Reply by Dan Krager

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Posted on Joinery for blanket chest

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Dan Krager

4142 posts in 2351 days

#1 posted 01-30-2013 11:22 PM

For large boxes like this you will need all the strength you can get. I can’t see clearly from the link site what kind of joint they suggest, but if it is a simple butt joint nailed together, I’d be leery of picking it up, let alone carry it full of stuff. I’m not a big fan of the tongue in rabbet because it’s not strong. Look at the short grain left between the dado and the end of the board. You can snap that off with your fingers. If you want a clean look on the outside where the joinery doesn’t show so much, then a lock miter is a good choice. It’s a tough bit to set up, but once done, it gives great results. That is the only kind of miter I could recommend. Plan ahead for clamping.
Otherwise a box joint or dovetails will make this a true heirloom. They will be worth the effort for value and durability. You should know that I’m not a fan of metal (nails and screws) substitutes of good joinery.
Is the cedar dry? If the 3/4” boards have been properly kiln dried you should have little problem. If it is air dried you need at least a year in a weighted sticker stack to be sure it’s ready. A standing dead tree doesn’t count for drying time. If you are not sure, check the moisture content using either a meter or weighing a small chunk before and after 2 hours in an oven at 200 degrees.
After looking at the web site offering the plans I get the distinct feeling that the hype on the page is not what you will get following their advice.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL The witchcraft of woodworking.

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