Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dutch Tool Chest in Spain - Part IV - Complete

Except for the inside. I'll set up the guts after we get back from our Christmas travels.
I am very pleased with the results, and would like to thank Christopher Schwarz for making such a nice video on the construction of this chest. More on the video shortly.
I used only Roman nails, even to attach the battens for the large panels like the lid.
The handles look great on this bright yellow chest. By the way, it is bright yellow instead of red with a yellow undercoat because the pepper spice I intended to use for the colorant wound up looking like orange baby poop instead of a nice, brick red. The Frau really liked the yellow, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it too.

I had to use about six coats (maybe more, I don't remember) in order for this light color to cover. There still is some parts that you can see under the paint, but mostly I'm happy. That, and I refuse to use more than four liters of skim milk.

I painted over the nail heads, too. To clean them up, I found that a Q-tip soaked in water did a good job of removing the paint on them. I think I have to buy the Frau some more Q-tips now.
The chest lift really pops against a bright background.
I got the lifts from Jonas, as they were manufactured a short distance from his house in Denmark. They came with a thick coat of zinc, so we stripped that and torched it with a thin coat of boiled linseed oil, which left them such a nice black color.
When I first installed the hinges (that I got from Olav), they installed a bit different than I expected, and the lid didn't fit. All it took was to move the hinges back on the lid a little bit, but that left an extra set of screw holes. No big deal, as they were covered by the hinges themselves, but I decided to plug them anyway.

While I'm at it, the lid fit just a little tight on one side, resulting from one of the hinges being off just a gnat's nadger. I decided to plug those holes, too, and install the hinge just a little farther to the right.
Plugging holes with bamboo skewers. Greg would be proud.

They get sawed off flush with my Dick saw.
Hinges installed and visible from the back.
Here is a photo of the inside. The inside gets no finish, as this works well for keeping tools.
As you can see, I still need to sort out the guts, and make it friendly to hold tools.
The bottom will work nicely, I think. I'll have to see what I keep down here. I may make a few small boxes to hold things safely.
More likely I'll over stuff it with tools and slam the front on before they fall out.
There is just one little niggle, now. The battens touch the chest locks. I'll work this out and get them to close one way or the other.
Battens are resting on the chest locks.

Here's a closer view. I don't think this is much of a problem, just some triming of one or the other.
The Frau thought that this chest looks like a German mail box now that it is yellow.
I suppose she's right.
Over all, this was a fun project that suited itself well to my tool set. I had purchased Christopher Schwarz's video (streaming from Lie-Nielsen), and I enjoyed watching it before the build.

Schwarz's videos are great because he gets real basic with how to perform each part of the build. He has several videos describing how he does dovetails, but he describes it on this one, too. I highly recommend this video, and even if you know how you want to build it, some questions you might have will likely be answered.

I think that once you understand why he does it the way he does on the video, you can choose for yourself if that is how you would do it. For example, I used a much more modest tool set to build mine, and I also used clenched nails to fix the battens on the large panels, something he does in a different way.

Not that my way is better, but my way fit my idea of how it should be done, and more importantly, my tool set.

I am really looking forward to having a proper place to keep my tools. I really miss my tool chest from my Munich workshop, and I think this will be a good solution.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dutch Tool Chest in Spain - Part III

I got a lot done in the last couple of days, but neglected posting to the blog. Long story short, I'm almost done and am applying some home made milk paint.
Mmmmm... Paella!
If you want the long version, here goes:

When we left off, I was attaching shiplapped boards to the back. Now it's time for the front. After I cut the top piece to length, I drilled pilot holes, only to realize too late that the pilots going into the case actually cross nails that are in the side holding the shelf up.
Attaching the front.
No problem, I just cut the nails a bit short. They should still hold plenty strong enough, plus this part will have glue.
Trimmed the nails.
Next I decided to make the wooden parts for the catches. There are four on the big chest, although I bet one could get away with just two on the top. No matter, they are easy to make.
Mark them out one inch from the ends and clamp to bench,

Saw to the line, including a couple of clearance cuts.

Pop out the middle with a chisel.

I had been dreading the big panels for the drop front and the lid, even though I bought one wide enough and glued up the other. Turns out, this was pretty easy, too.
Rip it to width, and a long grain shooting set up keeps the edge square.
I decided on clinched nails for the battens, since I had plenty of Roman nails.
Done my usual way - aka Richard Maguire's way.

These nails are ideal for this.
Once the drop front was together, I realized there was a problem when it would fit. I realized there was no clearance for the battens. The Popular Woodworking plans didn't show clearance cut outs, but I figured that was the only way to go at this point. I later saw a photo of Christopher Schwarz's large DTC he did the exact same thing.
Extra cutouts for clearance of the drop front battens.
Christopher Schwarz recommended to my Instagram photo that perhaps I should use a few more nails for the panel. I figured it couldn't hurt, so I put a total of seven on each side instead of three. These ones I clinched across the grain, as it is supposed to be even stronger.
Interesting pattern.

These square nails are fun to clinch, and look better than wire nails.
This chest is coming along, so why not get some skim milk and vinegar going and in a couple days I can make some paint.
Making milk paint.
The lid was essentially the same. At first I wanted to do breadboard ends, but without a plow plane, I thought it might be a bit much when I could just nail battens on.
Just like the drop front.

A happy coincidence, my Dick saw fits between the battens of the lid!
Now it's time for hinges. Olav gave me a pair of suitable stainless steel hinges when I was in Denmark, and Jonas used a propane torch to "blue" them. I think they look great.

Because of the way it was constructed, it required a little bit of a different install.
There needs to be clearance for the entire barrel.

Nice fit.
It took a little trial and error, but I finally got them on in a way that makes me happy.
Installed. Ugly screws.
All of my screws and the casters I bought had a thick coat of zinc on them. Especially the casters. The only real acid I have about is apple cider vinegar, so in they went. They will come out in a day or two.
It's not what you think, it's apple cider vinegar!
I also need to install the inset chest lifts I got from Jonas. Those we stripped of zinc, and burned in some BLO with a propane torch for a nice look.

To install them, I need to excavate all the wood where the handle needs to go. I chopped most of it out with a chisel, and finished it off with a home-made router.
I sharpened it on my diamond stone.
It can take only a very light cut, so it is no good for hogging out material, only for evening up the final surface.
I first went down only the thickness of the metal,

then I routed the cavity for the handle.
The finished look of the handle is really good.
I like it.
Instead of screws, I used machine screws with bolt anchors on the inside of the chest so the handles don't get ripped off when the screws fail.

BTW, I've discovered that drill bits made to fit in a cordless drill work exceptionally well in an eggbeater. The bit doesn't ever slip.
A new 5mm brad point bit.
Time to get that crap out of the bucket and see what we have. After two days, even the thick coating of zinc on the casters came off. Unfortunately I won't be able to color those because of the rubber wheels, but they will look better with a coat of oil on them.

The screws and machine screws will get the Benchcrafted flaxseed oil treatment.

Only, I have boiled linseed oil here, so I'll use that.

Basically, after washing the parts, I dropped them all in a small jar of BLO. When I removed them, I dried them off with a paper towel, and put them on a piece of tinfoil in our toaster oven.
Naturally, only when the Frau is at work.
After only 15 or 20 minutes, they had started to darken.
It works!
I quenched them in the little jar of BLO, and repeated for a total of three bakes.
They turned out great! You can't even see the screws on the handle from here.
All that is left for woodwork, is the thumbnail profile on the lid. Back to the rescue is my ghetto rabbet plane!
As long as I score the cross grain ahead of time, it works great!

Then I rounded it over with my BU jack.
Screw on the casters.
Now it's time for paint. I thought it would be fun to tint it with some locally available material. Here in Spain, they love to make paella, and for paella, there are some cool colors of spices.
Sweet pepper, and yellow paella colorant.
My plan was to put a base coat of yellow on, and follow it up with the darker red.

So far the yellow colorant works extremely well. The Frau loves the color and wants me to keep it this way. I'm not so sure, I'll have to think about that.
The sweet pepper is a quite a bit coarser in texture than the yellow colorant. I'll have to test it. If it is not suitable for paint, then for sure I will have a yellow chest.

Next post we'll find out!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Dutch Tool Chest in Spain - Part II

I feel lucky to have been able to spend some good time today on my chest. The next bit that needs doing are the sticks for the locks, as well as the cutouts for them on the chest.

I decided to cut them a bit over length, and wait to trim them to final length once the chest is together and I can see how they are supposed to work. Since the wood I bought was sold in a metric measurement, my chest is actually an inch or two taller than Christopher Schwarz' plan.

Cutting these notches is pretty simple, even without a router. The trick is being accurate in marking out. The first cut is to saw the sidewalls of the notch.
Sidewalls sawed - check.
I also cut some relief cuts to prevent any disasters. Next, I rough out the notch with a chisel and mallet.
Roughed out - check.
Then it is just a matter of paring down to the line with a chisel.
Pared to the line, check.
Only a little more complicated are the notches in the bottom board, which are stopped. I approached it in the same way.
Starting the stopped cut.
In no time that part was done.
Locks fit.
The next challenge was the back. Christopher Schwarz recommends tongue and groove joints for the back boards, but those sound awfully fussy without any proper joinery planes. I think it can be done, but there are a lot of them, and I think the time spent isn't worth the end result. My opinion is that ship lap joints should do just fine.

I could make these rabbets with a chisel and a saw, but once again, there are a lot of rabbets to make, so the best way is with a rabbet plane, which I didn't have until I made one out of scrap wood yesterday.
First action shot.
The way it was, it seemed to work. It soon became apparent, however, that all was not well in Rabbetville. Every swipe I took led the plane a little farther inboard, and soon I had a big mess.

I'm not sure what the problem was, as I can make a rabbet like that just fine with my vintage rabbet plane that is safely in my tool chest in Munich.

I decided another piece of scrap and a couple nails should fix the problem.
I nailed on a fence.
It did. Once I had the fence on, I was making perfect rabbets in a hurry.
Action shot.
This worked just fine for this project. I'm pretty sure this plane won't last long, but I'm done with it for this project. If I need another one someday, I know I can whip one out in a hurry.
This rabbet is just fine for a ship lap.
Once this was done, I just had to nail the top piece on after squaring the carcase up the best I could. It was out 3mm on the diagonal, so a small push in that direction squared it up a little better.
Back pieces starting to go on.
I continued using Roman nails to attach the back. I really like these nails. They hold like crazy.

I spaced the ship lap boards the width of a 1 Euro coin to allow the boards to expand and contract with the humidity.
These nails are tapered, so I drilled pilot holes to prevent splitting.
This whole process took a bit longer than it would if you had a table saw and a powered shaper, but I also have all my fingers and hearing intact.
And, I did it in my home office. No table saw in here!
Next up is the front panel, the drop front and the lid. Plus hardware and paint, and who-knows-what I forgot. Like the guts for the upper compartment.

As a follow up to a previous post, my wife bought me a Spanish woodworking book that was recommended by a reader. This looks like a great book for learning woodworking Spanish. Thanks for the recommendation, António!
My birthday present from my wife.