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Forum topic by mike12ophone posted 03-07-2016 07:15 PM 450 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mike12ophone

25 posts in 311 days


03-07-2016 07:15 PM

Im planning my first project which will be a changing pad tray for my soon-to-be born son. Ive been going back and forth over how i should join the sides. As for tooling, Ive got 2 chisels (1/4 &1/2), some clamps, and will soon have a saw. I’d be immensely grateful for the aid of all your experience on which would best balance duribility and difficulty.

Dimensions: 34” L × 16” W × 4” H (1/2” Walnut)

Options:

Miters – Im weary of the duribility of simple miters so perhaps with splines.

Dovetails [preferred method] though having never done em, Im trying to remain realistic.

Mortise & Tenon – is this even advisable with 1/2” stock?

Rabbets – Single or double

Doweled butt joint

-- - just a man with too many hobbies


13 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1831 days


#1 posted 03-07-2016 07:28 PM

What is a changing pad tray? I’ve got two young kids, but we never put our changing pad in a tray, we just sat it on top of the dresser. So, without knowing, I am assuming it is kind of like a serving tray (big bottom, with short sides, changing pad fits inside?

I think I would opt for box joints on the corners. Plenty of glue surface, looks nice, and simple to do with a jig. Mortise and tenon isn’t going to give you a lot of glue surface with a 1/2” x 4” mating surface, but if you cut them exactly, they could work, but I’d be weary of the longevity if this is something that’s going to get carried around and moved a lot.

Dovetails would work fine as well, and while ambitious, if you’ve got yourself a half-decent saw, and your chisels are sharp, there’s no reason you couldn’t do it…but, you’ll want to do plenty of practice first, it will take some time before they start to look presentable. When I first got into hand-cut dovetails, I cut sections of scrap to size just for practice. I’d join two boards, assess my work, then do it again, over and over. I think it took me a dozen attempts before I could produce something that I didn’t mind others seeing. My first dovetailed piece was a wall-hanging drill-bit box, and I’m glad I practiced a lot first.

Does this tray have a bottom? If it has a solid wood bottom, you’re probably going to want that to float in grooves, or be nailed on from the bottom (nails may present another longevity issue if this is being used to carry anything). Or, if plywood, just glue it into a groove.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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mike12ophone

25 posts in 311 days


#2 posted 03-07-2016 07:40 PM

Youre right on with the purpose of the tray. I dont even know if thats the right name for it. Its just an excuse for a project really.

It may or may not have a bottom but i figure i could cut rabbets or dados and set in some plywood.

Box joints sound just as difficult as dovetails. All of the jigs ive seen are for the table saw but ill look into it.

-- - just a man with too many hobbies

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1831 days


#3 posted 03-07-2016 08:20 PM

Sorry, I didn’t realize that you do not have a table saw. How do you plan on cutting the grooves/rabbets? These can also be done on the router table as well.

You can certainly do box joints by hand. Lay out one side, and cut with a saw, leaving the line. Use your chisel to pare to the layout lines. Your ‘jig’ can be a simple block which has an exact 90-degree face. Clamp the block to your workpiece, and butt your chisel up against it while paring to ensure you cut at a 90-degree angle. Then, use a knife to transfer the layout to the mating piece, and repeat the cutting/paring process.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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mike12ophone

25 posts in 311 days


#4 posted 03-07-2016 08:29 PM

Yeah, I’ll have 2 chisels and a saw haha. I guess box joints would be similar to dovetails except the cuts would all be perpendicular to the end of the board and would eliminate the 1:7 or whatever cant to the cut.

-- - just a man with too many hobbies

View TechTeacher04's profile

TechTeacher04

325 posts in 993 days


#5 posted 03-08-2016 01:05 PM

Rabbet or dado. You did not mention what type of saw you are getting. If you are limited to just chisels there is nothing wrong with butt joints as long as you can reinforce them with splines, dowels or mechanical fasteners.

Box joints really are best if done on a router table or table saw.

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mike12ophone

25 posts in 311 days


#6 posted 03-08-2016 01:34 PM

Im not 100% sure which saw im getting. Most likely ill puckup the veritas xc carcass saw. There are so many people with varied advice on xc vs rip but Shannon Rodgers recommended xc carcass as a first saw and closest to a “jack” saw. I realize that joinery like dt’s and box joints are rip cuts but based on theory it makes sense in my mind that id rather a slower, cleaner cut vs a faster, rougher cut. This decision xc v. rip has dealyed me for weeks trying to decide so at some point i need to just pull the trigger.

I am beginning to see that with my budget, nothing i do will be optimal. Ill just need to learn to cut a straight line.

As for butt joints, practically would pinning the joint with 3 or 4 dowels not hold it together? Its just going to be sitting on a dresser.

-- - just a man with too many hobbies

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1758 days


#7 posted 03-08-2016 02:01 PM

I think your forearms are going to get banged up reaching over a 4 inch high sided box to change a squirming baby. I would save the walnut for another project like a keepsake box or something.

View mike12ophone's profile

mike12ophone

25 posts in 311 days


#8 posted 03-08-2016 02:13 PM

The changing pad is 4” tall and with a bottom the pad would sit proud about 1”. Is there something about this project that is a bad idea that i dont see?

-- - just a man with too many hobbies

View bearkatwood's profile

bearkatwood

1198 posts in 473 days


#9 posted 03-08-2016 02:29 PM

With the tools you have I would use a rabbet and some decorative nails to hold it in place. Here is a video to show you how to make the rebate or rabbet, depending on what side of the pond your on ;)
The English Woodworker
Then pre-drill from the ends and nail the case work together or you could use brass rods like this guy.
Serving Tray
Oh, by the way congradulations are in order! Don’t make the mistake I made, I made a bassinet for my son without buying the pad first, so I made it like 20” long not having a clue how big a kid was. He outgrew it after about a week.

-- Brian Noel

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Brian

177 posts in 1493 days


#10 posted 03-08-2016 03:17 PM

I have two small children and have used a changing table similar to what you are describing. I second Ed with box joints. It’s decently easy and will add a lot of strength. You can make them proud and just cut/sand off the extra as needed.

The only think I would recommend changing is that height. 1” doesn’t seem like enough extra. You want to make it tall enough so that when compressed with a child, they still can’t hit their head on the wood when they flail like fish.

-- “Always take a banana to a party, bananas are good!” - Tenth Doctor

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mike12ophone

25 posts in 311 days


#11 posted 03-08-2016 03:40 PM

Oh good tip on the height, thanks. I did see that ones you can buy are low and wondered why.

Bearkat! You’re a celebrity, Its an honor haha. Your tool caninet is just insane and a huge source of inspiration for me.

-- - just a man with too many hobbies

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1831 days


#12 posted 03-09-2016 04:21 PM

Just out of curiosity, what’s the purpose of this tray? Is it purely cosmetic, or will it be used to transport the changing pad to various places in the house? I am not saying don’t build it, but if you’re planning on having the tray just sit on top of an existing piece of furniture, and intend for this to keep it in place, you can accomplish the same thing by putting a piece of rubber drawer liner from the dollar store under the pad. 2 kids and 3+years, and the pad has never slipped. The kids have almost fallen off a couple times, but that had nothing to do with the pad, and more to do with them being obnoxious.

Are you doing this solely for the sake of building something for the baby? Nothing gets more use in our son’s room (besides the crib) than the bookcase, and little stool we sit on to read books.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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mike12ophone

25 posts in 311 days


#13 posted 03-09-2016 04:26 PM

Yeah its mostly decorative. Id secure the pad to the dresser with a strap and screw either way. I just figured it would probably be the easiest project since its just a topless box. Im planning on working my way up in difficulty. Also we dont have a dedicated baby space so furniature is a no go at the moment.

-- - just a man with too many hobbies

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