Wooden Beer Totes – Build Phase Part 1

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment

“It’s just as easy to build six as it is to build one, right?” “I don’t think so Tim….”

I’m a bit behind on my shop journal entries but this is typical of what happens when I’m actually busy in the shop. Since my last post I’ve had bits of 5 days in the shop and I will continue to work hard until I see the end in sight.

Production Phase – The Long Veteran’s Day Weekend

So I left off at the end of my last post having built Proto Tote #1 in cypress, then up-sized it with Proto Tote #2 in pine. I never finished Proto #2 having run out of stock on hand and also knowing that I would be using the bits as templates there actually was no need to build it other than a dry fit to make sure it was all going to work. In preparation for the build I made my trip to Lowes to pick out the best “select pine” boards I could find. It was then that I found out Lowes does not carry pine in 1/4″ dimensions rather it is 3/8″. I had already decided that I wasn’t going to mill my own thin stock and I didn’t want to mix and match wood species (could have purchased poplar for example) so I went with the 3/8″ pine. The only issue with this thicker stock was that my tote bottom was going to be too narrow for the tote to handle 16 oz bottles with the thicker stock. See I already knew this from building my prototypes but I opted to stick with the 1×6″ stock being both economical and frugal with the World’s wood resource. I’ll show you what I came up with later.

The following weekend I had five days off in row and although I wasn’t in the shop the entire time, I did get significant work completed on the production run. I was happy with Proto #2 true enough, but it wasn’t perfect so assuming I was going to use it to build multiple copies, I was hoping to finesse the design. I somewhat simplified the hard edges of the sides top (what would be the bottles lid) and widened the radius so that I could fit my smallest sanding spindle in there. After all it just makes good sense to fit your design to your tools if you can. I also decided to use a 1/2″ round over on the face edges but not the inside edges, those would be relieved by sanding.

Original Beer Tote

Tote Turtlecove unique ends.

It is definitely NOT as easy to make six as it is to make one BUT there are economies of scale such as setting up the jig and/or bit once and cutting many and I did find that after trying two or three I usually came up with what I would call the best method. So in that way practice made better. Everything component but the bottom and the handle came in quantities of two or more so I found myself needing to maintain my concentration on the twelfth cut or the twenty-fourth route, etc. That too was good practice.

Tote Dividers

Tote bottle dividers and sides underneath.

The strips used for the tote sides are ripped from 4″ thin stock. I set my table saw to make the larger strip 2″ wide and the thinner strip was whatever was left which ended up being about 1 1/4″ (if think).  I beveled the face edges on the router table and came up with this device which I named “The Finger Saver”.

Finger Saver in Use

Finger Saver #1 in Use

Finger Saver

Finger Saver with smaller stock insert.

As you can see, I didn’t over-engineer it. Simply a couple of Harbor Freight horizontal clamps on a piece of scrap. I didn’t even cut the scrap I mean why, the length just gave me more of a handle so I used as-is. For the thinner pieces of the two, I inserted a spacer strip to steady everything.

Two Ways

Router bit left a round end which I squared up with a chisel.

I made the slots for the dividers using two different methods. At first I though it would be easy to route the slots on the router table. I mean once I got the fence set I should be able to run all the tabs through, then raise the bit, run them, raise the bit, repeat until I am all the way through. Sounds reasonable but in practice many things made this a poor method. First I always have trouble setting my router fence square to the table. Second I always seem to be off just a bit, never being able to find an exact center of the board. Third it is a stopped dado and thus the router must be turned off and allowed to spin down completely before removing the work piece. Failure to do this will mar you work, in some way it will get messed up trust me no matter how careful you are removing the piece from a spinning bit is a bad idea. So I had twelve of these to do before resetting and then doing another twelve cuts on the long dividers. Oh, and remember you still have to hand chisel the end of the slot if you want it to be square as the router bit leaves it round. Madness I say!

After doing a bunch of these I decided enough was enough so I took the long pieces over to band saw and using my miter gauge, rip fence and a steady hand knocked out the rest of these in no time at all. These turned out clean, square and with a far better fit. Lesson learned.

Next came shaping the curved handles. I never did get the prototype handles just right so I know I had a challenge ahead making six keepers for the production totes. On the protos I cut them out then took them to the belt sander but that didn’t really work. Without a perfect template, it’s hard to cut out a “perfect” handle so I got as close as I could cutting them on the band saw and decided to try shaping them with rasps. Crappy as I’m sure they are my HF rasp set allowed me to fairly efficiently shave the band saw marks off and finish the shape. I’m definitely sold on rasps and would like to actually buy a few in the coming years, especially if and when I ever start building guitar necks.

Shaping the Handles

Shaping the curved tote handles with rasps.

The oscillating spindle sander was efficient at cleaning up the rasp scratches and the handles were dressed at the router table with 1/2″ round over bit on all 4 sides.

Rounding over the curved tote handles using Finger Saver Device #2.

Rounding over the curved tote handles using Finger Saver Device #2.

What’s This?

Santa’s workshop is a very busy place this time of year. Here is a rare shot of one of Santa’s Helper Elves working on a project for her Mom. Not wanting to waste time, Santa’s Elf works very quickly wanting to constantly move to the next step. Unlike Santa, his elf hasn’t yet learned the gift of patience. The project is a sign that says “Susan” on it.

Santa's Elf

Santa's Elf

To be continued on the following weekend…… stay tuned….

You have been building Christmas toys with the Turtlecovebrewer and Santa’s Elf Alexandra

Categories: Woodworking

Wooden Beer Totes – Design Phase

November 3, 2014 Leave a comment

I love listening to pod-casts while on my daily commute and one thing I hear fairly often from brother Marc Spagnolo is that with each project woodworkers should consider challenging themselves by trying something new. For me darn near everything is new so this means getting better at the things I’ve tried before while incrementally adding new things. As a brewer and “beer ambassador” this idea of making a wooden six pack holder seems to be, well obvious. Looking around the web, I have seen many variations of the beer tote and some I like very much and others seem a bit utilitarian. In the spirit of challenging myself, I thought it time to design a tote of my own. If building projects in the shop taught me something about patience, designing the projects as I go has forged patience into my work habit. Perhaps a bit dramatic and overstated, I just wanted to convey that designing as you go can be time consuming and one shouldn’t be surprised if the project gets built a few times before the production run…..

First the logo

I’m still seeking a logo for “Turtlecove Brewing”. I have ideas about what I want but I’m not particularly good at free hand drawing so progress has been lingering. I have been seeking a freshwater turtle that can be (easily?) drawn in silhouette  such that it can be used as part of a logo AND inlaid in wooden projects such as a guitar head stocks, etc. Google Images has helped but I just wasn’t typing in the correct search criterion. Logo, tattoo and pictures didn’t yield what I was looking for but “silhouette turtle” was fruitful. One of the problems I have is I don’t want a cartoon and I’m not interested in sea turtles. There is a huge sea turtle following BTW, no problem finding something in that style.

I finally found something I liked on a lady’s back (of all places). I don’t think this is the end to this story but at least it is a beginning to it. This is what I came up with.


I brought the captured image in to Photoshop and spent a little time cleaning it up. The image is pretty complex and a bit tiny for inlay work but for this project, it will do.

I also had an idea about the Turtlecove signature so I went through all the fonts I had loaded on Photoshop and went to work. I landed on Segoe Print for “Turtlecove” and Segoe Script for “Brewing”. Both are arched but in separate layers.


Turtlecove Logo


Not bad, I think I can work with this…..


 Tote Design

To me, the key to making this design “my own” was going to be in shaping the sides. The most common and albeit easier to mass produce sides where simply angled at the top. I felt I needed to complicate things by coming up with a more interesting shape. My idea, I wanted the sides to be “bottle-shaped”. So again I looked to Google images in search of the right bottle. A wine bottle style was too narrow at the top to be practical and besides, this is a beer tote. Growlers are stocky but typically have roundish bottoms and again this wasn’t as practical to construct. I settled on a jug shape a bit of a cross between an old milk bottle and a carboy. Looking over perhaps a hundred shapes, I found one that liked. Captured it and in to Photoshop for “fixing”. Here is the result.




Again, I’m pretty happy with the idea.

Building a Prototype – Saturday

So this is where it gets interesting, I spent Saturday building a prototype which would also be used as the part templates for the production run. I knew it would take longer to design and build then to just build from a plan but I’d estimate it took me about 3 times longer. Not only that but instead of setting up and running all the parts through the process. I had to move from setup to setup basically to test and fit a single part. So this is not news to anyone with experience and it isn’t even shocking to me. It’s just that I figured by the end of the weekend I would have all my templates made and be ready to rock for next weekend. But this was not exactly what happened……

On Friday after work, I made a quick trip to the lumber yard to pick up some cypress. Cypress is local, wet resistant, fairly light and relatively inexpensive. I build my prototype out of cypress and in the end found it to be unsuitable for this project. Never-the-less I was able to work out the kinks during this first build.

IMG_6883 IMG_6890  IMG_6887

As it turns out, I was quit happy with the shape of the sides and I also liked the arched handle with through tenons. If you are planning on banging out of a lot of they bad boys, I would not recommend this design! Hand shaping the arched handle and hand chopped mortises are not convenient. If I really wanted a challenge I would also dove tail the sides to the bottom but I think for now I use screws and plug them. I do need to finish this project by the end of this year and I have already added many challenging new design elements to keep me busy.

What didn’t work on this prototype? The cypress was too soft and kept splitting on me. Both mortises have cracks at the top. I would also end up re-sawing thin stock for the sides and divider elements and not only would milling these pieces take time but the unpredictable thickness that resulted would make dadoes for the dividers a nightmare. I didn’t want to use plywood for the dividers, I felt it clashed with the cypress and I didn’t have a plywood bit for the router, etc.

Building Prototype Type 2 – Sunday

I never finished the build on Saturday but I almost did. I was hoping to have all the pieces cut and dry fitted by day’s end but this was not to happen. I did get all the pieces cut but alas, I realized the tote dimensions were too small. DOH!

First Susan noticed upon visiting that although my handle was curved, you would have to reach you fingers between the bottles to get a proper grasp. It was workable but certainly not optimal. I needed to make the sides taller. Next after milling and cutting the dividers I had a slight problem, the bottles in the center section didn’t fit. DOH! Forming the dividers from 1/8″ stock would have solved this problem but at this point, I was already committed to another prototype so I might as well make the tote longer as well. At this point I have opted not to make it wider and decided to stick with 1″x 6″ stock.

Sunday, I decided to go with pine. So armed with boards on hand and some new dimensions, I went back to the drawing board; and the miter saw and the band saw and table saw and spindle sander, etc..

IMG_6896 IMG_6900  IMG_6897

So by the end of the day I had most of Proto 2 cut.

Improvements include:

  • 1″ taller so easier to grasp handle and no split outs on the mortises
  • 1″ longer to accommodate stockier bottles
  • Pine is mostly free of knots and easier to work with
  • Really took my time on the mortises and they are the best I’ve ever chopped
  • I have a 3/8″ straight router bit so I can precisely cut the diver dado to fit the store bought stock (Yes!)
  • Can’t really see it but there are 45° bevels on the side pieces


  • I ran out of thin stock so I haven’t sized the center divider yet
  • I’m not through shaping the handle. I’d like to perfect it before using it as a template.
  • I need to sand the bottle sides, these are how they came off the band saw

To sum up the project, things are not going to happen as quickly as I first imaged however I do think that once I have a working model for templates, it won’t take nearly as long as I was beginning to fear. Many days to be sure. I’ll batch out ends and sides, then shape handles, then (ugh) mortises until …… well until it’s finished.

But what about the logo? The jury is out on this, I wish I had a branding iron……

You have been designing with the Turtlecovebrewer…

Santa’s Workshop

November 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Although I haven’t written in a couple of weeks it isn’t because I haven’t been busy. On the contrary I have been busy working on home spun Christmas gifts. I don’t know if people really believe it when they say that home made gifts are the best but if the old saw, “it’s the thought that counts” is true then hand crafted might hold merit on this point alone. To be be perfectly honest, I am a child of the retail Christmas. My Dad loved the season and the way he showed his love was to save all year and make his boys dream’s come true. I received so many dreams that I can’t even remember the disappointments and there were occasionally a few, but damn few. So few that I can’t even cite one.

For almost 50 years, I celebrated Christmas morning at my parents house opening presents and eating a traditional (for us) Christmas breakfast with my family after. We’ve celebrated the last three Christmases without Dad and Mom isn’t getting around much anymore. My niece and nephew have moved away and even my brother and sis-in-law have relocated to North Florida. Everyone (save Mom) is doing well and I am happy for them and it would seem a perfect time for new Christmas traditions to form. Mine will involve more time in the shop and less time in the Malls. Bakers love to bake, and cooks love to entertain and we woodworkers head to our shops.

I’m a bit conflicted on how much to information to disclose although it is highly doubtful that any of my three loyal readers would spill the beans on my project ideas ;-) Fear not “all shall be revealed at the appointed hour!”

You have been remembering and celebrating with the Turtlecovebrewer

Categories: Family, Woodworking

Wood !!!

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

So far my Fridays off work plan has been a great idea. I was fortunate to get shop time last weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (after church of course). These were not full (10 hr) days but they were significant blocks of time to get things accomplished.


After a walk with my wife in the morning, I made my way down to the shop to finish up the Work Sharp sharpening station build. Specifically I needed to come up with a method for leveling the Work Sharp with the honing table. After scrounging around my part bins I finally found some bolts and nuts that were of sufficient length to raise and level the unit. I even found some plastic caps that fit the bolts to serve as “feet”. This worked and I was able to get a serviceable fit however I’m not totally satisfied with the solution. The good news is that the unit isn’t bolted to the stand which allows freedom to move it around as needed for the task. The bad news is that the unit isn’t bolted to the stand which means that sometimes it moves on you during sharpening. I’m still working out what I can add so that I can clamp and release the unit as desired for the task. But as every tool in my shop was dull, had a marathon sharpening session for the rest of the day. There were some mixed results but on the whole, I’ve never had sharper tools to work with and this is a “good thing”.


Me and my fellow cave divers used to have a saying we would use on occasion, “you don’t know if you don’t go”. What was the cave like, was it difficult to get there, did you like the dive? You’ll never know if you don’t take the “plunge”.

Until Saturday, I have exactly zero experience sawing lumber from trees but I have picked up a few logs off the side of the road. Completely inexperienced I wondered how I would do anything with them so some of them sat in the corner of my shop for months. YouTube and the Internet to the rescue when I saw videos of using your band saw to turn logs into small boards. In a previous post you’ll see where I finally installed my 12″ band saw riser kit so I was finally at a point to give this a try. So using an L shaped sled on the band saw my goal was to turn this:

Cedar Log


Into this:

IMG_3782 IMG_3780 IMG_3779 IMG_3778

Wow! Now other than the fact that pushing a rather large log through 12″ of exposed band saw blade seems like a really good way to get you hand cut off, it was incredibly fun! The unique smell of cedar filled my shop as these amazing book-matched pieces revealed themselves. I reiterate, I really had to be extremely disciplined and careful during these milling operations and it is a bit scary. I ended up sawing open 4 logs into roughly 4/4 and 6/4 sizes.

Success with the recent cedar harvest encouraged me to try some of the older logs I had picked up sometime earlier in the year. I really don’t know but I’m guessing these are oak.

Spalted Oak IMG_3785 IMG_3784

Whoa, these pieces are spalted! You don’t know if you don’t cut. I cut up the two logs that were of manageable size but I have a lot more of this tree that is too big and will need to be cut up first. I have a chain saw but can’t ever seem to get it started so I’ll have to regroup and come up with a plan to size them. One of the pieces is a large truck that I could probably split into quarters but I’ll need to obtain the tools first. I don’t have a functioning axe but I can remedy that. Because I had previously neglected to paint the ends of these logs, there were significant splits. Searching the shop for something to seal the ends, I ended up using sanding sealer. I don’t know how this fits into the hierarchy of  appropriate products to use but it was on hand and available so I used it before stickering.


Sunday’s project was to replace a broken stretcher on an old wooden futon. This thing was cheaply made and heavily used and as a result the wood had given way.

Broken Futon Crappy Closeup of the Break

The plan was to use a single piece of home center lumber, an 8′-2×6 for the repair which I would rip into the two pieces required for the stretcher. Once I got it into the shop I realized that I was not going to rip this thing on my table saw, especially by myself and without any support rollers, etc.. It was pretty obvious to me that it wouldn’t have been safe so I resorted to using the circular saw. Other than the fact that I didn’t have an 8′ guide for the rip, it worked out fine. I would have to make two rips, one for the stretcher proper and one for the support that is glued and screwed to it. The support is what the slats rest on and are screwed to. Speaking of slats, another one of those is broken as well so I searched around the shop and found a scrap of cypress of the correct dimensions to replace it.


The rips were pretty rough and the board had a wicked twist so I made a whole bunch of curls getting the pieces closer to flat. I’m not a woodworker but I play one on this blog so from your perspective, I used my awesome tools and talent to make crooked boards straight and beautiful. The reality is, I winged it and it didn’t turn out too badly. At least my plane blade was relatively sharp following Friday’s efforts :-)


Using the old stretcher as a model, I pre-drilled the counter sink for screws that would hold the support, then glued up.



It was pretty obvious that 6 screws wasn’t going to get it done for clamping pressure so I followed up by grabbing all my F-clamps and was rewarded by an amazing glue squeeze out. Ahhhh…… much better.

Susan was starving and dinner and ready and I had a shop to clean up but before turning off the lights, I slathered on some lovely “golden pecan” stain. The cypress sucked it up like there was no tomorrow and it looked pretty good! The home center lumber did not. It looks bloody awful so I’m thinking about a small can of the stain/varnish combined. I’ve read they are awful but for this project, all I need is for it to darken the color and put on something that will seal the wood. It will never be pretty and that was never the plan in the first place. I just need to have it finished by this weekend so I can take it with us to Melrose. Susan and I will have 3 wonderful, private days at our Turtlecove retreat while the girls get a visit from their “real” dad.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

Work Sharp – Sharpening Stand, Part 2

October 6, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve been taking Friday’s off to use up some of my accumulated vacation and although our household has been quite busy, it has helped get me back in the shop. I was able to work on my sharpening station Friday and Sunday and I am pretty close to completion. What remains is important but shouldn’t be all that difficult to engineer and that is to rig up a leveling system. By design the Work Sharp is situated lower than the honing table so it must be raised. This allows the device to be leveled and made flush to the honing table.

Friday Build

I had already roughed out the dimensions and cut most of the stand components as you can see from my previous post. The top, what I will call the “honing table” still needed to be shaped and sized to fit the stand. Once I had double checked that everything was going to fit (as far as I could see), I set to work cutting the dado’s for the 10 media slides that would mount on the right hand side. Using 1/8″ ply from my previous build meant I already had the methodology and experience to cut these slots without a lot of retooling. Susan and I were heading in to town for shopping, a pre-birthday lunch celebration and to pick up our daughter after school so it was a brief session but enough to get me ready for glue-up later in the day.

Once back from town I got back to work. First I  finish shaping the honing table top. I was a little concerned about how to make a presentable half-circle cut-off for the media but I guess I’m getting better at it because it went fairly smoothly. I placed the WS up against the board and traced around the WS with a pencil. The resulting line was a little iffy so I made sure not to take too much off at the band saw. Then using the largest spindle on my sander I then iteratively sanded and fit the honing table to the Work Sharp. It turned out fairly reasonable so with all the components ready, I set about gluing up the stand structure.

I used my trusty corner clamps to aid in keeping things square and reinforced the glue joints with 3/4″ brads using my nailer. I was sure to use a couple of drops of oil in the nailer and set my pressure to 75 psi. This seemed to work out about right as I didn’t have any jams and the brads had enough energy to sink their heads without me needing to set them. Perhaps a record, I only had one brad pop out the side which stinks but hey, it isn’t rocket surgery, I simply used a nail set on it and patch it with filler later (or not). Last time using the 23 gauge pins, they were all over the place having difficulty penetrating the oak I was using so this is a major improvement. I decided the stand could use a back, so I cut one out of 1/8″ ply and attached with glue and nails. This would not only make the stand look better but would also add a bit of strength the structure.

While the glue dried I measured and cut 10, 1/8″ ply squares that would hold the media discs. The first cut, a tad smallish. The second cut, still a tad smallish. This third cut, tad to tight. Bollocks, they all fit so I’ll use them all!

Sharpening Stand - End of Friday

I was running out of day so before wrapping up, I contemplated how I was going to construct the drawer. 1/2″ plywood sides, front and back and 1/8″ ply bottom was a start. I haven’t built many drawers, but I have studied their construction as of recent. Fine Woodworking has had several very detailed articles on case and drawer construction methods. The FWW magazine also had an interesting Master Class section entitled “Carved pulls give a handmade touch”. Instead of drilling a finger hole in the front, I decided to try my hand at a carved finger pull. I knew it would be crude, but thought I’d try none-the-less. In order to try this, I was going to need to upgrade the front to a solid wood so I replaced the ply with 1/2″ pine. In retrospect it would have been easier to use a thicker stock but the drawer was small and I was thinking thinner would be more appropriate. My final design was to cut 1/8″ dados for the drawer bottom using butt joints to join the sides to the front and back. The back would be nailed but I would use small dowels to reinforce the glued front. Finally I would countersink a small screw in the center back to keep the floating bottom from coming loose. In theory the bottom could expand seasonally towards the front but I didn’t leave much room in that groove so I’m relying on the ply to be pretty stable. I’m hopeful but at least I’m beginning to think like a woodworker.

Saturday Build

The drawer took longer because I was doing so many things for the first time. All in all I think it all worked out great and as my wife keeps telling me, “It’s not a race”. There was a mention on the FWW Shop Talk Live podcast about trying to focus on what went right instead of what didn’t on the build. It’s a small thing but I think I have a different attitude now when things go unexpectedly . Some procedures go smoothly and some don’t but as long as you’re safe there isn’t anything that can’t be fixed (or simply overlooked). I refuse to get caught up in snobbery or competition. My work has gone from C- to B- and occasionally I get a B or B+. In time I hope to get even better grades but really, what does it really matter? I’m building, learning and having fun. Now don’t get me wrong, I want to build beautiful things and one day I will but I’m not going to get hung up on it.

Drawer with Through Pull

I still had a little time left in the afternoon so I worked on the media slides. I wanted to add short pieces of dowel to the center of each slide to keep the honing media from shifting on the slide. The only 1/2″ dowel I had on hand was one that had “been around” and had some nice mold, or rather spalting on it. I began by chucking that sucker in my hand drill and using sand paper to clean up a length then cut them by hand to approximately 18 mm in length. I counter sunk a small screw in the center of each slide then glued and screwed each with a dowel. Hey a miracle, they all fit. I did inadvertently drill through the top of a couple of the dowels mainly because the screws were pretty tight and I didn’t think I was drilling quite deeply enough but I was wrong on that count. Again I didn’t stress on this as it is shop furniture and I simply mixed up some glue and sawdust to fill in the small holes. Problem solved.

I was finished for now. The only thing left is to devise a leveling system for the Work Sharp so it can be made dead flat to the honing table. I have some ideas kicking around but nothing finalized, this will be for the next session.


Sharpening Stand - Sunday

The final act on Sunday was to slather on a bit of Tung Oil finish. During this process a couple of refinements came to mind. First I was thinking it “would be nice” to add a bit of cord management to the back. Strain relief and perhaps a cord wrap. While was put wiping finish on the back, I tipped the structure forward to get down low and rather stupidly dumped all my media slides out. Hummm, it “would be nice” if there was door to prevent those expensive glass discs from flying out. But that would happen only if you are moving the structure which won’t happen often. Still, I’ve already dropped those darn discs twice so I can predict trouble in my future.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

Work Sharp – Sharpening Stand

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Man don’t you just hate copycats! Yet here I am, once again following instead of leading this time working on a Work Sharp 3000 stand a la Stumpy Nubs. The interesting part for me is that I’m building without any plans. I watched Stumpy’s video and subsequently watched Lance build a nice version in Lance’s Woodshop & Adventures. My sharpening regime is well, non-existent?!? I know the importance of sharp tools, I want sharp tools but I haven’t ever been able to get any consistency with my sharpening. I wrestled with getting a set of water stones but I already have a sand paper system and I also wanted something that would help me grind, every tool in my shop easily. Then if  I’m not happy with the honing I get off the Work Sharp, I can always go to sand paper on a flat surface. If I’m still not happy I might start looking into diamond paste. First I have to get close and this is why I bought the WS 3000.

I’ve spent very little time with it but I have done some rough grinding to set bevels on two sets of “beater” chisels. I will attempt to hone them next but first I was hoping to build this stand so that I could use my honing guide. So there is a reason why I want to build it but it is also a good exercise for me to build something on the fly. I didn’t get much time on Friday to work on other than to work out some dimensions and rough out my parts.

WS 3000 Stand Rough Out

I doubt it will be as pretty as either Stumpy’s or Lance’s but I have every reason to believe that one way or another I should be able to make my version serviceable.

A Turtlecovebrewer Shop Update

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Part 5

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

As the saying goes, “There’s good news and bad news, which do you want to hear first?” The good news is that I’m taking a vacation this year, one weekday a week through the end of 2014. This means longer weekends and shorter work weeks for the near future and more time to play in my shop. The not-so-good news is that a fair portion of this “vacation” will be consumed dealing with chores and family matters. In balance I think it good news overall.

Build Day 8 – Routing the Corner Bead

So my piece-meal vacation began with a half day off on Friday and this granted me a few hours in the shop to finish up the tool chest I’ve been working on. With my groovy 1/8″ radius corner beading bit in hand I mounted the  1/2″ collet  and began the setup on my router table. I would be beading both the top and bottom drawer fronts and although the router scares me, I was cautiously optimistic that this would go alright. True, I was a little nervous about mangling the drawers that took me so long to build but we woodworkers must be brave if we are to progress. What could happen right?

Using a scrap, I carefully adjusted the fence on my router table, then tweaked the router bit height so the radius of the bead would be centered on the plywood drawer bottom with the quirk groove just above the plywood. Awesome, I was ready to give my first drawer a try. As I made a dry run on the route it was immediately obvious that I had a major problem. For those of you who happen to listen to the FWW Shop Talk Live podcast you’ll be familiar with the segment they call “Smooth Moves”, where the hosts share their recent shop foul ups and blunders. For this post mine would have to be the decision to install the pulls before routing the drawer front beads.  “What would you do with a brain if you had one?” Well I certainly wouldn’t do it that way next time! No way I was going to be able to use a router fence, I’d have to rely on the bit’s bearing….. OK I can do that, so far so good only half-way through the route, the bit bumps into the pull… Oh crap! Turns out the pull interferes with both the bottom and the top route. Darn. After wasting a lot of time in great thought I realize that short of cutting off all the pulls, I was going to have to route to the pull, then begin the route on the other side of the pull leaving chunks of wood to chisel out and shape by hand. Top and bottom on all 10 drawers. Fair enough I’m a woodworker, let’s get on with it.

Naively, I suspected the bottom route would be trickier than the top but I hadn’t accounted for the fact that without the drawer bottom to ride along, the top sides would glide smoothly until, they dropped off the edge of my small bench top router table, allowing the router bit to make an ugly gouge in my otherwise very pretty bead. OK make a note of that and hold on to the work piece accordingly which I mostly did yet still with some glitches. So I thought about placing the drawer on a piece of plywood as a carrier and this could have been done if had chosen to route all the bottoms first before adjusting the bit height to account for the carrier thickness. I chose to leave the bit set and route both top and bottom using the same setup. Next time I would probably use the plywood and change the setup.

After routing I had a lot of carving to do to form the bead around the pulls. I used chisels to hog out the quirk and shape the bead and various small files to fine tune the groove. It was trial and error but with 10 drawers to practice on, I finally got the hang of how best to do it. Remember this is a “hand crafted” tool chest and there will be no mistaking it from a manufactured piece. Because of this fact, I decided not to fix the bead defects rather I left them for “character”.

Traditional Bead on the Drawer Fronts

Traditional Beading Completed – Blemishes and All

Build Day 9 - Final Drawer Fitting  and Finish

Relieved that I had “completed” the beading (both mechanical and by hand), I surveyed the drawers for fit and final finish. I had two drawers that needed some work, one of the two was too wide across the front. I took a block plane and chisel to it removing wood until the drawer slid smoothly. Then one drawer at a time, I relieved all the edges and sanded the drawer bottoms so they would slide as easily as possible. It was a fair amount of work with 10 drawers but it was necessary for that professional, polished look.

IMG_3768  Build Finished

I was finally ready for a light sanding with the random orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper.  A tack cloth removed the dust and I was finally ready for a coat of clear shellac. I’ll put several more coats of the undiluted clear Zinsser shellac on it over the next week knocking off the high spots in between coats with 500 grit sandpaper (by hand). I’ll take the advice I read recently and will dilute the shellac to 60% with alcohol for the final coats.

Tool Chest w/ Shellac

The build wasn’t perfect but overall I am happy with the result. I have learned many valuable lessons and many tasks did go as I had planned. Some things didn’t go perfectly and I have tried to give thought as to how they might be done differently (and more satisfactorily) next time round. Thanks for sticking with me…..

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

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