My favorite part of a project isn’t the joinery – it’s the assembly. Today I got to attach the lid to the base of my traveling tool chest using hinges made by blacksmith Peter Ross.
These are, in a word, bada%&.
Unlike simple butt hinges, these hybrid butt-straps (as I like to call them) are designed to resist the typical stresses on a chest lid. The weakness of using a butt hinge in a tool chest is that the screws in the carcase tend to wrench out – especially when the lid has an integral stop system to keep the lid standing open.
These hinges from Peter resist those forces. And they look awesome. Peter is now working on the crab lock for this chest. So stay tuned on that front.
I also attached the cast iron lifts to the ends of the chest today. These vintage lifts were given to me by a reader, who acquired them in a box of stuff. The funny thing about adding all this metal hardware is that it seems like it should make the chest more difficult to lug around. But the opposite is true. The lifts and hinges make the chest a svelte thing to move around by myself – just like my vintage traveling chest.
My plan is to sneak down and install the steel banding this week, though I probably will be thwarted by you, the loyal reader. We have almost 1,000 orders to fill for “Mouldings in Practice” starting tomorrow morning. So my woodworking will be taking a backseat to my taping and cardboard-folding skills.
Lots of people have inquired about how I’m going to install the steel banding. Here’s the straight dope: I’m going to butt joint it and screw it to the chest.
Why not weld the corners? I haven’t seen any extant chests with welded corners.
Why not dovetail the steel corners? I’ve done steel dovetails when building infill planes. I know it’s easy. But I haven’t seen any extant chests with dovetailed steel corners.
Why not join the steel corners with my heat vision? Sadly, I have no superpowers.
Oh, speaking of the fact that I lack superpowers: I screwed up this tool chest during the glue-up. I’m telling you this because my students take a crazy amount of gleeful delight whenever I make a mistake. When I glued up the carcase it ended up out of square by 1/16” over the 18” depth. That’s not enough error to see with the naked eye, but it is enough to mess with the construction of my two sliding tills.
So I’m going to make my tills as parallelograms in plan view. Fun on a bun.
— Christopher Schwarz