For this project, the hardest part was the planning. I had to plan on what the minimum amount of tools required would be for this chest. That required deciding on every part of the build ahead of time so I would have the tools I needed.
One design choice I made was to forget about any kind of molding that would require anything I couldn't do with my one plane. I chose to use simple chamfers everywhere.
|Here I am planing a chamfer.|
|My sawing set-up.|
|The drill was needed for pilot holes for the nails.|
|Screwdriver handle from IKEA.|
I had planned to make rabbets as per Christopher Schwarz's instructions in the Anarchist's Design Book, but decided making them with a saw and a chisel might extend this project into the too-long-to-complete-it-before-I-leave category. Roman nails hold plenty well for this project, so I just had to be careful in lining everything up before driving them home. No rabbets were harmed in the construction of this chest.
The first few days involved working in fits and starts. Basically all that was completed in this time was the boards (except the lid) were cut to length and smoothed with the plane (not flattened).
Two days before I left I felt like I was finally able to start building this chest, and it really started coming together in a hurry.
|Progress after the first real day of work.|
|I had Dad sign it too, since I wouldn't have finished it without him.|
|I took a big risk signing it before it was completely finished.|
|Dad with my nearly finished chest.|
|A good view of the clenched nails in the lid. Here I am laying out the butt hinges for installation.|
All in all, I have to say the chest looks good both ways. There are lots of big panels on this chest to show off the wood grain, and when there is paint on it the actual design of the box becomes much more prevalent.
I only had time to put two coats of milk paint on before I had to go. I buffed it out with brown packing paper, and installed the hinges. I left my sister instructions that she could leave it the way it is, paint it over with a second color of milk paint, and/or coat it with some boiled linseed oil. (Deb, if you do this, slather it on with a brush, then after 15 minutes or so, wipe off all the excess and rub it down with a clean rag. Make sure NOT to use a finish on the interior.)
|I like the surprise of opening the box and seeing (and smelling) all of the nice cedar panels.|
In all honesty, I would have liked to spend a little more time on this project to make it a bit fancier, but overall I am happy with it. It was able to be finished in time, and the overall impression of the piece really isn't too far off of what the fancy version would look like. The most important part is my sister liked it.
At least she said she did. Deb, you are allowed to do whatever you like with this box, whether it be keeping linens at the end of your bed, or garden tools in the shed. I just hope it makes you smile and remember my visit when you open it.