Home > Woodworking > Toolbox – Part 3

Toolbox – Part 3

Finally, a block of uninterrupted time in my shop over the weekend. The last time I was in my shop I spent the better part of a day reorganizing the equipment. I can’t really say that I was excited over a shop work-day rather it came more out of a total necessity. I can also say that the changes I made really has improved the work-flow. This is most certainly not my last re-organization, nor is it a “perfect” setup but it is working way better than the non-sense I had kluged together previously. Perhaps I’ll post a before and after for my next post.

Tool Tote – Fixing Mistakes

I’ve developed a little bit of confidence now in my woodworking and it’s not because my skills are that refined. I have learned 3 things that contribute to this feeling and I’ll share them here.

  1. Plans are useful –  It just occurred to me that project plans are analogous to a road map for traveling. Maps are useful, showing you the overall route and potential obstacles you may encounter along the route. Like a map, you can’t expect to blindly follow it without regard to the actual reality of the road conditions you experience along the way. If you are building without a plan, expect to make a few wrong turns and assume you’ll need to “figure out and fix things along the way”.
  2. You will make mistakes – There, I’ve said it. The question is how many mistakes will you make on a project. You’ll need to find a balance between, thinking it through and diving right in because you will need to do both if you want to get anything done.
  3. Anything can be fixed – Did I overstate my case on this one? Sometimes you can fill the hole with wood putty, sometimes you can cut a patch, sometimes you can change the design and sometimes you simply cut a new piece of wood. On this project I used all those fixes and I’m not finished yet.

I probably err a tad on the “dive right in” side of axiom #2 above. I’ve been putting all my recent projects in SketchUp but oddly, I’ve been doing this after the builds. A bit of time spent in SketchUp prior to the build would have saved me a few missteps on this particular project.

Weekend Tasks

Although the tote appeared mostly completed in my previous post I actually had many details left to complete. I wanted to add oak trim as a design element to the front. The use of oak trim as a design element was initially used to cover up gaps caused by ill placed dados. In this case it is simply a design preference, tying the oak strips in the back and drawer front together.

Oak trim added to front panel.

Oak trim added to front panel.

While the glue was drying on the trim piece, I decided to move forward with building the drawer. It would seem wiser to wait until the tote was fully assembled and glued up but, it was already dry fitted in its final form so I felt OK moving forward. Although no dovetails were involved in drawer assembly the design did call for two 3/4″ rebates, two 3/4″ dados and a 1/4″ rebate along all four pieces to accept the drawer bottom. I was too lazy to fit my dado stack for this small job so I cut the 3/4″ rebates and dados making multiple cuts using my crosscut sled and cleaning up the floors with my small router plane. The 1/4″ rebate was cut at the router table using a 1/4″ straight bit and a handful of trouble. Cutting the oak front I neglected to fully tighten the fence, thus my cut wandered. This was not severe enough to warrant a repair so I choose to overlook the imperfection. While cutting the drawer back rebate I made a more serious mistake. I had to make the cut in a series of shallow passes and while setting up the bit for the last pass I neglected to check the orientation of the piece and began routing the TOP rail. DOH! Of course I felt the router bit bite into the piece and I knew immediately that I had messed up. That one mistake I had to fix by patching.

Drawer construction.

Drawer construction.

So while I was waiting for the patch to dry, I moved on to the next task which was to shorten the shelf. Adding the oak trim to the shelf left it a bit proud so while the tote was assembled I set a depth gage to the capture the overhang. It was just about time for another mistake. Like a goof ball, I trimmed the pine edge which inserts into the dado thinking that I’d like the more valuable oak. Unfortunately the oak piece had to be trimmed because it overhung the end pieces. The oak overhangs actually needed to be reduced which I marked and cut at the band saw. Cleanup was completed with a chisel.

Shelf over hang was proud.

Shelf over hang was proud.

With that task completed, I flushed up the drawer back patch and assembled the drawer.

Assembled tote drawer.

Assembled tote drawer.

After relieving edges on all the pieces, I finished up the day adding a coat of shellac.

Pre-finished with shellac.

Pre-finished with shellac.

Not too much left on this project. With the pre-finish completed I’m now ready for glue-up and final touches.

You’re back in the shop with the Turtlecovebrewer.


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