June 8, 2002
Well -- building my toolbox, I have learned the basic principle behind dovetail joinery. I am now embarking on a much smaller dovetail box, whose appearance will be much more important; there is less room for sloppiness here. This is a jewelry box, with a drawer and two shelves; the door in front of the shelves will be my first attempt at frame-and-panel joinery. The box is made of cherry; the wood I am using is left over from my Quilt Rack project. Interior parts will be poplar (the bottom of the box, and the inside of the drawer) and mahogany (the shelves). I have a very precise plan in mind but have not yet been able legibly to get it on paper.
Last night and this morning, I have been dimensioning the three largest pieces of the box, namely the back and two sides. This involves a lot of planing to get the thickness of the wood down from ¾" to 5/8" -- the first thickness planing I have every done in earnest. The planed cherry has a very nice look to it, although I would not go so far as to call it chatoyance -- there are shiny bits but not all over.
June 12, 2002
3 grooves down, 5 to go (2 stopped!) -- I am cutting the grooves that will hold shelves, before I cut dovetails. This way I can make the grooves through, much easier than stopped, and cut out the pins around them. This will work for everything except the grooves for the middle shelf inside the cubby space, which have to be stopped in front. I've been having trouble using my #46 plane here, so I have been roughing out the grooves using a variety of methods and finishing them off with the #271 router plane.
The 5/8" boards warped after I cut them, because I had taken all the waste off of one side of the boards -- to correct the warping I planed an 1/8" off the opposite side, so I now have ½" boards. Everything seems pretty accurate for being square and straight now.
June 16, 2002
I had a little hold-up yesterday when I realized that while the faces of my boards were accurately flat, the boards were cut as parallelograms rather than rectangles -- this is because the square I had been using to mark the cuts is not accurate. Fortunately this problem is correctible without too much trouble -- I have switched over to a square that I know to be accurate and am making good progress in trimming the boards.
June 20, 2002
My progress to date: I have cut the back and 2 sides square; cut 3 through grooves and one stopped groove in each side; and cut dovetail pins in the back of one side. I made a mistake with the stopped grooves; one of them is ¼" higher than than the other. To correct this I will have to glue an insert in the lower one, with projections coming out from it. The shelf will be in the groove on one side and resting on the projections on the other side -- not ideal but I can't see cutting the groove double width and filling half of it with an insert -- that doesn't seem like it would work. Once I get my other set of pins cut, I can go to work on the tails.
June 21, 2002
Update to that -- I decided to widen the groove and fill half of it with an insert. It should work well and look better than the other plan. I cut the edge of the groove tonight and will widen it this weekend; we are going away to a friends house and I'm bringing along 2 chisels and my mallet plus the boards. I will try to finish off the groove and the remaining dovetails on a hard piece of ground.
June 23, 2002
Something strange happened -- I took the sides and back of the box away with me this weekend to a friend's house, to finish trimming the dovetail pins while I visited. I guess the climate there was a lot moister than my apartment; when I came back I found one of the pieces had warped quite a bit. (Strangely not all of them, though they are cut from the same board.) I am hoping it will move back now that it is back at home; otherwise I will have to figure out some other way of coping with it. The pins look very nice.
June 24, 2002
The warpage is gone in the two pieces which were less cupped, and close to gone in the severely cupped piece; hopefully tomorrow that piece will have straightened out as well. I spent this evening cutting tails in the joint between the two straight pieces. The joint fits together very nicely and is square.
June 26, 2002
More progress: today the second dovetail joint is complete. The body of the box stands up remarkably straight and square.
July 1, 2002
I got my first set of pictures -- they show a nice narrative of the box's construction thus far.
November 18, 2002
I put the jewelry box on hold while we moved into our new house; and now that I have my shop back in order, it appears to be still on hold while I work on some other projects. But it is still a going concern!