LumberJocks

Skill Builder Box #1 - Pine valet

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Project by EYoung posted 06-18-2020 11:02 PM 794 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a skill builder box. I’m obviously not much above a beginner and I decided that I had read enough and watched enough videos. It is time to start to build and make mistakes and learn from those.

This is the first box in what I hope will be a series.

Box goals:
  • Build a valet for my wallet, keys, etc.
  • Do mitered corners.
  • Use the golden ratio.
  • Use cheap pine. I used a bit of left-over 2×4.
  • Test how well I can hand plane.
  • Apply some sort of finish.
  • Do a panel glue up.

Process:
Pretty simple. I resawed a 2×4 to approximately 1/2”. I also resawed for the bottom panel to a little over 1/4”.
I cut bevels in the end and didn’t lose a finger so I’m glad for that. Then I cut a groove for the bottom panel (I think I should have reversed those steps). Panel glued up. My clamps were huge for this little project so I may need to consider some smaller clamps. I used a band clamp to put the sides and the bottom panel together. I let that sit overnight.

One long side was taller than the others (or the ends were shorter?). The bottom of the box was flat since it was on my bench during glue up. The top was uneven. A few passes with an aggressive plane and then a few with a smoothing plane and things were looking better. I used the plane to clean up some of the glue on panels and sides. Sanded some by hand, some by random orbital. I then used some wood glue + saw dust from sawing these pieces to try to fill gaps. Yoinks that’s ugly.

Lessons Learned:
  • Cheap pine warps quickly. I had read that it was due to uneven moisture loss so I put my pieces in a ziplock overnight as I couldn’t finish the project in 1 session. I still got warping so maybe that wasn’t useful. Next time I’ll try doing it all in one shot. Also an open question whether other woods would warp less.
  • Bevel cutting on a Shopsmith isn’t fun. I’ll need a jig. This caused me to have to recut the small sides some so I lost my golden ratio.
  • A larger panel for the bottom lets you cut out any issues and still have enough material to work with.
  • Knots in pine can fall out. I have glued them back in with either wood glue or CA glue to fix.
  • Filling gaps with sawdust+glue can only do so much.
  • Don’t trust your band clamp to make things square. (May also be related to wood warping and lack of bevel jig.)
  • Danish oil seems pretty easy. I’m using Watco so I’m not planning to do a top coat.
  • Guidance on finishing is all over the place. I looked for “Should Danish oil have a topcoat” and there are LOTS of opinions.
  • Planes really do work nicely for many tasks involved, even in a machine build.
  • It’s easy to plane too much. My bottom ended up being too thin in some places and just right in others as I tried to plane out the mistakes I made getting it near the right size. I don’t have a proper hand tool bench but some planing stops made from clamps and bits of scrap seemed to work out OK.
Maybe Next time:
  • I may consider a shooting board to help with squaring ends and adjusting bevels.
  • I need to make a bevel jig.




10 comments so far

View bunnie's profile

bunnie

11 posts in 530 days


#1 posted 06-19-2020 12:19 AM

Looks like you got to practice several skills at once. Nicely done!

-- Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none

View EYoung's profile

EYoung

10 posts in 529 days


#2 posted 06-19-2020 10:55 AM



Looks like you got to practice several skills at once. Nicely done!

- bunnie


Thank you!

View RCCinNC's profile

RCCinNC

525 posts in 1609 days


#3 posted 06-19-2020 12:58 PM

Great start to a future of skill building. You’ll find that the learning part never ends!
One thing you didn’t mention though…Did you have fun?

As a Shopsmith owner from years back, I have some fond memories of how I got started in woodworking…but crosscutting and ripping miters on a tilt table was definitely not one of them! If you really get into this hobby, I’d recommend a decent contractor style table saw and then a compound miter saw…and then a…..

Next thing you know, you’ll be in the poor house, but you’ll be happy! ; )

Enjoy the process…And welcome to LJ!

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

View vanislescotty's profile

vanislescotty

17 posts in 2802 days


#4 posted 06-19-2020 06:51 PM

“Cheap pine warps quickly. I had read that it was due to uneven moisture loss so I put my pieces in a ziplock overnight as I couldn’t finish the project in 1 session. I still got warping so maybe that wasn’t useful. Next time I’ll try doing it all in one shot. Also an open question whether other woods would warp less.”

I don’t think the warpage is from ‘cheap’ lumber. Most 2×4 material is not dried to a woodworking level. When we did framing we always liked ‘wetter’ wood because it was easier to drive nails.

So framing lumber requires some drying time before using and hopefully whatever movement that is going to happen will do so during drying.

Resawing can also cause wood movement as different balance of tensions in the wood can be introduced. So this also can require a period of letting the pieces acclimate to see what movement you are going to get. I remember one time we were making custom maple baseboard trim and I started with a wide but straight board that I was ripping down to 3” or so and during the cut the previously flat board curved completely over onto itself. That would be the most extreme example. But it’s not unusual for flat wood to move once its been ripped down to thickness.

Hope this helps and enjoy the process.

Scott

View EYoung's profile

EYoung

10 posts in 529 days


#5 posted 06-19-2020 06:59 PM

@RCCinNC:. Thanks for the encouragement. I actually do have those tools son i’ve paid my dues already :). Did I have fun: yes I did.

@vanislescotry:. The 2×4 pieces were over 10 years old but I do appreciate the advice. Looks like maybe the resaw did it. Should I expect similar from red oak if I resaw it?

View RCCinNC's profile

RCCinNC

525 posts in 1609 days


#6 posted 06-19-2020 08:18 PM



@RCCinNC:. Thanks for the encouragement. I actually do have those tools son i ve paid my dues already :). Did I have fun: yes I did.

@vanislescotry:. The 2×4 pieces were over 10 years old but I do appreciate the advice. Looks like maybe the resaw did it. Should I expect similar from red oak if I resaw it?

- EYoung


In my experience it’s always a good idea to let re-sawn or ripped lumber set for a day or two to adjust for internal tensions that could cause warping/twisting/cupping… and then once stable, machining to final dimension. Flatsawn lumber will be the biggest culprit, but I surprised myself by re-sawing quarter sawn oak and having some of it warp really badly when I built one of my posted projects. I’m still working out how to read wood still…and it can be a bit frustrating at times!

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

View vanislescotty's profile

vanislescotty

17 posts in 2802 days


#7 posted 06-19-2020 10:06 PM

Btw, I like your box. It will make a utilitarian box for around the shop if you aren’t keen on putting it out on public display.
Scott

View Popsnsons's profile

Popsnsons

458 posts in 4264 days


#8 posted 06-20-2020 05:44 PM

Nice…that will definitely serve your purpose. And last a long time to come.

-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

View EYoung's profile

EYoung

10 posts in 529 days


#9 posted 06-20-2020 05:47 PM

Thanks Pops!

View vanislescotty's profile

vanislescotty

17 posts in 2802 days


#10 posted 06-21-2020 04:05 PM

”@vanislescotry:. The 2×4 pieces were over 10 years old but I do appreciate the advice. Looks like maybe the resaw did it. Should I expect similar from red oak if I resaw it?”

In my experience for what it’s worth, any wood has the potential to move but red oak has always been pretty stable to me. I sometimes get impatient with wanting to get on with a project and dont give even minimal time for movement to happen before moving ahead. Even leaving a piece overnite after reading can be enough to tell you if there will be movement.

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