Making the box

At furniture making school we’ve been making the little box I mentioned in my last blog.

Box in ash with walnut veneer

The lid is made from laminated construction veneer formed over a curved polystyrene mould. Mine is a very simple curve but some of my colleagues went for slightly more exotic curvature. The box itself is made from rippled ash and is constructed with hounds-tooth dovetails at each corner. The bottom is made from veneered MDF which slots into a groove cut into the back and sides.

We are encouraged to add a little creativity to these projects so I thought I’d put a small drawer at the bottom with the remaining area accessed through the lid. This isn’t a great use of the limited space but it adds a bit of variety.

The construction was going well until I realized I’d cut the dovetails and pins before cutting the hole for the drawer. The plan had been to cut the front along the lines of the top and bottom of the drawer hole and then to cut out the middle and glue it all back together with just the hole missing. But if you’ve already cut the pins along the side this isn’t going to work as the sawing and gluing would move the pins by the width of the saw kerf, so I had to cut the hole with a coping saw and a router. Not as neat and harder to get square. To compound this error I then dropped the front on the floor. It broke along the thin sections surrounding the drawer. The break was clean so I glued it back together and then next day I dropped it again. Aaarrrggghh. Maybe I should go back to the software.

Box glue up

I got the box glued up. I’d already made the little drawer. Ugh, I’d made the drawer to long. I really should go back to the office job. Never, I made another drawer, much improved on the first one. The too big drawer is now handy little tray for my bench.A small lock is set into the front and the butt hinges are set flush with the back of the box so the lid rests at just over vertical.A drawer guide is glued either side of the drawer and these also support the upper shelf. The upper shelf has mitered edging and a single divider. I’m not sure about the little knob I made for the drawer. It’s only attached with double sided tape at the moment. The escutcheon inlay around the key is made from bog oak.


Back at home I did some experimenting with stopped grooves using a Record 043 small plough plane. The bigger plough plane featured in the last post is a bit long for doing stopped grooved so I bought a 043 from Ebay. With this you can produce a passable stopped groove .

I drilled a hole to mark each end of the groove using a drill of the same diameter as the groove. Then use the plane to cut a groove between the two holes. The plane can’t get to the end of the grooves because it has a leading and trailing sole so you end up with a groove that slopes. You also need to keep lowering the blade on the plane so you can cut deeper. This is tricky on the 043 because there is no depth adjustment screw as on the larger plough planes. I finished off the grooves with a chisel although a small router plane would have been a better tool perhaps.

So it works but needs a bit of practice to get the ends tidy.

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