|Tool box door panel|
I decided to use poplar for the case, web frame dividers, shiplapped back, and door frame, walnut for the drawer fronts and door panel, and I used soft maple for the drawer sides, backs, and bottoms.
After I cut all of the project components to rough width and length, I milled them to within 1/8" thicker than the final thickness. I prepared the case sides, top, and bottom glue-ups with spring joints for strength, just like I did with the Chest of Drawers earlier this year.
|Match planing the case parts for spring joints|
After taking the case parts out of the clamps, I milled them to final width and length, and planed the inside faces of each of the panels. Then it was time to dovetail the panels together with through dovetails.
|Sawing carcase dovetails|
|Tool box case with web frame dividers in place |
and the drawer fronts fitted into their openings
I built the tool box drawers with traditional dovetail joinery. Half-blind, or lapped dovetail at the front, and through dovetails at the back corners.
|Gang cutting the tails|
|Chopping out the waste between the tails|
|Sawing the pins|
|Coping out the waste between the pins|
|Chopping to the baseline|
|Sawing the pins on the drawers fronts|
|Chopping out the waste for the half blind dovetails|
|Three drawers in the dry fitted stage sitting on top of the case.|
The fourth drawer's components are sitting inside the case.
I finished up the fourth drawer the next morning. Gang cutting the tails drastically reduced the time it took me to cut the dovetails on the drawers. Also I skipped the 140 trick on the tailboards, which further reduced the time it took, and I don't believe that it came at the cost of sacrificing how well the joinery came out in the end.
|All four drawers fitted into the case, with the drawers bottoms in place.|
I turned the drawers pulls on the lathe, rather than buying them. This gave me the ability to customize their design. They had to fit in the case between the drawer fronts and the interior of the door, without interfering with the positioning of the door. It was good practice turning a set of eight matching drawers pulls. They didn't come out perfectly identical, but I have that experience under my belt for next time I have to do it. Unfortunately, I didn't tale photos or film any of that process.
After the drawers were finished, I made the frame and panel door. That was a straightforward process, something I had done before, but this time I didn't have to do the majority of the milling of the stock and the joinery by hand. That resulted in a very accurate door, which came out remarkably flat.
The finishing process for the tool box was a multi-step process. I have wanted to use a pore filler compound on a project for a long time, and this was a great opportunity to give it a go. I taped off all of the surfaces on the drawers that I didn't want to get pore filler on, and applied a washcoat of varnish on the walnut drawer fronts. After it dried, I grabbed a can of water based pore filler, and a bottle of Transtint orange dye. I measured out an amount of the pore filler compound and mixed the dye into it in a spare container until I was happy with the color. I used a plastic spreader to smear the compound into the large pores of the walnut. I let it cure overnight, and sanded it back the next morning. The door panel was finished before the frame was glued together in order to finish the entire surface of the panel, and to avoid ruining the door frame, which got a painted finish.
|Finished tool box|
While the pore filler was drying, I brushed on a coat of black milk paint onto all of the poplar surfaces that showed. Then I brushed shellac on the drawer bottoms. While the finished dried, I returned to the bench room to continue work on the shaker nightstand project that my semester was working on as a group. I hope to post about that project soon. I was also working on an original design of a pair of country federal nightstands in addition to the shaker nightstand. The toolbox case got a second coat of black paint, followed by two coats of thinned red paint. The effect that I created with this was a burgundy shade of red, with a sort of antiqued or distressed appearance due to the black paint showing through the somewhat transparent coats of red paint on top of it. I believe it complemented the dark walnut drawer fronts and door panel.
After sanding back the pore filler on the drawer fronts and door panel, I continued adding coats of varnish to the walnut components until I was satisfied with the luster. I then proceeded to brush shellac on the rest of the drawers' surfaces, followed by paste wax. The case received a coat of shellac on the inside and two coats of varnish on the exterior, and it was waxed inside and out. Once the door panel was finished, it was glued into the frame, which was then handplaned and fitted into the case, then painted. After it was painted, I inlaid the escutcheon. The escutcheon was a very exciting process. I cut a diamond shape from a scrap of walnut and inlaid it into the door over the lock's location. I framed the walnut diamond with holly stringing. Before I permanently installed the lock, I drilled a hole for the key, and ragged on two coats of varnish on the door, then some paste wax.
|Detail photo of the escutcheon|
Here is a video of my process building the North Bennett Street Tool Box. In all, I had a great time building this process, and I learned a lot about case construction. I have so many resources available to me at the school, and the instructors are incredibly helpful. I am looking forward to the next projects I build at school, and all the other lessons I will receive at the oldest trade school in America.