but there’s still lots of tools hanging around. I put a chisel away today, and found yet another argument for using the tool chest.
So I know some of what I will do in the shop tomorrow.
Here is one of many boxes I made in the summer, when it was too hot for real woodworking. The blocks to separate the chisels were based on something I saw in the new edition of the Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton. (this detail is in the old edition too, but I was only looking at the book because I had got the new edition…)
I got my copy of the Seaton book by joining the Tools & Trades Historical Society… http://www.taths.org.uk/ – it’s worth a shot if you haven’t already done so. But it might be you have to buy the book at this point…I don’t know. You gotta have it either way.
last year I finished this walnut chest. I was way out of my league making it, but it came out generally OK. I was left with a bunch of walnut leftovers…so many became parts of my tool chest. The main tool trays within the chest are quartersawn walnut that I resawed from the 1” thick stuff.
well now I’ve done it. I have to get this tool chest painted so I can get on with the rest of my life. But today I painted for about 4 hours or more. And was it tiring! Standing in one position all day. And there’s more to go. but here’s what I got today.
I marked out some artificial spacing – created “stiles” on the ends of the chest front, and a center muntin. this way it mimics the lid above it. Then I started outlining the designs for the resulting two panels. I chose to use stuff I know well, that reduced how much head-scratching I had to do…then I outlined the pattern in bone black pigment.
The pine chest is not primed in any way, so it’s quite absorbent. Helps the paint dry quickly.
Then came some yellow ochre, just like I did yesterday.
As before, I am figuring this out as I go. Getting some paint on there helps to see where I have to go next. There’s a lot of area to cover. Can’t leave anything blank.
I knew I wanted fake drawer fronts on the skirt around the bottom of the chest; but I didn’t outline them in black, just scribed them with marking gauge & awl. So I will go back when this dries, and add outlines.
This is the front, about half-done. Gotta figure out the “muntin” for this section; and add some details. Next week I hope to finish the painting. Then I can start using the chest.
One nice part was standing at the window all day. Saw a red fox scoot by; but the camera was up on the tripod, so no shot of him. He’s a regular – I’ll get him at some point.
So I started painting the lid to my tool chest. It’s part 17th-century English, part 19th-century Pennsylvania. The lid has two flush panels in a frame, so it was easy to break it up into components. Here I have outlined some of the patterns in bone black pigment mixed in linseed oil.
Next came yellow ochre, to do some of the backgrounds, and some small details on a long rail.
When I started these flower-shapes in red, at first the red ran all the way out to the black background. Then I quickly realized I like a white-ish outline. So I will go over this when the colors dry & outline these in white.
This is as far as I got; I hadn’t figured out the patterns for the rest of it yet…
My shop at the museum has an ocean view. Good for the soul. Good for birding at lunchtime. But tough for iron & steel. When I read Chris’ note that one benefit of keeping tools in a chest was rust prevention, I was sold. I changed a bunch of things, some intentional, some otherwise. The lid I made has two panels that are flush with the framing. This way I can use strap hinges on the inside…those are on order now. The dust seal on my lid is fixed to its bottom surface, not the edges. It gets the same effect, I think.
I’m not much of a dovetail-er…but now I have had some practice.
My carcass is white pine, but the trays inside are walnut. I ran out of pine, and had a fair amount of the walnut leftover. So I ripped a bunch of it down to ½” thick and made the three trays from that. “Trays” doesn’t quite seem the right term for them, but I guess they aren’t quite drawers either.
I have never studied antique tool chests, so all I had to go on was the book; the way these trays ride is pretty nice. The lowest tray rides on slats fixed to the inside walls of the chest; but the trays are different widths. The narrowest is the bottom, the next one a bit wider and the top one is the full width of the chest’s interior. So to keep them from flopping laterally, you need to fix spacers beside the trays. In the case of the bottom tray, the spacers also serve as the runners for the next tray, and this repeats once more for the top tray. Chris used quartersawn white oak for his. Nice tough wood for sliding those heavy trays across.
I decided to use some odd bits of carving demos for mine. (in this view, the top tray doesn’t have its bottom yet.) Couldn’t bear to use up new blank pieces of oak. This way we’ll know this chest is mine. Some of these were done during the shooting of the DVDs on carving. Some I make boxes from, but I don’t need three versions of each box around here. Others were carvings I did for demonstrations, but never finished them…
The trays’ bottoms are also oak, in this case riven clapboards I conned the carpenters into letting go. I planed them down to ¼” thick. Using a period-style bench makes planing this very thin stuff quite challenging. I used a simple lap joint between the boards; ship-lapped it’s sometimes called. In this case, I used machine-made nails; no sense using hand-made nails for this tiny work.
So far, I have put dividers in two of the trays; the clapboard bottoms flopped around a bit in the wide open middle of these long trays. So I inserted a divider, and nailed the bottom boards up to that.
Today I made a tray-within-a-tray; to keep carving gouges in. This way I can just lift the small tray out of the box, and bring it to the bench. We’ll see how it goes. At this point, I’m at the stage where I am fitting various tools into the trays, etc. It’s been a fun project, but I am continually reminded that I am a joiner, not a cabinetmaker. And that’s a good thing…joinery I can handle, this I’m barely getting by…