Medal Chest #10: Router Inlay

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Blog entry by RaggedKerf posted 04-22-2013 12:58 PM 857 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Finishing the Carving Part 10 of Medal Chest series Part 11: The Lid, or, No Tablesaw, No Problem! »

Note to my readers—-this is the secret project I’ve mentioned a few times.  It has consumed my shop time since February.  That’s why it’s been so slow on the blog for the last few months.  Now that it has been delivered, I can post the details.

Today’s task was to fit the completed carving into the front panel of the box.  To do this, I decided to mark out the area I needed and use the router my dad donated to the shop last October.  It felt good to use this old workhorse, considering he used it to make a toybox on wheels for me when I was 2 that not only still exists, but now houses toys for my son in the basement.

I carefully looked at ideas on how to proceed from around the internet, and settled on Kari's once more.  Her work is just plain inspiring.  So, with that in mind, I set off to imitate her…hopefully.  Maybe.

Since I was starting to feel the time crunch (mid-April is only weeks away now), I opted to forego the hand tools only and broke out the powah routah.  First I drew pencil lines on the front panel and got the carving exactly where I wanted it.   Then I took a Forstner bit in my drill and chewed down about 1/8” (the final depth I was shooting for since the basswood “plaque” is only 1/4” thick).IMAG3061

This was so I have a spot to start the router.  It’s not a plunge router, so the hole had to be started so I don’t chew the whole thing up trying to get going.  At least, that’s what it looked like in my mind.

When I put the router up on the wood and was about to pull the trigger, I realized that I couldn’t see the layout lines for [insert expletive here].  So, off comes the router and one goes the blue painters tape, cinched in just a hair inside the layout lines (I would be thanking myself for this in a few minutes  to make sure I didn’t go beyond where I wanted.  This is only the 2nd time I’ve used a router, by the way…IMAG3062

Right, time to rout.  I got the necessary safety gear and cranked ‘er up and within a minute or two, this is what I had (besides a nice pile of sawdust and wood chips):IMAG3063

As you can see in the bottom right corner, I went a tad be over the blue tape line when I got too excited about how easy the router was cutting the wood and it kind of got away from me.  Like I said above, I thanked myself for the tape because once peeled off, that little boo-boo was right on the layout line.  No harm, no foul.

Next, I took my chisels and Kroktskaft and went to town.  Gonna have to get me some full size chisels because the mallet dwarfs every tool I have right now…anyhoo, the chisels made surprisingly easy work of chopping through the maple and getting the router’s leavings cleaned up and ship shape.  Here’s what I had after 15 minutes:IMAG3067You can see the size difference between the mallet and the chisel….and the square chopped out of the maple ain’t too bad either.  Now for a test fit.IMAG3068Like a glove!  I think this is my favorite part of the whole project so far.  I love how that carving turned out and it’s got me really excited to carve more in the future.

Okay, so after patting myself on the back for a while, I took the plank and the carving and went inside to glue up (the garage is still only about 40° right now and it takes glue forever to dry so I just bring stuff inside).  Here is the finalized front panel, ready for assembly:

IMAG3070And now, there’s nothing left but the lid and finishing.  Gulp.  The curved lid that I had so brazenly designed now stared me in the face and grinned, beckoning me to my doom.  Awesome.   Not today, but soon.  Because I have more work to do.

Heh.  ’Cause I forgot to add the bottom.   After playing with the Kreg Jig for over an hour—-I mean actually playing…it was fun!—-the bottom was finally attached.IMAG3078  Now the chest box was actually complete.

-- Steve

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