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Cherry Blanket Chest #2: Joinery, panels, & starting the top

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Blog entry by jcwalleye posted 12-31-2011 04:12 AM 1712 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The plan and milling material. Part 2 of Cherry Blanket Chest series Part 3: Frame Joinery »

I’m starting today with the glued up panels for the blanket chest. I acquired some curley maple veneer that’ll I’ll glue to 3/8” Baltic birch plywood. First up was straightening the veneer with a plasticizer. After squirting it on both sides and letting it air dry, I put the veneer between poly finished and waxed 3/4” pieces of mdf. Unprinted newspaper was used to absorb moisture. Change the paper a couple times and after a day, the veneer becomes flexible and easy to work with.

Here is a picture of the clamping press.

There are 2 pieces of ¾ mdf above and below. I struggled a bit initially with the veneering, I think I was using too much glue or the glue had been damaged in shipment by freezing. Anyway, I changed to Tightbond III and glued only one side of the panel at a time and things went a lot smoother.

Here is a picture of one of the panels before finishing. The backside of the panel is an inexpensive maple veneer.

And the panels on the drying rack after 2 coats of General Seal a Cell. I’ve got to be honest, this is the first time I’ve used General products and and I’m likeing them.

I’ve decided against the breadboard top, mostly because I wasn’t sure how to keep the cross grain movement from breaking everything apart. Instead, I’ll glue up a panel and support it on the inside with some stout strips of cherry. Hopefully that will keep the lid flat. Here’s the start of the lid glue-up. I seem to have better luck if I glue one piece at a time instead of all at once.

Next it’s time to turn the attention to cutting the mortises. Here is the setup I use.

The mortiser is Delta’s add on accessory for their drill presses. This tool has deservedly been panned by many on this site, but not being inclined to buy a dedicated mortiser, it works adequately for me. One of its most maddening design characteristics is that it wasn’t engineered to fit the only drill press Delta designed with woodworkers in mind. Go figure. That’s the reason for the piece of steel tube between the mortise fence and the drill press table.

I get better results if I follow the same process, so when making mortises, drill the left hole, then the right hole.

And then in between, leaving narrow strips to clean up last.

Here’s all the stock with the mortis’s cut.

Then off to the table saw to cut the grooves for the panels. I used a 3/8” dado stack, supported with feather boards.

And push through the cut with a push stick. To center the groove, flip the piece end to end and recut.

After a little cleaning of the mortises I’m ready to cut tenons, tomorrow.

Oh yeah, better empty the bag of saw dust and wood chips I’ve accumulated.

The website worked great today. No picture upload hangups.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--



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