Every so often the responsibilities of modern life can take a temporary back burner to more selfish (albeit productive) pursuits. This past weekend is a perfect example of one of those times. Admittedly, this is actually the fourth such time when I’m fortunate enough to have a week or more to do this. Every time it has been used to make significant progress on furniture projects. Two years ago I was knee-deep in building my kids two walnut beds. My purple-stained fingers, caused by the tannins, are a reminder of the byproduct of working long periods with Juglans nigra.
With the rest of the family ducking out-of-town for the long holiday break at 6:15am on Saturday, I set out to focus on my latest project, the Traveling Anarchist’s Tool Chest. I was able to dedicate two, 10-hour olympic shop sessions, which included hand-cut dovetails for the upper and lower skirt elements, assembling the bottom and cleaning it all up.
I was able to get a really nice set of boards with some sapwood on them for the bottom. The light and dark contrasts will be a nice surprise when I open in up and look in. The lighter sapwood will be a nice match for the maple tool caddy drawers and saw till as well. Although Chris Schwarz recommends using nails to make it easy to replace the boards on the bottom, I imagine they would be a pain in the ass to bang them out and risk damaging the carcass. Instead, I used stainless steel wood screws with slotted holes to allow for seasonal wood movement. Additionally, they’ll hold up to the dampness of my basement.
Next came bomb-proofing the dovetailed carcass with the addition of the dovetailed skirts and Gorilla’s PVA wood glue, of course. Then after an hour, I unclamped and began cleaning everything up with a L-N low angle block plane and some 150 grit sandpaper. The dovetails are far from perfect, but they are cut by hand, and I’m sure they’ll tighten up with some saw dust and oil slurry in the finish process. I’m now ready to begin the rails and stiles for the lid later this week after work. It’s starting to look like the actual finished piece now, and it has some serious heft. I have to imagine even though this is a smaller version of the original, it’s going to weigh 80-100 lbs when it’s filled with tools. Not something that will travel much further than my workshop.
Perhaps there is a walnut moving dolly in the future? Sorry Mr. Schwarz, a little anarchy of my own I guess.