Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Scrap Box

Being something of a hoarder, scrap wood tends to build up. So, from time to time, I make something out of it.

This time, it's a small box. The body is some laminated fake-mahogany (sapele) that used to be a counter-top, and the top is some spalted beech that I've had sitting around for a few years. I have no particular purpose in mind for it, but I quite like making boxes, and Annette likes collecting them, so it works out quite well.

The carcase is just mitred together, which is a very weak joint — it's held together only by glue; it has no mechanical holding power of its own. So, to reinforce that join, I'm adding splines at the corners. These are just tabs of 3mm (1/8") plywood glued into slots that run through the mitre to give it a bit more strength.

I'd normally cut the slots for the splines on the table saw, using a jig to hold the box at 45°. Once the jig is made, this is a pretty quick and accurate way to go about it. But for this one, I wanted to stick to hand tools exclusively, so I cut the slots with a dovetail saw and remove the waste with a little 3mm chisel.

I didn't actually own a 3mm (1/8") chisel, and getting hold of one proved to be harder than I'd expected. My favourite 2nd-hand tool shop has closed down, and none of the local tools shops stock anything much even the slightest bit unusual. So, I took a chisel from a cheap set of carving chisels and ground it down to 3mm, a process that took quite a bit longer than I anticipated due to the puniness of my bench grinder. Still, it got done eventually, and now that it's been shaped, polished and sharpened, it works pretty well.

I also had to do some surgery on a throwaway 500mm Bahco panel saw to turn it into a rip-saw for resawing thick boards down to thinner ones. I ran out of lighter fluid for my little pencil torch with about a fifth of the teeth still left to anneal, and the set of the teeth isn't that great, so up to this point that hasn't been a completely successful conversion. I'll finish off annealing and reshaping the remaining teeth, but I don't have a saw-set, and haven't been able to find one. Googling has shown me a multitude of sets of saws, but nothing for setting saw teeth.