More on the Hope Chest

I worked on the Hope Chest for a few hours this (now Friday) morning and it went well. Raising panels went well again too. As you can see I used a Stanley #4 across the grain to hog off a full 1/8” from the thickness of this 16” x 16” oak panel before I raised it. Notice that I am working across (90-degrees to its axis) the grain until just above my gauge line. That way I can remove stock very rapidly using a plane with a heavy camber on the cutting iron (as discussed and shown in an earlier blog). About 1/8”. Once the surface was down I finished the surface with a #5 ½.



With the bevels fully formed I finished off the surfaces with the new Veritas small smoothing plane and this works exceptionally both with and across the grain with the plane skewed on the cross-grain bevels.



I scraped all of the surfaces until they were blemish free and soon I will sand the panels using only 240-grit paper.




Two remaining aspects if the chest is making the lid and the drawer, which will be fun. I will be away in Yorkshire for a few days so not much to tell on this until I return to work Monday. Follow me on these aspects of the project and we will all learn something I am sure.


I love sliding the panels into the grooves and then uniting the tenons into their mortises. very satisfying.


Here is the corner of the chest with two panels in place.


  1. Whereas in an ideal world you are right, for we hand tool enthusiasts wanting to make one or two panels it’s quite prohibitive to go out and buy a spindle moulder (shaper US) or even a router and bits to do this task. Panel raising planes that allow this featured profile are very expensive also so we are left with the ‘poor-man’s’ method, which I use all the time now.
    I make sure my panel wood is dried down to around 7%. Quite low, but easy enough to achieve. The frame stock remains at around 11%. When I shape my raised bevel I use a piece of the frame stock with the groove cut into it and test this against the bevel so that the bevel fits snuggly into the groove and seats almost but not quite to the bottom. In the width of a panel I allow only 1/16″ under frame width. This allows a little for expansion into the groove in both thickness of wood and width.This then tightens the panel to the groove if there is any expansion. In other words the panel is most unlikely to ever shrink, even with central heating. Now this will not work for cope and stick methods of frame making; i.e, mass made routed cope and stick methods used for kitchen cabinets. as this is not technically a true joint an has only minimal strength compared to full-depth mortise and tenon joints.
    Now if you think about this, you will se that in cases where people paint their doors, shrinkage is an issue with the full panel raising method (machine moulded or panel raised) as the panel will shrink and leave a bare, unpainted break-line between the frame and the panel. This is very common in both painted and varnished finishes.

  2. My workshop in the castle has perfect control of humidity. I place my board in clamps where the clamps just touch the edges enough to hold with friction. Each day I check the clamps if they are tight then the moisture is absorbing, if they are not touching, the panel is shrinking. In my case I always find them loose each day until finally it stops. that’s when I install. Sorry it’s not scientific but it always works. Other than that I install in the frame without gluing the frame and leave the bevels over size so they actually don’t bottom out in the groove.It doesn’t take very long; a day or two.
    I do have a moisture meter but they don’t work too well on finished panels because they don’t tell you what’s inside without a deep probe and that marks the wood. The best way is to go off of weight. Provided you have a heat source with low humidity it works well

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