First day building the pencil box

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 11-11-2007 01:41 AM 3384 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok – so now I’m on to making the box itself. I’ve not accomplished much today as I’m expecting company and spent a lot of shop time cleaning and preparing a meal. But the slow process is ok I’m really seeing things a little differently being forced to go slowly. It’s also a test of my patience trying to take pictures of the process along the way. For every pic you see here – I’ve probably taken 30 or 40 to get it right. I spoke to Santa last night and I really am getting a new camera for Christmas – maybe sooner!!!

So without further ado. This is the overall plan of the box I’m working on. Hopefully, I do Mr. Stowe’s box justice in both this blog and in the finished product.
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I’ve chosen mahagony for the wood as I have a ton of it and it’s easy to work.
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I’m trying to make it habit to check settings regularly and with this new little gadget by Wixie. You can see I’m only .2 off – I did not fuss over the .2
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I jointed one edge and one face flat. I’ve never been a good jointer—still working on the technique but I did ok here.
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Next off to the saw to rip to width – got the grip tight as the featherboard – its works well. You can’t see the spliter but it’s there. My guard broke into pieces so I need to get a new guard of some sort.
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I try to make sure that I have all my pieces set up so that I can cut and just get the next piece and I don’t have to worry about what side goes to the fence.
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I am not happy with my bandsaw for resawing. Completely a tune up problem that I need to work on. Nevertheless I’m resawing on the table saw here. I start with small bites. I resawed to 1/2” and it was interesting that I got some twist when I finished the cut. But funny thing was that the twist is on the large cutoff portion not the 1/2” portion – that part is still dead flat.
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The next cut – I flip the board end for end and keep the same face against the fence and make a second pass. Being mahogany I could probably safely take larger cuts, but I’m in no hurry.
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I continue cutting small bites until I get just a tiny bit left. Some more daring folks would just cut all the way through—but I’m not that brave.
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I finish the resaw with either a handsaw or the bandsaw. Both were equally fast. The handsaw is definetly less dusty and noisy.
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Here’s my safety pitch. I usually wear my hearing protection, ALWAYS eye protection. When I use the planer I always wear my hearing protection. I plane down to 3/8”.
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This is my crosscut sled that I built at American Sycamore 3 or 4 years ago. It’s holding up very well.
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Next was setting up my stop block for the long side. I used the sterrate to get an accurate measurement. I had to put a shim under the leg to hold it straight against the stop block to accommodate the chamfer on the bottom of the block.
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For the short sides I added a second stop block that I clamped to the first stop. I’m using a lot of scrap and the piece I picked up was a tad short. About 3 playing cards shy – but this works. I’m not sure how the flow of the grain would go if I did not cut long side, short side, long side, short side. Even though the article does not say to do so, I decided that I should do it that way. A second stop block makes it a no brainer on having all sides the same.
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I square up both ends of each piece so I don’t accidentally screw up that part of things.
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And finally here are the cut parts with two extra pieces for test cuts when I’m ready to cut the fingers.
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That’s where I’m at until tomorrow. Hopefully I’m not boring you to death. But I’m finding that doing this blog is really slowing me down and making me think more throughly through the process. So bare with me!

Of course, any suggestions or comments are welcomed.

My Buckeyes just lost – no national championship for us. :-(

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

4 comments so far

View Blake's profile


3442 posts in 3235 days

#1 posted 11-11-2007 02:03 AM

It is obvious you take a lot of care and pay attention to detail. This will take you far with satisfying results and no lost fingers. I look foreword to the final product. And by the way, don’t you love that Wixey Anble Gauge? I have one too and it is great for accuracy. It is so interesting to me to see the different ways people do things in the shop. Keep up the good work.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Karson's profile


35027 posts in 3761 days

#2 posted 11-11-2007 02:10 AM

Good show Betsy. Be careful with you comment ”I’m ready to cut the fingers.”

Work careful.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3460 days

#3 posted 11-11-2007 04:59 AM

When I looked at the pictures of the mahogany I immediately thought, “That’s gonna have some tension in it.” Then I read on – Bingo! I recognize the wild grain from the projects that I have done.

I run my wood on the tablesaw the same way when cutting a board thickness in half. I make several passes. It is the safest and easier on the blade and saw to do it that way.

Looking forward to the finish product.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Betsy's profile


3299 posts in 3256 days

#4 posted 11-11-2007 05:51 AM

Thanks for looking guys. Blake – the Wixey is amazing. I’ve got an Incra square that I’ve always used to set my 90’s on the saw and jointer and it’s amzaingly accurate, but having a numerical readout is really nice and handy. It’s one gadget that I don’t plan on misplacing.

Karson——I did not realize I had put the “cut the fingers” commnet quite like that—- but I’ll keep them well tucked away from those spinning things!

Todd – I’m going to try to remember to get a picture of the twist of those boards. I was amazed how they went so fast from flat to way out of flat. A blink of an eye fast.

I hope to get more done tomorrow – but just got invited to see a play at the Bass Hall and for free! So I may not get much, if anything, done. I’m anxious to see how the table jig works, but it will probably have to wait until Monday night unless I can get home and have a few hours between church and the play.

Good night. See you in the woodshop!

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

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