I started working with wood a couple years ago. My job gets pretty demanding and I haven’t had much time in the shop since my initial beginnings. My wood hoard mostly consists of boards from things I have taken down and apart since I purchased my home. I have never been much for throwing items away. I bought a planer a couple months ago so will start making some trips to a sawmill in Chesaning for some better wood for projects. In the interim, I am getting back to some woodworking promises I made some folks back when I started and everything seemed like it would be a breeze to put together ;) One of these being a lap easel for my Mom.
My mother had hurt herself at work a couple years ago. She has nerve damage due to a disc in her back pushing against a nerve, so she is not as active as she used to be. We have been working on a list of potential hobbies she might indulge in to keep herself busy. One of these hobbies is sketching, since she does appear to have some natural talent in this area. Since, when she is sitting, she is more comfortable with her legs up, I have been trying to come up with a form of lap easel. This is my first attempts in the making.
Design number 1 will be a box with two lids. The left side will be the easel with a smaller compartment on the right. The idea is that the lid of the box will open towards her and stay at a 45 degree angle so that she can put a sketch pad on it and sketch, while the top on the right will open away from her so that she can set her pens and pencils in it and have it handy for selecting her media. The construction will be pine because (for starters, that is all I have right now ;) it is a light wood and will not press hard on her lap.
The easel is 14 inches wide, so I had to make a panel that I can use for the wider board. I am working with construction grade pine. I couldn’t really work on planing it flat, otherwise I would have a bunch of wedges to glue together, so I just edged planed the boards and used a doweling jig to edge glue them. The panel I documented in my review of the Wolfcraft doweling jig. Since the box will also be holding sketchpads, drawing books, pencils, etc. I wanted the joints to be strong. The wood would probably look better as a rabbet, but my preference leaned towards box joints because of the strength. The wood was 3/4 thick, so the joints are not so pretty, but effective. I built the jig here to space the cuts out evenly. My concern with working with this wood is that, since the boards are not perfectly flat, the joints can be difficult to line up fully square for a box. The results so far are not too bad. It probably will not be ready in time for Christmas, but I did make my first panel and my first box joint. I will keep you all posted on the progress.
-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.