Here’s some recent pictures of my tool chest. With my class at the Woodwright’s School fast approaching and very little time to myself, I have unfortunately been turning to power tools to help speed me along. I would have liked to been able to say this was my first hand tool only project but it has not been so.
For the bottom of the chest I used four boards with the grain running from the front to the back. I ship lapped them using a dado set in the table saw to make the rabbets. I had tried this with a Stanley No. 78 that I have but was not having much success. The rabbets would not come out square. I even tried my shoulder plane. If I had had more time I would have tried to figure out what I was doing wrong or fixed the tool. Instead I caved and just decided to use my friend’s table saw. After the rabbets were all cut I screwed the boards to the bottom. For the top I did frame and panel construction. Once again I turned to the dado stack in the table saw and cut all of my grooves. To join the frame I used slip joints and cut the tenons with the table saw. Once I got back home and had a work bench again, I cut the mortises in the long rails to accept the tenons using a back saw and chisel. This turned out better than I expected, but I am glad that there will eventually be a dust seal wrapping the lid. The joints look a little sloppy around the edges, but they fit snugly enough that the lid stays together even without glue. Before the week is over I need to make my sliding trays and trim the lid. I’ll probably put off the skirt, dust seal, and paint until after I get back. I do need to figure out what to do for handles though. Hopefully this week will afford me some time to get it done.
Through all of this one thing is becoming clear to me. Hand tools require time. They require patience. And close enough is usually never close enough. This chest leans a bit and is slightly out of square. I let it go because I need to get it done, but this is one area I don’t want to let become common place. I was reminded of this the other day on a woodworking forum. The poster said something to the effect that close enough here and close enough there eventually adds up to no where near close. I can totally see that.