As I rushed out of the shop to drive to the French Oak Roubo Project, I snapped this quick photo of my teak campaign chest to keep with me, like a photo of my sweetheart during wartime.
I hate to leave a project at this stage – all the hardware is fitted and just needs to be screwed down. Then I just have to make a couple small repairs and do the final clean-up before applying the finish.
Installing the pulls was the most difficult part of the project. After a cock-up with a powered router (and getting spanked for it on my blog at Popular Woodworking), I read all the readers’ thoughtful (cough) suggestions and ignored them completely.
The best way to install these pulls has absolutely nothing to do with a router. But it does use electricity. The secret weapon: a cheap flatbed scanner.
The rest of the work was with a good chisel and a mallet. I could not be more pleased with the fit.
The finish on this piece is going to be fairly minimal. The basecoat will be a couple coats of garnet shellac – Tiger Flakes from Tools for Working Wood. These are the best flakes I’ve encountered so far. And then I’m going to apply a coat of satin lacquer because I’m quite good at that finish, and I like the way it looks.
But before I can get to that, I will spend the weekend teaching a class at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking on building precision layout tools. It’s a fun class in a verdant location. But a little bit of my midbrain will be fixated on Monday when I am reunited with my chest.
— Christopher Schwarz
7 thoughts on “Completely Fixated on this Chest”
Beautiful chest. I can understand the fixation on being re-united with it. I am impatiently waiting for the publication of your campaign chest book.
I like big tails and I cannot lie!
Thanks for fessing up about the scanner. That makes me feel so much better about laying out my dovetails in Adobe Illustrator. I admire those who do it with dividers, but it’s a minor cheat that saved me hours on the Anarchist’s Tool Chest. Of course I keep pictures of projects in my wallet, doesn’t everyone?
Erik – I use Illustrator too for my pieces. I will visually lay them out in Illustrator, but once I work on the actual piece, walk them off with dividers.
That makes sense. I’ll try it. I’ve been printing them out, using a light coat of spray adhesive to hold them in place and scribing through the paper. It’s been time consuming, but helped me over the learning curve. I’ll be putting the dovetail jig in the garage sale. Scary, noisy, messy, complicated and expensive lesson that was!
Chris, is the trick to scan, enlarge/reduce, print, compare until it aligns, then glue down and chisel inside the image? Beats trying to outline the wobbling hinge and risking parallax.
The chest even without the warmth of the shellac looks stellar, nothing seems to dominate in the design, everything balances. The butterfly in the right side gives the chest life.
Imbalance is something I partly fear with my in-progress chest. Deciding on the shape and size of the legs and if to inset the screw blocks are my design challenge. Tomorrow, I’ll take a class in turning, followed by cutting a bunch of variants in cheap pine that form my selection line-up. Yes, the engineer mind has to over-perfect things, as usual.
I am still waiting for the brass to arrive from the craftsman in eastern England, they have been poured and shipped, just taking their sweet time traveling the long distance. At least that gives me some time to try out roughing out the insides with a noisy and risky router. Likely I just chicken out and take the less risky all-hands route. The finish is in sight!
Just wondering if you’re going to scrape the handles flush after fitting?
Jack Plane mentions it here: http://pegsandtails.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/picture-this-viii/
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