I thought I’d start the week with another installment of the Cabinetmaker’s Toolchest. I decided to slow the pace a little and feature some of the basics in this next video. Making the lid is pretty much like it sounds. The lid is made from a single piece of solid cherry that is dimensioned and sized using hand tools. (of course)
As you watch the clip, you’ll notice some movement in my work bench during a few shots. The floor in the basement shop is far from flat so when I work across the grain it sometimes pushes the bench around and into an unbalanced area of the floor. I’m always pushing, shoving and sliding the bench back to a level location but felt it worth noting. I keep telling myself that a new bench is in the works and one of these days I’ll get my arse in gear and build one! But for now, I work with what I have.
These steps, highlighted in the video, are the fundamentals skills I use on every piece of wood, in every piece of furniture, that comes out of my shop.
Master these basics and you’ll soon find the grey vale of furniture construction starting to lift.
Starting with a face, the Jack plane is used to flatten and smooth the surface. I begin with diagonal passes across the work surface- the wood structure is much weaker across the grain and the board is easier to flatten this way. Once I get close to ‘flat’, I begin working along the grain, as per normal with a hand plane, and start smoothing the surface. This first, flat surface is known as ‘the reference face’.
Winding sticks are used along the way to check the board for flat and/or, to show me if the board has any twist over its surface. You’ll notice I pivot a single winding stick along the length of the work to determine if the surface is slightly convex. If a slight hump is detected, I’ll continue along, using a series of ‘stopped shavings’ trying my best to slightly hollow the surface. This ‘hollow’ may sound a little misleading, this hollow or dish, I’m trying to create, is VERY slight and almost undetectable by eye.
Once the first reference face is established, I move on to an edge and square it to this first face. This new edge is called the reference edge and throughout the rest of the dimensioning process, as well as the rest of the project, anytime I need to measure or mark off of this board, it will be done so from one of these two surfaces. The reference face and the reference edge.
After the first edge is square and smooth, I use my Lie Nielsen panel gauge to scribe a line around the work, marking the final width of the lid. I find I get better a more accurate scribe line using a few light passes instead of one heavy pass with the panel gauge. From there, I carefully plane down to the scribe lines, using a pencil to mark any high areas as I go.
Once complete, one end is squared on the shooting board and the final length is measured, cross cut and again refined on the shooting board to the perfect length. Six sides, square and smooth.
These are all very basic steps but I thought it worth slowing things down a little and highlighting some of these fundamental skills.
Until next time-
Here are some links to a few of the products used in this video: