Sliding Lid, Japanese Inspired Toolboxes #2: Cutting and Planing

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Blog entry by FoundSheep posted 05-08-2017 03:01 PM 1132 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Preparation Part 2 of Sliding Lid, Japanese Inspired Toolboxes series no next part

I’ll start this post with a confession: part of this is written as a retrospective. After I drew up the plans and bought the lumber, I sped ahead with one of the tool boxes, building and completing it in preparation for a class I had upcoming. I don’t have any pictures from that build process, so the remaining pictures you see will be from the others being built as this blog series continues. For a sneak peak at what they will look like in the end, here is the first one finished:

But back to the rest of the story.

So with plan in hand I went to the lumber store. My initial thought was to just get S4S material and proceed. I would have preferred to have gotten rough lumber and milled it up, but I wanted to get it going. But while scouring the isles, I found a compromise: 1×12 pine in the rough. I could get some good boards and still prepare them with flexibility, while still not taking as much time if I had to mill from larger stock down. With a stack I was ready to proceed.

A little side story before continuing. After I had started, I ended up getting a old rip saw online, and then after I made the first tool box I got another hand saw at a flea market. These purchases also coincided with my participation on the saw forum (hi guys!). But these additional saws meant I had to rethink the plan. Originally the only two saws I had, my crosscut and carcass, would be fitted under the lid of the main tool box. But now this growing nest of saws needed their own till. One more trip to the lumber store for another stick!

The plan now is to have the main tool box store my planes/hammers with a til for the layouts, another to store the brace/drill and bits, and a longer one to store the saws. I proceeded to first rough cross cut with my first handsaw, giving myself a little 1” extra over. Some of the boards needed a rip to bring them into the right size, and the off cuts would become either matched sides or smaller batten pieces. These pine boards had some nasty case hardening, and would clamp up on rip saw shortly after the first few inches. I first tried switching to a thinner kerf saw, but that too would bind. The best solution I found would be to insert a small wedge in the end of the board after the first few inches. This kept the kerf from closing up on my board, and my rip saw could sing away.

Overall, this was probably the slowest part for me, as I evaluated and re-evaluated each cut. The biggest concern was I wouldn’t waste material. Even with that extra board, it took saving all the offcuts and pulling another length of pine from the scrap pile to get all the pieces allocated. Part of this was due to a design revision following the first tool box, and part of this is due to my inexperience. I made lists, and followed them as I cut everything out, making sure I kept track of how many battens each box needed, and which box I was cutting each piece out for.

But finally, I had everything cut to rough size. Next came thicknessing everything down, using my Dewalt 13” planer. This was a real time saver, allowing me to work quickly and efficiently. The pieces were separated into to piles, depending upon whether they were going to be thicknessed down to 3/4” or 1/2”. The sides and handles would be thicker to provide strength to the toolboxes, while the bottoms, lids, and battens would be thinner to reduce weight. I was able to pass each group through the planer together, slowly reducing the thickness until the desired level. I maintained annotations on the edges, such as “bore l. side”, so I would know which box each piece went to afterwards. After all the thicknessing was done, I laid them out in piles, depicting which completed box they would go to.

The last step I took was preparing the edges with a few swipes of my no. 8 jointer. Since my workbench is still in a semi-completed phase, I had to get creative with a makeshift planing stop and some clamps while I passed the iron over the long edges. Thankfully my shooting board served as a backstop, and the large wooden hand screw clamp enabled me to get the long sides straight and true.

Next will come the final fitting and the (limited) joinery. But as I turn down the shop at the end of the day, I have a nice stack of pieces, all labeled and waiting for the next step.

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

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