Al has a way of clearly and concisely describing his methods that makes everything very easy to see and follow. If you read this, thanks for your tutorials and informational writeups, Al. As someone who is still pretty green to all of this, they gave me confidence to try all this stuff out.

More updates to come. I hope to get this thing into the final straightaway over the next couple days. I’ll have more pics and stories about the stuff I screw up and have to fix as we go along…

Thanks for playing along so far to those of you who have.

-- Stephen - Georgia

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