A Great Breakfast
Rita and I had a great breakfast and visit with Dave Mitchell and his wife. They are passing through Billings and stayed at the campgrounds down the street since they are pulling their little camp trailer.
We had a nice visit last night. I gave him the shop tour and showed the few pieces that we have been able to keep over the years.
Now they have left it is time to get back on this little project for Rita.
A Recap (Short Version)
I started making this project in Oct 2007 while in Ohio. I worked on it again in December 2008. Now I am finally finishing it up September 2009.
You are probably thinking, “Wow, that must be some complicated project.”
Well not really. It is just a small box cabinet with drawers sized to fit spices or tea bags. The cobbler’s rule applies here; The cobbler’s children never have shoes.
The drawers have mitered corners and I wanted to add contrasting black walnut keys. To do this safely the best thing to do is make a little jig or sled to hold the boxes and slide them over the blade held at a 45°. This is a simple project.
You have to be sure and set the blade depth so that it does not cut too deep into the corner of the box. To set the depth just place the jig with the drawer or box next to the blade and raise it to the desired height. There is no need for measuring instruments to do this.
Keep in mind that the deeper you cut, the longer the key will be. This may be important to determine how long is aesthetically acceptable for your project.
The best blade to do this would be one that plows a flat bottom groove in the wood. For instance, a high alternate bevel blade without a raker tooth would not be a good option because it leaves a very distinct “V” groove profile in the wood.
I use a glue line rip blade that leaves a very flat bottom groove. It is not quite as flat as a dado blade would leave but close enough. So that means if you do not have a dado blade this is possible to do with another blade. A combination blade may suffice but it may leave little bat shaped ears on the left and right of the groove.
Next you set the fence on the table saw. I set it to cut keyways at 1/4” from the edge of the box. Now I am able to cut all the top and bottom keyways by turning and flipping the box without moving the fence.
Then the fence is reset to cut in the middle of the box.
Making the Keys
Use the saw kerf as the guide to mill the key material to thickness. I determined that the kerf was almost 1/4” deep so I ripped strips just over 1/4” wide.
The jig for the table saw comes in handy for holding the boxes while I glue in the keys.
Once the key material is glued into place it will need trimmed off. A small detail or dovetail saw works good for this. Cut close but do not try to cut flush to the box because you will stand a good chance of scarring the wood with the teeth of the saw blade.
You can leave some excess sticking out like this.
To clean up the excess use a good sharp chisel. You can pare off the majority of the excess then go in for the final pass. When you go for the final cut, get the chisel to ride on the sides of the box and it will cut the key flush to the surface.
In this photo I have already cut the key in the middle and am working on the left one.
Work Done So Far
I have all of the keys installed in the drawers. Next I need to finish sand and ease all of the edges.
It is amazing how much work is in something this small. There are so many pieces to handle. So many edges to detail. I can make a full size table in the time it takes to make a project like this.
The benefit of this project is that you can make it out of wood that you probably have lying around the shop as I did.
Well, it is time to get back out to the shop and work on actually getting this thing finished up.
Share the Love~Share the Knowledge
-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com