Friday, December 25, 2020

Flooring Dutch Tool Chest - Part II

Now that I know that I'm using this flooring material to make my chest, I go for it with gusto.
Here's a good look at what I'm doing. Notice how much end grain you're looking at.

One should start with the dovetails on the bottom corners of a DTC. After I cut mine, I realized how much side to side grain is in these dovetails. One doesn't want side to side grain in dovetails, because this grain direction is so weak. There is some long grain in them, but essentially it is only the 3mm thick beech hardwood that provides any strength.

It is for the strength of the beech that I decided it was a good idea that I have put the beech to the inside. If the beech was on the outside, it would be pretty easy for it to pop out leaving no strength in the joint. On the inside, it is buried deep in the joint. where it should hold quite well. Chris Schwarz suggested on Instagram that I drive a few nails in them to be on the safe side, so I did.

Test fitting dovetails.

With the dovetails fitted, I cut the rabbets for the center shelf. In retrospect, this was a bad idea because it removes the strongest part of the floorboards. The only thing left in the rabbet is essentially pine with grain going the wrong way, and some paper thin fir veneer. (Spoiler alert: I think it works out just fine once the back is fastened.) If for some reason I ever decided to do this again, I would nail the shelf directly into the side, without the rabbet, or maybe use slips.

Making a rabbet for the shelf.

Once the sidewalls were sawn, it was just a matter of removing the waste with a chisel and using a router plane to flatten the bottom.

So far, so good!
At least that was the plan. The only wood ever meant to be exposed was the beech, so weird grain and knots are not uncommon in the other parts. While I was chiselling out waste, some gnarly grain gave me some grief. It almost blew out the other side!
Wacky grain. I'll fix it with epoxy.

Routing the bottom was a breeze. Instead of routing across the grain, as would be done in solid wood, I'm now routing with the grain.

Here you can see the rabbet, edge-on. Without the beech, this board is very weak.
A little epoxy, and it's as good as new. Normally I wouldn't bother, but I didn't want a nail or something to blow a hole in the side of my chest.

I decided it might be a good idea to put a strip of solid maple scrap on the front edge of the shelf. It turns out this is completely unnecessary, because this front edge gets covered later.

A little extra strength never hurt anybody.
Here is the bottom of the rabbet.

The next bad decision I made was an attempt to smooth out the end grain that would be on the top of the chest, exposed when the lid was opened. My thought was that when reaching into the chest, my arm would rub against something here, and these edges are pretty rough, with all that end grain. 

It turns out that after it's sanded and burnished, it isn't that bad.

But I decided to cover the ends with a layer of epoxy.

Capping the top with epoxy.

This was sort-of a good idea, but I was using epoxy that expired years ago. And instead of measuring it out, I eyeballed the two-part mixture. The result was a goopy goo, that I had to remove with a heat gun and a knife. After that, the epoxy sealed the top very well. It also wicked its way down the long fibers an inch or two, which will probably be seen through the paint. Oh well, too late now. I would recommend next time just applying it with a paint brush.

The mistakes I made here were not catastrophic, so I'll keep going.

What do you think so far? Would you have turned the finished side of the flooring inside the chest like I did, or would you put it on the outside?


  1. Good to see your still out there woodworking
    Somehow I lost track of your blog
    And mulesaw off on some boat.
    I enjoy your commentary and this build from salvaged flooring
    Thumbs up

    1. Hi Chuck! Thanks for the nice words. I'm afraid I haven't been so good at blogging this year. I'll be honest, blogging used to be something I looked forward to to escape from a job I was unhappy in. Now that I'm away from there, I am much happier, but my blog has suffered a bit. I've decided that I'm going to try to get on here a bit more often, because blogging really is something I enjoy. I'm also pretty sure Jonas' situation is similar. He LOVES the new ship he's on, it keeps him extremely busy. I also know that he enjoys being social on that ship in his free time, which leaves a lot less time for his blogging than in previous years.


  2. When you got together on the chair builds
    looked like great fun.
    Sadly Jonas posted yesterday about his Dad.