I left off last time with the design and materials for the kitchen utensil box. I started by milling the Padauk for the four corner posts. These posts are 1” square, while the piece of Padauk I purchased is 8/4. To avoid excess waste, I decided to resaw off about 5/8” for later use. I primarily used my table saw with a thin kerf blade, but since the board was about 6” wide, and my max blade height is 2”, I had to complete the operation by hand. Below is what I ended up with.
Since I did not own a hand rip saw, I purchased the least expensive “decent” one I could find: the Pax from Lee Valley. I worked just fine for a hand saw novice such as myself. The larger piece on the right hand side of the above photo was roughly hand planed such that it would sit flat with no wobble so that I could flatten one side with my router surfacing jig shown below.
I bought the 2” diameter straight bit seen in the photo for the express purpose of using it in this jig. Although I do have a DeWalt thickness planer, it would be silly to try and use it on such a small piece – this jig is probably quite indispensable for such operations even though I own a proper thicknesser.
The next task is to deal with the Wenge. I alluded to an instance of over confidence (or perhaps a gamble is a better descriptor). I wanted to resaw the 4/4 Wenge in half, eventually ending up with two 3/8” pieces for the panels. Unfortunately, when I looked closer at my Wenge piece, I saw that not only was it quite bowed (being a flat-sawn piece closer to the centre of the tree), but the actual rough-sawn thickness was about 7/8”. To make a long story short, I ended up with four Wenge panels just under 1/4” thick – over 1/8” thinner than I’d hoped for.
My wife and I thought about how to proceed. Tossing the Wenge and buying more was out of the question – that ~1’x1’ piece was about $30! So we came up with a more interesting solution: why not laminate a contrasting wood to the existing Wenge? This would give different colours on the inside and outside of the box, which we thought was a very neat idea (albeit with its own risks and challenges). So to do this, I dug out a piece of 8/4 Maple I had lying around. The only problem was that it wasn’t wide enough. That was easy enough to fix with a quick glue-up as shown below.
I then took this chunk and resawed it using the same table saw/hand saw method outlined above into four pieces roughly 1/4”-3/8” thick. I then laminated the Wenge and Maple using a cement block as a clamp as shown below.
I thought that clamping it to a flat surface would minimize any warping of the final product – I was wrong. In the end, the pieces were so warped, I still almost ended up with pieces too thin. But in the end, only one panel had a slightly thinner midsection, but not bad enough to affect the joinery, so I’m not too bothered by it.
Below, the final milled pieces are shown. One of the panels is flipped to show the Maple side. As for the Padauk posts, these were easily milled using the table saw. Unfortunately, after all of these extra steps to fix my issues with the panels, I ended up misremembering the length for the posts, and cut them 1/2” too short (i.e. I goofed on what is likely the easiest step in the milling process)! So I will need to readjust everything to compensate.
The next stage is of course the joinery. I am actually really looking forward to this step, as I enjoy cutting joinery and it also gives me a chance to put my new set of chisels to good use (and looking at the selection of hardwoods used, I will likely be putting my sharpening stones to good use as well).
Thanks for stopping by to take a look!
-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada