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Japanese Toolbox Build #2: Mortising, slow going

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Blog entry by siavosh posted 05-26-2014 12:17 AM 1288 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design, Milling and Layout Part 2 of Japanese Toolbox Build series Part 3: Mortises, Tennons, Pins and Dovetails »

I double checked the layout this morning, fixed them. then decided to tweek the size of the dovetails to be more safe and reduce the risk of splitting. Then I set about mortising. One of my biggest limitations in woodworking in an apartment is not being an obnoxious neighbor and banging on a chisel all day with folks trying to enjoy their weekend below you. So I went ahead and used my brace and bit to remove some of the waste, but at the end of the day you gotta bang on those chisels. I ended the day with only two sides of the main box mortised and sawed. Hopefully some more time tomorrow. I can see already this is going to be a multi-week project.

Double checking the layout.

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9 comments so far

View djwong's profile

djwong

133 posts in 1872 days


#1 posted 05-27-2014 05:58 AM

Your layout reminds me of my toolbox. I built my Japanese toolbox as a project in Chris Hall’s Japanese joinery class. My toolbox is built using douglas fir and claro walnut. I hand cut about half the mortises and used a router on the other half. I used a sloped guide block to create the sides for the wedged mortises. On almost all my joints, I used a 1-2-3 block as a guide for the chisel to get the cut vertical to the layout line. To get cleaner end grain cuts, Chris suggested using camellia oil to soften the end grain. Camellia oil is very light and evaporates after a few days. Except for a dab of glue in the wedges, no other glue was used in the joints. If you interested, I can post pictures of my tool trays later.


Its really impressive that you are able to get this work done given the limitations of your neighbors. I always wanted to take Jay’s class, but was too lazy to drive-up Saturday mornings from the south bay.

-- David W. Cupertino, CA

View siavosh's profile (online now)

siavosh

282 posts in 523 days


#2 posted 05-27-2014 10:10 PM

David, that’s stunning. The wood choice is beautiful, I didn’t know douglas fir can look that good! I’d love to see more pictures of the tool trays; I’m curious how they work with this type of toolbox.

I’m a big fan of Chris’ site, and I did see his sketch up design for this when I was collecting samples. Too bad I missed the class. I was concerned about the wedged mortises blowing out the edges of the board, but I guess it takes a light touch? Also I wasn’t familiar with 1-2-3 blocks, are these just square blocks to help align your chisels? Thanks for the camelia oil tip, I used it on my tools, but will definitely give it a try.

I had the same concern about Jay’s Saturday morning class since I commuted from SF. It’s not nearly as far as south bay, but the class was so much fun for a novice like me, a strong cup of coffee usually pulled me through :)

-- http://woodspotting.com/ -- Discover and follow 100's of woodworking blogs

View Holbs's profile (online now)

Holbs

519 posts in 682 days


#3 posted 05-29-2014 01:25 AM

apt living… i remember those days :) could look into speaker building for platforms and ideas to dampen and lessen vibration for chisel and mallet strikes. a 1 foot thick 48” x 48” granite platform comes to mind :)

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

1921 posts in 521 days


#4 posted 05-29-2014 01:41 AM

Beautiful work, gents.

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

View djwong's profile

djwong

133 posts in 1872 days


#5 posted 05-29-2014 05:15 AM

Chris Hall’s study group is really more like a self paced build along. Chris offers a design and a method for building the project, but encourages the participants to work in whatever manner they are most comfortable. The designs are also open to modifications. He will answer question as people work on projects, but does not really handhold you through. You can join his online study group at any time, and work on an old project or the current one, so you have not missed your chance. Be aware that his projects are not easy. The toolbox was his first project and it required tons of hours on my part as a novice. He takes detailed photos along the way, so the projects are easy to follow. You just need the persistence and skill to complete them. I dropped out due to time, lack of drive, and workspace constraints, though my constraints are nothing like yours! I learned a lot and would highly recommend his class. Chris really does not like auditors, and expects everyone to participate. After I complete my workbench this year (I hope), I’ll rejoin his study group.

The 1-2-3 blocks are machinist reference blocks, 1 inch by 2 inches by 3 inches. The import brands are really cheap and far more accurate than I need. I bought mine from use-enco.com, but you can get them anywhere. As you surmised, just clamp them to the line and use as guide blocks for the chisel.

If I remember correctly, we used a slope of 1:8 for most of the wedged tenons. It depended on the thickness of the wood being joined. The side of the toolbox are 3/8 inch. The wedges are cut at the same slope so you are not really putting undue stress on the joint or wood. I did not blowout any mortise, but I did split some of my wedged floating tenons. Luckily they still held inspire of the split. If you join Chris’s study group, get a good set of calipers, because Chris is very precise with his measurements.

I did not get a chance today, but I’ll take some photos of my trays and post them tomorrow. The number and type of trays were left open to the builder, as it is dependent on the number of tools and type of tools to store. Some opted for a single large tray containing smaller trays, some used handles on the trays for ease of extraction. I used a simple arrangement of two small trays stacked on top of one large tray.

-- David W. Cupertino, CA

View siavosh's profile (online now)

siavosh

282 posts in 523 days


#6 posted 05-30-2014 05:02 AM

Thanks David, I think I’ll start looking both for a 1-2-3 block and some calipers :) His online study group is starting to sound pretty intense. Hopefully after a couple more independent projects I’ll have the confidence to join.

-- http://woodspotting.com/ -- Discover and follow 100's of woodworking blogs

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

822 posts in 138 days


#7 posted 05-30-2014 05:14 AM

Calipers are awesome.

-- "We build our workshops. Then we enjoy the fruits of our labor by laboring for more fruits." - Me

View djwong's profile

djwong

133 posts in 1872 days


#8 posted 05-30-2014 09:25 PM

Here are a few photos of my toolbox with trays. There are 2 trays sitting on top of 1 wide tray. I am still working out how to compartmentalize the wide tray. I also miscalculated on allowing for the height of the trays, so they are more shallow than I would have liked. Next time, i’ll make the toolbox one and a half inches taller. The total weight is 58 lbs.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

-- David W. Cupertino, CA

View siavosh's profile (online now)

siavosh

282 posts in 523 days


#9 posted 06-01-2014 05:30 AM

Thanks David! The trays look great, not to mention your drool worthy collection of tools. I wasn’t considering a tray originally, but seeing these, I think I might need at least one to help organize all the small random items I have. Thanks again, really inspiring.

-- http://woodspotting.com/ -- Discover and follow 100's of woodworking blogs

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