Almost there…

So I was a bit sneaky this morning and went to the shed for ten minutes before heading off to work. I’d prepped the part for the end cap on the toolbox last night but because I’d clamped up the base I couldn’t glue it on without risking either it or the base shifting when clamping. So this morning I went out, took off the clamps from the base, made sure I had clean gluing surfaces and glued up the end cap and clamped it. And of course, as you’re in a hurry, everything gets irksome and fiddly.

Why on earth did it choose this morning to lose it’s head? 😀

But I got it clamped in the end.

Then off I went to work and later this evening…

Sawed the end cap flush with the flushcut saw, planed the base flush (with lots of chamfering to prevent spelching – not sure how you’d fix that at this stage) and then started cleaning up squeezeout.

Y’know, I thought those plastic razor blade things would be a total gimmick, but for stuff like this they’re actually quite useful. I did still have to do some careful chisel work but the bulk of the removal was very straightforward using this and the best part of the plastic blades is that you really have to abuse them to nick the piece so you don’t have to be quite so careful as you do with a chisel.

All nice and clean. I do still have to pass over the sides with a last smoothing plane pass and probably some sandpaper, but that’s for later.

Next up, glueing the first stop on the lid after trimming it carefully to length. I’ve shaped the inner edge of that stop so it’s a little less abrupt.

This is all going to make more sense when it’s done.

Also, I gave the inside of the box a quick swipe with some danish oil – it’ll be easier to do it now when I have access. The other end cap will go on tomorrow and after that it’ll be harder to not have any missed bits inside, so I’ve done the one inner coat I was planning on now. Should make it easier.

And done for the day. Material for the other endcap prepped in the background, but I still need to find material for the key – it and the lid will be distinctive and everything else will be beech or the walnut pegs. It doesn’t look too bad so far.

Speaking of finish, time to check how those purple stains dried…

Interesting. The neat stain is definitely too dark, as is the light purple over dark blue; and the lightest purple just looks like the wood’s grubby, but the higher concentration of the stain doesn’t look too bad. Needs to be even more concentrated but I think we have a good possible there. I won’t get back to the locker till next week though, but it gives the joinery and the wood for the door time to rest and move if they’re going to. And gives me time to think about decoration. What happens if you cut very white stringing into a stained wood I wonder…?

Bases and colours

So the camera battery complained about being empty on Sunday and it got a few hours in the charger, but then come Monday, it said it was flat again. Hmmm. A replacement knockoff has been ebay’d. However, the fabrication of the handles and the glueup got missed. It wasn’t that hard, cut a piece of beech to width so it fits in the end of the box, then make a 1cm deep cross cut in the middle of the piece and chisel out a curve in it, then give up because the piece is too small to work on with the vices I have (I really need a sculptor’s vice sort of thing for a job like that) and cut the curve with the bandsaw and clean up by hand with chisels, small wooden spokeshave and sandpaper, then glue it in place. The following day (ie. today)…

Oh, and I cut the pegs flush and planed down a bit as well. They came out nice. Now to check the handles.

In need of a swipe with the #04…

And some squinting. Yikes that looks grotty. It’s nowhere near that bad in real life, but the handle is proud of the ends and top so it’ll be planed back flush.

All nice and neat again. I also glued up a panel for the base when I added the handles, so I planed that clean as well…

I spent a few minutes planing the lid to width and picking out wood for the end caps and the locking parts. I’m leaning towards all beech for those parts, with maybe just the key being something distinctive. We’ll see. First, the base…

And back to waiting on glue again. There’s a lot of that in this build I’m noticing. These boxes aren’t so much difficult as they are slow because stuff has to be done step by step and you can’t really do stuff ahead of assembly or in parallel – or at least, I haven’t figured out how to. If you were making them in batches you could crank them out I imagine, but one-offs seem to just be a slow thing by their nature.

Tomorrow, one end cap gets glued on and the lid gets its non-locking support bit. I don’t know the name for the part, but you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

Oh, and boss lady chimed in and she wants her locker purple. Good thing I have some stuff from crimson guitars…

The idea is you use the eyedropper to add the stain drop by drop to water to build up the colour, right?

Looks okay…

Hm. That looks thin as skim milk. Ugh. Added a drop more, still quite thin. Mixed with the blue stain underneath it’s too dark.

Rubbed on directly, the stain’s too dark as well, it definitely needs some dilution.

There might be a stain level in there somewhere that works, but it’s as messy as all get-out. But the purple *does* work if you add it to the cloth and then add water by spray can to the cloth before you rub it in, you get results like this:

I think that hue on the far left is what we want here, and to avoid going too dark. Might need to practice more, the planed beech surface doesn’t absorb water too readily.

Of course I may need to do some brazing first, my water can fell prey to the cold spell and an accidental knock. But I have brazing rod and a propane torch…

Plugging away…

So first things first, take the clamps off and see if the hide glue cured…

Not too bad, lots of squeezeout in places but I can deal with that.

Well, bugger. I thought I had that better aligned than that and there’s no real way to fix it now. Feck.

Clean up the squeezeout and smooth the surfaces. Mostly the #04 with a few pieces done by card scraper. Not too bad. Broke the sharp edges as well.

Couldn’t get all the edges with the #04 though, so various other tools made an appearance. And then leveled the legs so it didn’t rock. I don’t like MDF for, well, anything, but it is nice to have a flat surface for this sort of thing and I don’t have room for a granite slab so I do keep a piece or two of MDF handy for this task.

Not bad, but now I have to plug those gaps at the top rear corner where the dovetails used to be. Should be simple, cut a block of wood to fit oversize, glue it in, let the glue set, cut it flush with the flush-cut saw and then some chisel work and some sanding…

…looks okay to me!

Okay, that now goes to rest for a little while so I can figure out the door, decoration, finishing and so on. I’ll have to give it another smoothing or sanding pass before finishing, but when you see it in the flesh it looks far more even than it does in the photos, and it’s smooth to the fingertips.

But first…

Glued up the carcass of the toolbox, and cut the mangled rebates off the old sides – they’ll make good material for handles or the top parts.

While the glue dries, it’s time to make pegs from some small offcuts of walnut that have reasonably straight grain. These are left over from making the sidecar cot from a while ago…

Smashy smashy!

It’s always the last one….

Still, I can use those. The short one I’ll use for a test hole, I haven’t used the brace on beech before now.

Drills reasonably well, but lots more dust than shavings off the bit than I’d see in something like oak. Takes a lot more effort to get through. I’m pretty sure that bit’s sharp as well, it definitely wanted a bite out of my fingertips. Now to flushcut and then plane down to see how well it looks…

That’s quite nice actually. Good fit too.

And with the glue dried, plane down the edges until we’re all level and not rocking (again, the MDF sheet’s handy as a reference surface here. I really want to flatten my benchtop but there just isn’t room to do so in the shed).

Some marking out and drilling of holes…

And in go the pegs and the glue. I’ll let it set up then trim off the pegs and they’ll go on to make more pegs later on.

And I glued up a panel for the base. Gotta love sprung joints. I’ll plane up and cut to size tomorrow. And lastly, a quick test of finishes – on the left, danish oil; on the right, crimson guitar’s royal blue stain (just because). I must find out if boss lady wants her locker any particular colour…

That blue is seriously intense while wet, it’s mucking up the camera’s colour balance even against a white background.


Belting up

A few hours in the shed today that felt productive (it’s a false positive; it was just that a few end stages happened at the same time). Started off with the final fettling of the carcass for the locker and then smoothed all the interior surfaces and rounded the corners I won’t be able to readily reach after glueup.

20 minutes with #04 and card scraper and we’re ready to glue up.

Prepped an mdf surface to assemble on…

Final dry run…

Okay, looks good, knock it apart and start the glue-up.

Mise en place is as important in woodworking as it is in the kitchen…

And that’s the carcass glued up and left to cure (the back’s not glued on yet).

Then it was time to fix the bandsaw. I got some 120XL037 belts from RS (they didn’t have 124XL037, but the motor’s on an adjustable mount so I should be able to get away with it…)

Found there’s a tool I could use…

Circlips are a bit of a pain without the appropriate pliers. Bit fiddly. But managed not to break it which was good.

Then found these on the floor with all the sawdust and the teeth from the last belt. Took me a minute to recognise the lower thrust bearing from the bandsaw…

Must have come off during the resawing. That’s not exactly reassuring. Remounted them, and added it to the list of things to check.

Fitted the belt, put the wheel back on and tensioned the belt and locked the motor in place, put the blade back on and tensioned that and got everything all set up, then ripped down about five feet of beech from 150mm wide to half that (I’m planning on making a few small boxes and things with that), planed edges on all of the ripped sections (1×1′, 2×2′) so I could resaw them (hence the 73mm width, it’s the max for the saw), set up the fence for one board to resaw it to 1/4″ and 3/4″ pieces and resawed that down to size. The japanese toolbox idea I was playing with needed to have new edge pieces cut. I had tried to cut housing joints by saw and, well…

Yeah, don’t do that. Left a massive gap I couldn’t have hidden. I’ll probably slice off the bits with the joints and use the center section for the lid components or the handles.

First, cut new housing joints on the new pieces (after planing, of course). Usual procedure – knifewall, chop down, pare to wall, chop, pare, chop, pare until we’re to depth, then mark off the other side off the piece to fit, and repeat.

Went faster than before; I’m getting used to working in beech (and enjoying it). And I might have figured out how to do a reasonable housing joint.

And it wasn’t too late, so I cut the joints on the far side as well.

Right. I’ll fettle it tomorrow (just to get the reference faces all coplanar) and glue it up, then maybe drill for the dowel pins (won’t use nails on this one), and make some pegs for them from some walnut scraps I have handy that are too short for any other use.

Definitely enough material there for the lid and handle pieces.

Last job for the evening, glue on the back panel for the locker.

Fiddly but not too bad, it was so fettled that I really could have let the glue hold it in place. But if you have the clamps, might as well cinch it up (the C-clamps aren’t actually tightened down very much at all here, just snugged up to hold the back panel in while the f-clamps get tightened to get the edges in contact).

It’s not looking terrible, even if I’m saying so myself. Still need to level the legs, but that’ll do for later on. And I still haven’t the door sorted out yet, I’m thinking about how to decorate the piece of beech I have planed and set aside for the job.


I mean, what’s the point of practicing stringing if you don’t do any? 😀


Also, how the hell do you finish beech so it looks good?
To the forums!



So the repair job from yesterday went reasonably well. There’s a lot of excess CA to clean up, that took a few minutes for the face side, and a bit longer for inside the rebate itself. Lots of chisel work, some scraping, and dug out the Record 311 with the nose off and the 077 to fettle things and clean up the rabbet to get a square inside corner. Then cut the rabbet on the other side wall, which took far less time and had no drama to it, then cut the rebate in the top piece and then test fitted it and realised my mistake – by cutting the rebate in the top, I’d introduced a gap where I thought there wouldn’t be one. How I didn’t see that coming I don’t know. So I fudged, and sawed off the rebated part, right through the dovetail joint, and the back panel will do the filling.

And then, fettling. Assemble everything, stare at it, notice one wall is not parallel to the other, figure out which of the three cross-pieces is at fault, knock it all apart, shorten the offending piece (of course it’s the one with the dovetails, so cut them 2mm deeper), reassemble everything and repeat seven or eight times, sneaking up on square gradually.

Once I was finally happy with that, I took the panel for the back, squared an edge and an end (didn’t matter if it spelched out on the far side from the squared edge because that’s coming off anyway), and fitted it in place and mark off the far side against the other side wall, and then saw outside that line and plane down to it, and test fit.

And then do the fettling cycle two or three more times, taking a shaving here and a shaving there. And eventually…

Not terrible. Some gaps here and there, so it’s not perfect, but could be a lot worse. Still have to cut the panel to length, that’s marked out for, but first check it over.

Dovetails close up (mostly). Might need to plane that top piece a bit more yet at the back to let the panel sit better on the left there. And then check for square…

That’s all grand to within 0.2mm or so, which I’m okayish with for now (hey, I’ve never worked in beech before, I’m getting used to it, okay? Plus, that’s rather thin stock, it’s just under a half-inch there).

One last joint that I’m not happy with…

Need to knock that apart and give that marked spot a swipe with the block plane, let the front of the side panel close up there. Hm. But that wouldn’t explain those gaps in the middle and rear dovetails on that side and the front dovetail is tight up – maybe I need to pare that dovetail just a hair deeper instead. Or it could be both. The joy of fettling…








…oh, and I need to fit the door as well at some point. And I got two bandsaw belts in the post today that I need to check – they were 120XL037s instead of 124XL037s but they might be close enough to do for a few days until the proper size ones arrive…

A busy weekend…

…and almost none of it spent in the shed, but for once that wasn’t a bad thing 🙂

(I know this might be confusing if you’re reading this outside Ireland, but check the international news, we wound up in it almost everywhere). Herself was canvassing and leafletting and doing her part for this for the last few weeks, and we were all a bit on edge throughout because the No campaign were being violent and abusive and just plain nasty in an attempt to drive down turnout for the vote, but in the end people remembered thirty-five years of suffering and overwhelmingly voted yes. After which, to be frank, we were all a bit weepy and wiped out. Herself went in to Dublin Castle for the official announcement, and I went off with Junior to the grandparents to decompress and grill some hamburgers, and we all went home and crashed that evening with a plan to not even move the next day if we didn’t have to.

But I figured the shed might help me unwind a little so…

First things first, grind a camber onto the new scrub plane…

I’m always convinced this stage is going to ignite six litres of shellac and finishes so I’m not hugely fond of it but needs must…

Then on to the stones to fine tune the bevel and hone it.

Well, that worked…

And a slightly less aggressive camber than Sid’s. So, Sid gets relegated to the toolbox for the foreseeable; he may be dug out again if I ever need to thickness a lot of pine or something like that, but he tended to bite me as much as he’d bite the wood, so I’d rather stick with the new plane, it lets me bleed less on the work which will hopefully improve the final finish of pieces. Happily, I didn’t have to do anything to the mouth, so the guilt of mangling an old but perfectly fine Record #04 wasn’t triggered.

In its new home.

And now my wall is almost 100% record (bar the two stanley block planes and the preston spokeshaves). Which is odd because I didn’t start out looking to make a collection, but I seem to have wound up with one anyway.

Oh well. Time to actually use the sodding things now. I have some rough cut pieces still ready to start in on…

But I’m not actually touching those today, I wanted to get a feel for what beech is like to work so I’m prepping some pieces for a simple box first from the offcut left over from doing those rough cuts.

Ripped the offcut in half and planed to matching width.

Then flattened one side and thicknessed with the new scrub plane. Honestly, this is not my favourite part of this hobby.

And it generates a lot of mess…

But I got the pieces thicknessed and flattened on both sides, and shot the ends square and then cut out 8″ and 5″ lengths for the sides of the box.

…and I don’t like the proportions. Hm. I wanted to use the rippled sycamore for the lid here, so I think I’ll let it dictate the proportions; that should shrink the width by a solid inch here which I think might work. It’ll be a japanese style tool box thing when its done, if a little bit fancier than those normally get made because I want to use pegs instead of nails and try to make it pretty. We’ll see if it works 😀

I’ll probably just futz with the proportions stuff and maybe cut the housing joints here tomorrow, and then I want to get on with the resawing and prep work on the pile of rough cuts for the box, it’s for a present and I’d like to get a start on it. And I’m seriously thinking about taking this Friday off as it’s the June bank holiday weekend and a four day weekend right now sounds almost scandalously luxurious…

More stringing tests…

Hmmm. Well, the veneer I cut myself was a total failure, but then I could guess that as it came off the bandsaw – that thing is just not up to fine work.

I mean, maybe if you just needed a wavering line that left gaps in some places and was full width in others, but that’s kindof a specialist sort of need 😀

The doubled-up sheets of 0.6mm veneer were… okay, but a little fiddly. The result was okay though.

(That’s the single sheet on the left and the two-sheets-glued-together on the right)
Looks even better from a small remove:

Still though. Would rather get the thicker veneer. The search continues….


Oh, and some more photos of the record frog from the new and old #04, it seems to be an oddity apparently.

Hiding from the sunshine

Fairly ugly weather here for the last month or so, and between that and a broken tooth that developed an abscess and needed a root canal, I’ve just not been in the mood for the shed. But today was sunny for the first time in about five hundred years, and I’d bitten through the second temporary filling the dentist had fitted for the period between “drilling all the pulp out of the tooth” and “finishing off the root canal”, so I figured I’d go hide in the shed and play for a while.

Also, a new toy had arrived:

Nice early version of a Record #04, bought to be used as a scrub plane. I already have Sid:

Sid was made from a cheap-as-chips €12 #4 and for rough work it was grand, but the casting isn’t great and it digs into my hands until they bleed and the front tote keeps unscrewing, so I figured a Record #04 would be a good idea. Wouldn’t cost that much (and it didn’t, it came to about €30 with shipping) and it’d fit better (it does). I can keep Sid for really heavy work and use the new #04 as the workaday scrub instead. It was in much better condition than I thought it’d be mind you.

Needs to have the cosmoline gunk taken off the frog and the blade reground to give it a camber, and I might need to file the mouth a bit wider but other than that it should be grand.

It’s a bit shorter than Sid, but oddly, it’s also a bit shorter than my other #04, which is from the same vintage as far as I can tell from blade and frog and adjustment levers and so forth:

That’s a little weird. But okay. And as a bonus, I can finally clear out the interloper from my plane till…

…and just go full Record 😀


Anyway, on to veneers. I thought I’d found a source for constructional veneer…

Colour’s excellent; but the thickness is still 0.6mm 🙁 I’ve glued up two layers between two clamped sheets of MDF to see if I can build up a thicker veneer. In the meantime the search for better veneers goes on.

Mind you, it doesn’t look *terrible*….

The single thickness isn’t great as there’s a very visible gap beside it:

A double thickness isn’t too bad, but still not perfect.

And I need something to actually put stringing into, so…

Simple housing joints for the shelf, I’ll dovetail the back rails in tomorrow, and that’ll give me some large areas to try stringing on.


Blood, gouges and drawbores

Started off the day with the noisier tasks to get them out of the way…

There’s not a lot of art here. Rive the stick to about the diameter you want, pound it through the hole with the big hammer several times, move on to smaller hole until desired size reached, sharpen slightly, continue on. And it’s noisy, so ear defenders. But, keep going and you finally have all you need minus one (because the universe hates you, there will always be a need for one more than you have).

Then on to finishing off the carving.

It’s a fairly simple design on the bottom. Mark off every inch on the two reeds I cut yesterday.

Then chop down vertically with the gouge (whose profile matches the reed pretty closely) on each spot on one reed.

Then flip the piece and chop down at each spot on the other reed, only offset a little (judge this by eye) so it looks like a kindof backwards ‘S’

Now use the gouge to cut down from just behind one gouge chop into the stop-cut created by the next gouge chop over. You’ll be gouging in different directions on the two reeds so it finally looks like this:

The top rail is something similar but with only one row of those motifs, surrounded by the two scratch stock reeds from yesterday. And I threw in a punch into the motif just to be different.


The thing about that design on the top going only one way is that you can keep track of which rail is which and have the motifs flow from a single point on the front to a single point on the back. So on the back I just cut away the foreground and stipple the background with a punch:

And on the front I had planned to have a small decorative element:

But it proved too small and fiddly and it lost all its crispness almost immediately so I scratched that idea, and drilled out the spot the central element was in:

And then made another peg from a short piece of sapele:

And glued that in place:

I’ll trim the peg down tomorrow, and I’ll have a blue-collar inlay of sorts on the front:

With that done, I went to cut a rebate on the front and back bottom rails to hide the floorboards from being immediately obvious. Only a quarter inch deep, so they won’t be totally hidden, but I can plane down the edges so they don’t stick out like a sore thumb. And then as I was tightening the thumbscrew on the #778’s fence…

Well. Shite.

A moment of panic and wondering if I could use it without the fence and then I remembered that when I bought the #778, I accidentally bought a second fence and I’d never gotten rid of it…

Sometimes hoarding pays off. A quick swap and I got back to the rebate.

Well, feck. It’s that time again, where am I leaking from now?

Ah, there we go. I blame the 778 and all its sharp bits:

I mean, you start reaching in there to pull out the shavings that are clogging the mouth and….

Feck. This is getting silly now. But I got the rebates cut, so on to the drawboring. I’m doing this with the new hand drill, mainly to see how it behaves (answer: like a power drill. Only much more solidly built than my last one).

Everything got done in batches; drill the holes in the mortices, then go through every tenon, seat it, tap the drill bit in to mark the tenon, then bradawl a point a sixteenth (or a millimeter – the distance seems to be the smallest whole unit the person talking about drawboring grew up knowing about) closer to the shoulder, then drill that hole out in the tenon; and repeat.

Last job of the evening was to roughly crosscut the panels oversize, and plane them smooth on both sides. I’ll finish plane them when I have the final dimensions. I won’t be carving them because of time.

Tomorrow I’ll start assembly; when the carcass is together I can cut and install the floorboards and start working on the lid…


  • Rip out lid frame parts
  • Groove lid frame parts
  • Cut lid frame M&T joints and drill for drawboring
  • Measure out lid panel size
  • Groove lid panel
  • Shape lid panel
  • Cut box tenons and drill M&T joints for drawboring
  • Groove bottom box rails for floorboards
  • Crosscut floorboards to width
  • Plane panels
  • Cut panels to final size
  • Bevel or rebate panel edges to fit grooves in rails
  • Plane away inside corner on stiles
  • Cut edge floorboards to fit around stiles
  • Possibly build face frame for the top of the chest
  • Assembly
  • Hinges
  • Finishing

Too many inches

Quite a bit of time in the shed today, so made some progress (there being a nearby deadline, this is a good thing). Started by cutting a side rail’s tenons, then marking off the other side rails from it (same as for the long rails).

I wanted to keep using the offset shoulder idea, but rather than gauging it by eye, which I can’t do yet, or sawing on one or the other side of the line, which I also have trouble doing, I decided to just mark out the shoulders and cut to the line. So I marked off the show face shoulder, ran the line round with the square to the back side, and then marked out 5mm or so of the line on the back side, then put a ruler on the line and butted the square up against that.

Problem is my ruler’s too thin. And it’s fiddly. And then I had an idea – I’m already holding a thin bit of metal, why not use it?

Put the knife upside down, butt the edge up to the line at that point on the back where the back of the knife starts sloping down to the point so I had a consistent thickness (the whole blade narrows down to the bevel slightly like a saw plate), butt the square up against the other side of the knife, then flip the knife over and cut the back shoulder line.

Works quite well. And that’s about as much of an offset as you need really, at least for something of this scale.

By the way, one of these makes it a lot easier to see the lines. It’s a little rechargeable camping light off ebay. Big Clive did a video on them and the internals were quite solid so I bought one.

It cranks up to quite a high brightness and if you just put it on the bench near the work you get a nice horizontal light thrown across the piece so cut lines stand out clearly. Plus, has a nice magnet in the base so I can just put it on a plane on the wall and it acts as a quick light on those short runs to the shed to grab something when I don’t want to plug in the whole shed but need light. Or it can grab onto the bandsaw frame and act as a work light when I’m using that.

Not bad for €6.40 delivered. Big Clive had a link to a generic ebay search if you want to grab one.

Anyway, got the side rails done.

That offset shoulder method is even faster when you don’t have to faff about cutting to one side of a line when you don’t have the skill for that 😀 And all the joints bar one fitted off the saw, which I was happy with.

What I was not happy with was the overall look of the piece when I put all the rails into the stiles to get a look at the final size.

That’s… it’s just not right. It’s square. I don’t understand that. First off, it looks clunky. Secondly, the design was not square, it was rectangular because it’s designed to hold something specific which is very rectangular.

Measuring tape time.

Width is fine, a quarter inch under but no biggie.

Depth is about what I estimated (well, a half-inch over). Still not seeing it. What are the internals?

Internal width is perfect…

And internal depth is… wait, what? 13 inches? That’s supposed to be 11, what the…

Ah. Shite.

If you change your initial sizes in your design, and you’re adding on a margin for the thickness of the material, you need to run the sums again and change the final size too. Feck. Well, at least this is an easy fix (too short would have been a bit more work). I want 11-and-a-quarter inches in internal depth, so if I move the shoulder on the side rails back by one-and-three-quarter inches, that should give me the size I want. So, out with the marking and measuring gear and the saw…

And I recut all of those tenons on the rails (and everything fitted off the saw this time, yay), and reassembled the chest.

I don’t know if the photo gets it across, but it looks a lot more right this time. Weird how your brain reacts to proportions.

That’ll do nicely.

At this point I took some time to practice carving…

Simple practice pattern, just some concentric circle segments to cut out with the v-tool.

It’s a physical skill, so you just need to practice. I’m getting slowly better.

Not sure if I’m at the stage where I’m comfortable carving the panels for this chest or not. I will be for the next one whenever that is, but this one… not sure. Might leave it.

Or not. Really not sure – if the design is simple enough, it might look acceptable…

But enough diversion. Quick side job now, splitting out blanks for drawbore pegs.

I can’t tell you how much better this job is thanks to that hacking knife. Compared to a chisel, it’s faster, more controllable, safer, and just all-round better. I tested one of the peg blanks by hammering it through the dowel plate down to the quarter-inch size, but just one (it’s a noisy job, better suited to earlier in the day even with the sound dampening in the shed so I’ll do it tomorrow).

Meantime, I rough-cut the floorboards to size.

They’re cedar, already tongue-and-grooved which is a nice timesaver. I haven’t decided yet whether I should just rebate them into the base or whether I should groove three rails and nail them to the fourth (which is cut narrower). Need to figure that out tomorrow.

At this point, I got out my #04 and stropped the blade and reset the cap iron and started cleaning up the rails and stiles.

And then I set up to do some of the decorative features I had in mind for the rails. First, some fences to hold the bottom rails in place.

This wasn’t great, the piece kept spinning out, so I added another fence clamped to the front as well:

This worked nicely. It’s effectively an ad-hoc sticking board, and I’m going to use my new 167-year-old reeding plane on the bottom rails. This was the point of buying it, after all. And I’ve learned I’m not that good at using the thing, though I’m starting to get the knack of it. I think I need to get some slipstones to sharpen it a bit more (the strop only sortof works) and I’m starting to think I need to go buy and read “Mouldings in Practice” because even when I finally get the iron set to take a fine cut so it doesn’t chatter, it still digs in in the last half-inch or so of the groove and I’m sure it’s something I’m doing wrong. But I got it working well enough to do the bottom four rails. Not before I discovered that I need to do some repairs though…

It is somewhat disconcerting to hit your moulding plane with your plane hammer where you’re supposed to hit it to retract the iron and have bits fall out. It’s even more fun when you go to advance the iron and don’t realise the wedge is loose. That iron can really get some distance on it when you give it a belt with a hammer when the wedge isn’t holding it in the plane. But I was able to get it back from behind the bench without any damage, so that’s allright.

Anyway, the top four rails get a different treatment, for which I needed my scratch stock.

Lee Valley. It’s a luxury I know, but it wasn’t that expensive (it was about $50 plus P&P for the stock and all of its scratch cutters) and it works very nicely once you get the hang of it and only try to do short strokes instead of long runs (you do a few of those but only at the very end when the moulding is well established, and you have to be careful even then that it doesn’t dig into the grain and dive off to one side or the other). I used it to cut a pair of beads separated by a gouge’s width on the top rails, and called it a night there. I have some work still to do on the decoration, but it requires belting a gouge with a mallet so it’ll be loud so again, I’ll wait till tomorrow for that.

Not too bad, though a little more ragged than I’d like in places even after burnishing with a handful of shavings. But it’s not done yet…

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