Another productive day. I got the top and bottom finished up, cut the remaining eight grooves (a total of 11 in the whole box), and made the splines for the mitered corners. First up, top and bottom.
I made the bottom piece by edge gluing two scrap pieces from the two boards I started with. Since it is a bottom piece, I didn’t care about grain pattern or whatever. Just had two pieces that would fit the requirement and went with them. But with the two glued together, this piece was way too thick for what I needed, about 3/8” or so. I pulled out the scrub plane, gave the blade a pretty good depth and hogged off almost the whole amount in no time flat. If you never used a scrub plane to perform this kind of work, you should give it a try. The speed with which you can reduce thickness is amazing. A well tuned #5 will work, but they cannot compete with a scrub plane.
Once I took most of the waste off, I flattened it out with the #5.
Then cut it to width and length, and got it trued up. Because the sides of this piece will receive a rabbet, I wanted to make sure this piece is all squared up. I did the top using the same dimensioning techniques except for thickness reduction as the thickness was off by only about a sixteenth or so.
Next came the fun part (if you could hear my voice, you would easily detect the sarcasm!): the grooves that will hold the splines. When I watched Roy Underhill do this part on his show, he made it look easy. It was anything but easy!!! Holy Cow, it was stressful and not a lot of fun at all. You see, to make these grooves which are on the bevels of the sides, you have to have an opposing 45 degree bevel for the Stanley 45 to make the cut. Plus, being such a small surface, only about seven inches or so, it required a LOT of concentration….A LOT! The splines are visible and they will add to the overall strength of the box. So the grooves have to be accurate and tight. The grooves are 1/8” thick which required the Stanley 45 to be configured with only one skate which added to the challenge. It was hell making sure these cuts stayed on track and were cut accurately. I did my best to control blowout on the backside and it helped that I made small cuts with my marking knife to cut it down to a minimum. But alas, there was some. I think I can clean it up after final assembly. Here are pics of that operation.
Here is the box dry fit, you can see there is some blowout from the sides which had the cut terminate on the top side (half were done like that, the other half terminated on the bottom side). But what can also be seen is that the cuts line up, which is extremely important.
The last thing I did today was make the splines. This was a delicate operation as the splines are only 1/8” thick by 3/8” wide and they are cross grain. I made a jig to trim down the pieces that I cut which helped me to size them correctly. I made six blanks to trim down which was a good call because two of them broke while I was planing them due to their fragility given the grain orientation.
This is the jig (I modified it slightly with shims and stops after I cut the grooves in it).
Here are the blanks, then the trimming of them. And finally, the finished product.
I got the hard stuff out of the way today and it is starting to look good. Next weekend I will get it finished.
Here it is dry fit. I like how the book-matched top came out. It will look great when it is finished.