Well, I guess the first thing I should tell you is that I am using some different types of wood for this tool chest. First, I am using some 60+ year old Old Growth Douglas Fir. The DF will be what I make the main 4 sides out of. Now this DF is supper old, supper dry, supper stable, and some of it is just gorgeous. It works like a much harder wood do to the tight growth rings and the fact that the wood is completely seasoned. And I got it for free. Actually, I got all of the wood for the tool chest for free. The second wood that I am using is Sugar Pine. The SP is going to be used for the aprons, the bottom, the lid frame, and the drawers. I might be able to do most of the guts of the chest with it, but I may not have that much. We will just have to wait and see. The third wood will not be revealed until I make the lid. It will make up the panel portion of the lid and is a very special piece that I am sure everyone will like.
So, about a month ago I glued up and milled up my DF panels for the 4 sides. The one thing I had not decided on though was how big I wanted the chest. Originally I was thinking something like 42 x 26 x 26 . WOW was that big. After I cut the first panels to size I seriously started rethinking that one. That is one huge chest. I went back to the saw and cut 2" off everything. And that two inches made a big difference. So, now the chest will be 40 x 24 x 24. This is a little bigger than the version in the book, but it is better for what I am going to be putting in it. One of the deciding tools for the size of the chest is my miter box saw. The saw is 26" with 5" depth of cut. With the handle added to the blade length it is very large. In fact it is longer than my 28" rip saw.
Once I got all the pieces cut to size I went through with a piece of blue chalk and marked all the panels for locations. This is a very important step because I want certain views of the wood from the inside and all of the corners need to be labeled for dovetailing. If the corners are not labeled bad , very bad things can happen.
Riding in style.
Now comes the fun part. Dovetails. Yeah.
For the tails I am using a 4:1 ratio, you can use a framing square to setup your bevel gauge to this angle. Which by the way is a little less of an angle than Chris used in the book. He used a 17 degree angle, I will save you the math problem to figure this out, it comes out to about a 3.25:1 ratio. That's steep.
Once I marked out all 13 tails and my baseline, it is now time to cut, cut, and chop out all the tails. The one cool thing about the way Chris describes doing this in the book is the small rabbet on the backside of the tails that is cut before you cut out the tails. Not only does this help when transferring the tails to the pin board, but it gives your chisel something nice to rest on when chopping out the back side of the tails.
Now I don't know about you but I really don't like to stand up all day if I can help it. Besides the fact that I have been suffering with a foot problem for about two years now, I just don't like bending over that much. So, in comes the sawbench. If you build a sawbench to the correct height and your workbench is a proper hand tool user height, this will feel very comfortable when cutting dovetails. No need to build another vise to put on top of your bench to cut dovetails. Just take a seat and get to work.
Transferring the tails to the pin board.
With all the tails cut its now time to transfer the tails to the pin board. Now that rabbet on the back side really helps with lining up these boards, plus I use to clamps to hold the board in place to that it doesn't move while I am marking. Once that is done I start going to work on the pins.
And with a story like this , you know something bad is about to happen . And , Well, it did.
Damn I hate this thing.
While cutting out the waste my coping saw handle came off. Not to mention the fact that the blades I have just can cut it through this thick material. So, I had to finish the last few cuts just by holding the frame. That was after trying to fix the handle twice. So, I decided to do what any self respecting American would do.
I went inside and bought a Knew Concept fret saw right off there website. So, when this gets to my house in a couple days I can get back to work. Luckily they are in Santa Cruz, CA not far from me, shipping should be fast.
I think for now I will get started on milling some of the sugar pine for the rest of the chest while I wait.