Spent an inordinate amount of time on the lid of the Dutch tool chest this weekend. I glued up the panel a few days ago but left it in the clamps with the intention of spending a day preparing it for the breadboards (cutting to final size, flattening) and putting the breadboards on it. Panel is Ponderosa pine, breadboard ends are Douglas-fir. Didn’t quite finish yesterday, so took a couple hours today and finished up. It was a learning experience.
These are my first breadboard ends on a smaller panel like this, only other breadboards I’ve done were on my workbench slab. Luckily Joshua Farnsworth and Will Myers released a very helpful video on breadboards right before I started.
Cutting the tongue went a bit rougher than I would have liked. I originally planned on using my wooden moving fillister, but for some reason it wouldn’t cut the entire length of the rabbet. It would start off well then rise up and not cut at all at the end (fence moving around?).
So I tried out a couple other methods, which led to some bad splintering on the edges despite scoring the shoulder line pretty deeply with my marking knife. On the last rabbet I finally hit upon a method that resulted in zero splintering: Taping the edge with blue tape first, then using my new Sweetheart-era Stanley 78. I rehabbed the iron on this plane as soon as I got it, but I haven’t really used it. It worked great. I think this plane may be my main tool for making rabbets.
Chopping the mortises went fine, I’ve gotten pretty good at those. I had planned on cutting the groove with my Stanley 45, but then I realized I had used a chisel to set my marking gauge for the tongue instead of the Stanley 45’s iron. The chisel I used is metric and not actually 1/4”. I did a test using the groove from the Stanley 45, which is an actual 0.25”, and it was a way too sloppy. So I chopped out the grooves in the breadboard ends with the metric chisel. Didn’t take very long since it’s only 3/8” deep.
It took a fair bit of fiddling with the thickness of the tenons/tongues and cleaning up the grooves and mortises, but I finally got a tight friction fit. The shoulders are pretty tight, just a very slight gap here and there. I’m happy with that.
Not so happy with the splintering along the edges at the top of the shoulders. Luckily this project will be painted. I’ll plane out as much as possible, then use a filler as necessary. I’d like to use wood filler, but not sure how hard that gets; I’m thinking it might stay too soft. Might use glue and sawdust.
Making the pegs went smoothly. They’re made out of bigleaf maple, which is pretty easy to drive through a dowel plate. I had planned on making them 5/16”, but they didn’t play well with the #5 auger bit I have. Fit was way too sloppy. But 1/4” pegs fit perfectly in the holes made by my #4 bit, so I went with 1/4” pegs.
Boring the holes went pretty well on the first breadboard, but for some reason I blew through almost all the holes on the second breadboard (hence all the blue tape in the pic below). Only thing I can think of is that particular piece of Doug-fir is a lot more brittle than the other piece. I’m pretty good about stopping as soon as the snail starts to protrude through the other side, but this piece blew out as soon as the snail poked through. Luckily I left that breadboard a lot thicker than the panel, so I should be able to plane out almost all of the damage.
The middle tenon has two pegs and is 2.5” wide. The side tenons only have one peg and they’re a bit narrower at 2”. I glued the middle tenon and its pegs, but only glued the very top of the other pegs. For widening the peg holes in the side tenons to account for movement, I found an old chainsaw file worked perfectly.
Next step is to plane the breadboards and panel flush, then do some final fitting of the rim of the chest. After that it will be the hinges and handles, then final clean up/sanding before painting. I’m really looking forward to painting this thing and filling it with tools. Should be able to finish it by next weekend.
I did a couple tests for how to fit the hinge. First one was pretty sloppy, but I think I have it figured out. I had to hammer the hinges flat, they both had a noticeable twist in them and I didn’t want that to be a factor in the fitting process.