From my Journal
Tuesday 21st February 2017
A good day thinking through the prototype, which will be a keepsake box that you can keep just about anything you want in from letters to chisels depending on what you hold dear. I finally developed the awkward corner joint and that went well enough without making it too complex. I am making the one for the series from walnut and another from ash. That way people can see two very different woods used for the same project. At least that’s my plan so far but don’t hold me to it. Dovetails with splays are always more awkward. It does make for a greater challenge and that goes for me as well as those learning as something common suddenly gets turned around, in your mind at least, when you present to camera. This box could be used for many things but in this case I will give it to my wife who suggested it as a project for the Woodworking Masterclasses series. I have many boxes I have collected and made through the years and used them mostly for the hand tools I so love.
This box begins with 9/16” stock 4” wide by the length and depth of the box, so 6” and 12” respectively. I wanted more of a visual impact rather than just a square-edged corner and so the curved sides seemed a more unusual option. I also faced expansion and contraction issues for lid and bottom, hence I came up with a method I used when I made the cabinets for the Cabinet Room of the White House, which provides for such wood movement. My maxim is this, anything over 5” wide must provide for wood movement by way of expansion and contraction, otherwise splits are likely to occur if just glued in place.
It is interesting to think through the various considerations surrounding projects like this. Which hinges will I go for? Should a locks or catch and stays be installed? I could use concealed hinges or recessed ones. What type of lock? The box is jointed and then cut into two. Tricky aligning the saw along two lines. How much to allow for removing saw kerf and keep dovetails to same size? Do these things matter and if so, how much? My drawings usually include notes and suggestions to myself, so I don’t forget ideas.
My drawings always change to some degree as I add new considerations. It can push me up to the deadline for filming and whereas any changes on the pages for me would be fine, that doesn’t work for those following. By the time the project is perfected, the drawings must be redrawn to match the necessary changes that make the project work.
So, yet another project emerges from a few sketches, some pencil lines and then some shavings and sawdust on my bench. Now to pick out the wood, sharpen up my tools and start on the real thing. I think you will like the twist I brought to the dovetails to make everything work. The subtleties are not at all obvious from the outside.