For the manner in which men live is so different from the way in which they ought to live, that he who leaves the common course for that which he ought to follow will find that it leads him to ruin rather than safety.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oak Box

I want a small hanging box to house a few antique tools. The plan is to have an outside dimension of 12"h x 15"w. Depth will be about 3(ish) inches after I put in the back. There will be a shelf in the middle. The exact location of the shelf hasn't been determined yet, I'll take care of that later.
The idea behind this project is to take it slooooooooow. I tend to rush, that gets me frustrated, and then I walk away for a week and never pick up the project again. To remedy that, I'm only doing one operation a night. I'm concentrating on that one thing. Whether it is trimming to length, marking the joinery, or what have you. Slowing down and thinking about what I'm doing will help to stop me from re-making every mistake I've made in the past (or so I hope).
The case pieces all trimmed to length, dovetail baselines are marked out.

The first night, I cut the rough length of each piece. I stopped after that (I'm taking slow seriously). The next night I cut final length and shot the edges on my shooting board. As of right now, the tails are cut, and one set of pins have been cut.
Lessons learned so far:
1) as long as I mark out my lines well, there isn't a huge need to cut a rough length. I'll get it as close as possible and shoot it.
2) it's ok to buy dimensioned lumber. It saves a lot of work. I enjoy using hand planes, but heavy cutting is tiresome.
3) I need to work on marking my baselines better. By that, I mean ever-so-slightly deeper. I'm still trying to find a marking gauge that I really like. That's a topic for another day.
4) A sharp chisel isn't sharp enough. Oak is also armor-tough. I think my bevels were a little low to stand up to the oak.

 I'm totally using a crutch to cut these dovetails. I'll explain that in a day or two when I revisit this project here. I'm not 'fessing up to it yet!

On a side note, I finally bored the holes in the apron of my work bench. Gee...that only took a year and change to get around to.


  1. I have tried several marking gauges. For dovetails, hands-down, it's the Hamilton marking gauge. It's beautiful, stable, works one handed and marks exceedingly well.

    The glen-drake tite-mark is nice too, but the round head isn't nearly as stable, especially when marking further out into the panel. That applies to all round head gauges, it's not specific to the tits-mark.

    The shop fox marking gauge should be avoided at all costs, even at $9 it's a waste of money.

    I've used the Les Outils Cullen gauges in a class, they were nice too. Their pin gauge worked well, but it's not ideal for dovetails as it's a double-bevel edge so your baselines aren't as accurate. Their slitting gauge works well for dovetails if you sharpen the cutter so it's slightly rounded on the tip - but still not as nice as the Hamilton.

    1. Those Hamilton gauges look really nice. I like the large registration area. That is a complaint I have about just about every marking gauge. I've been rolling ideas around in my head to make one. We'll see how that goes, as I've been unreliable on the making-stuff front lately.
      A gauge I like a lot is the one that Jim Kingshott uses in his dovetail video.