It seems time to post another entry, even if I haven’t been working specifically on any client projects. On occasion, I like to take time to do some recreational woodworking or shop upgrades/maintenance. I also take care of some of the smaller projects too, like a couple more Alaska metal sculpture bases or plaque blanks. After following Matt’s podcasts throughout the hand plane series, I decided to take care of mine.
Hand Plane Cabinet
My planes deserve a better place for storage than a drawer. I’ve seen plenty of woodworkers with cabinets which not only looked respectable, but also provided optimal organization and access. The dimensions were tricky though, mainly because I want my cabinet hanging on a wall shallow as possible.
Hand Plane Cabinet
I also wanted to stand the planes at an angle in their own individual spots. Since the height of the largest plane is near 7″, this made “shallow” pretty hopeless. The angled rack received dividers via grooves and then each plane was fitted to its slot with a toe holder. I left enough height for a lower shelf. The door is hung via a piano hinge and closes on a couple rare earth magnets. The entire cabinet was made with scrap woods.
Next were the planes themselves. It was time to sharpen the blades and touch up the tuning. Plus I had a new block plane to completely work into a precision cutter. There are plenty of tutorials on that process, such as this video. I forgot that long ago I replaced the blade on my ~99-year old #4 Stanley hand plane with a crappy iron. It seemed to work well enough, but it was time to put a proper cutter in that thing so I ordered an O1 Lie-Nielsen replacement. In accordance with the manufacturers recommendations, I set that hand plane for very fine smoothing. My other #4, a Lie-Nielsen is set for more aggressive smoothing. Besides those, I have a ~50-year old Stanley #7 corrugated jointer, a #5 and #6 Lie-Nielsen Jack and a Lie-Nielsen rabbeting block plane. I hope to get a #8 Lie-Nielsen jointer next.
Deck Post Caps
Following that project and weekend, I was asked to make a deck post cap prototype. The only challenge was the 1/2″ underside inset on which the cap would fit onto the posts. In order to make it a clean cutout, I used a 1/4″ up spiral router bit to establish an outline. Using start and finish marks on the router table fence helped ensure a square outline cutout. I looked to the router again to remove the rest of the waste, but it was far easier and just as fast to use a large forstner bit. With a few requested changes, the job was approved for 9 caps total, made of tulip poplar.
The next project was an interesting challenge. I got a pair of concealed, soft-close drawer slides with no idea how to properly install them.
Full Mock-up Assembly
I researched several manufacturers and it turns out that they are all very similar in design and function. They all had miserable instructions, which at best read like technical drawings made for the professional cabinet making shop alone. It became more apparent that a demo of this system would likely be helpful. Using all scrap material again, I built a drawer and then a case around that.
Drawer underside with lockers
These type of slides all require two holes in the drawer back which act as the rear alignment while there is a underside locker which secures the front end, as well as allows for vertical adjustment. The idea of the mock-up is to be able to see the all the components and installation. The drawer comes out easily and when flipped, readily shows the position of the adjusting lockers. The next step was to figure out a method to make it simple to inspect the inside of the case. Even though it’s not difficult to see inside without the drawer, I knew it would be better if the top could come off.
Inside look at the slides
I turned to the Festool domino to provide alignment and stability. I tapered each domino carefully with sandpaper to assist in seating and removing the top as needed. Overall, the demo seems effective. As for the slides, I think they add quality to any construction and certainly will allow high-quality craftsmanship, like dovetails, to remain visually unobstructed. I will likely purchase available installation aids if I need to do many of these.
Time for a break now. It’s the 4th of July weekend and I plan on enjoying it, maybe with some traditional craftsmanship reading representative of the time for which we celebrate this holiday. Take care and be safe.
Thanks for reading.
Your Arctic Woodworking Friend,
p.s. I just received my Lie-Nielsen straight handle crosscut saw. I may have to spend a little time in the shop after all. Saw ya later!
-- Troy Bouffard || Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired) || http://www.birchhillwoodcrafts.com