The Sawyer’s Bench

A couple of months ago I was using my saw bench as a step stool when it collapsed under me. It didn’t surprise me as it was getting rickety due to the fact that it was only secured with dowels. Looking back on my post when finishing the bench I can’t say why I didn’t at least glue the joints if I wasn’t going to use screws to fasten everything together. Live and learn, right? So in the meantime I’ve resorted to using my bench for most crosscutting operations. IMG_6827But when it comes to larger pieces I have to improvise a little bit and use whatever is in the shop at the time. IMG_6822All ripping as of late has just been at the bench using the leg vise. IMG_6835I was in definite need of a new saw bench. As I was getting ready to build one from Popular Woodworking’s website I happened to be browsing the interwebs and ended up on the Taunton Store. Somehow this reminded of Tom Fidgen’s new book The Unplugged Woodshop so I looked it up. Just my luck that there was a free preview at the bottom of the webpage and it happened to be the Sawyer’s Bench.

Looking over the dimensions I headed out to the shop to see if I could make this without buying any new lumber. I had a 4/4 cherry board that would serve as the two tops, an 8/4 maple board for the legs, an 8/4 mahogany board for the stretchers and some misc 4/4 walnut and maple for the aprons and cleats. I really didn’t want to use the mahogany for the stretchers but my inclination to not use any laminated boards was stronger so I dealt with it.

It took me about a full Saturday to get all the boards milled.

IMG_6836

IMG_6837The joinery was pretty straight forward as it was mostly lap joints. I almost made a huge mistake while laying out the splaying side of the bench when I marked the 10° angle in the wrong direction. Luckily I was able to catch it before I made my cuts.

IMG_6845For this reason I laid out all my lower joints before I made any cuts just to be safe.

IMG_6846My first glue up was the stretchers and legs. I used Titebone III and making sure everything was square I let it set for a night. The next day it was time to layout the joints in the bench tops. To do this I lay the leg and stretcher assemblies flush with the opposing edge of where the lap joints needed to be an just marked the edges of where each leg lay.

IMG_6849After those joints were cut I did a dry fit to see how everything was holding up.

IMG_6850The last bit was getting the apron cut to size as well as the cleats. I did this before gluing the tops to the legs so I could use the aprons as a reference to make sure everything was sitting properly. The first step was getting the legs square on the 90° side of the bench and lining up the apron flush with the outside and marking the inside.

IMG_6855The gap between the tops is supposed to be 7/8″ with each top being 6″ wide but due to human error mine ended up at 5-29/32″. I had a ruler that was 13/16″ wide so I use this as my gap to mark away from the edge of the top as you may see above as well.

Next I lined up the other top with the outside marked line and clamped everything in place. Once I was able to determine where the leg on the splayed side began and ended I made my marks and used a protractor to set the proper angles.

IMG_6857I used the marks to get the dimensions of the cleats as well. With everything ready to go it was time for the final glue up.

IMG_6859 A bit messy but it did the job. The last thing I needed to do was get the two pieces attached. Following the plans I decided to screw the aprons rather than glue. This was much more of a PITA than I anticipated.

IMG_6860After everything was said and done I now have an awesome saw bench!

IMG_6862IMG_6864

The only things I deviated from at this time are pegging the joints (which I may do at a later time), adding the crosscutting fence, and making any holes for any holdfasts or other items as he did. With my last saw bench I never saw the need for them so I figured that if I hadn’t needed them then than I could do without them for now. That could change later but for now I like it just the way it is.

During this build I also decided to purchase The Unplugged Woodshop ebook. I already own the Made By Hand ebook as well and cannot speak more highly of either. I do have to say that the projects in his second book are worth the price alone and if you are on the fence you need to just purchase it and I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

This is the first project I’ve built from either book but my next will either be the Cabinetmaker’s Tool Chest or the Funeral Chair (each is just a awesome). Non book projects I would like to tackle is his Dedicated Sharpening Bench. This would definitely help with certain sharpening issues I may be having as of late.

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by.

The Final Details

I can finally call this project complete!

painted dutch chestIt took just as long to add all the details as it did to build the entire chest. I did give it my own personal touch that I haven’t seen elsewhere yet.

open dutch chestThe front-fall kept getting in my way if I didn’t have it sitting on my bench. I had it leaning against the chest but kept knocking it over so I wanted to come up with a way to store it. Initially I thought of just attaching it to the back but as I was brainstorming I came up with an even better idea. Use that prime real estate for more tool holding.

dutch chest front fall lidOther than the square I consider these my lesser used tools. I didn’t want them in the bottom of a drawer somewhere so what better place to store them. I used some 550 cord threaded through the catches and hanging on a screw in the lid.

dutch chest lid detailIt holds steady but I wouldn’t move the chest without taking it off or at least holding it during the move. Now for the best part; the interior.

dutch chest interior 1

And from the other side…

dutch chest interior 2Before you mention it, yes I know I have a saw problem. I blame Mark Harrell.

The mistake that I made in making the top compartment deeper by making the upper shelf shorter worked out perfect for me. I really used that extra 1-1/2″ in the top area to maximize storage.

Last but not least the bottom.

dutch chest bottomNotice I had to extend the notch next to where the right batten rests. This was to make room for the square. There wasn’t enough vertical clearance even after I dropped the square below the bottom of the front-fall.

I’d have to say that this project was more rewarding to finish than my bench. All my tools now have a home and are protected. Total time was about two weeks of nights and Sunday’s and cost was in the ballpark of $200 all from Home Depot.

Most surprising is how much it holds. Here’s s a rundown:

FRONT FALL

  • router plane adapter
  • 3 small router plane blades
  • router plane fence
  • 4 drill bits
  • 2 counter sinks
  • 12″ square
  • triangle set

TOOL RACK

  • 2 mechanical pencils
  • card scraper (behind pencils)
  • 5 bench chisels
  • 3 phillips screw drivers
  • 3 slotted screw drivers
  • 12″ ruler (behind screw drivers)
  • dividers
  • awl
  • making knife
  • marking gauge

TOP COMPARTMENT

  • low angle block plane
  • rabbet block plane
  • mallet
  • leatherman knife
  • 12″ measuring tape
  • pocket rule
  • mallet
  • 6″ combo square
  • 16″ tenon saw
  • 14″ sash saw
  • 10″ carcase saw
  • 12″ hybrid dovetail saw
  • 10″ dovetail saw
  • #4 plane
  • low angle jack plane
  • #7 plane
  • another mallet
  • bevel gauge
  • protractor
  • low angle toothed blade
  • low angle blade (higher angle)
  • 3″ t square
  • 6″ t square

BOTTOM COMPARTMENT

  • auger bit set
  • brace
  • coping saw
  • hand drill
  • router plane
  • skewed rabbet plance
  • half set even hollows and rounds

I think that about covers it. Thanks for following along.

(edit) As requested, here is a picture of the rear of the chest.

dutch tool chest rear

Dutch Tool Chest Build Done!

IMG_6603IMG_6599 IMG_6601All that’s left is some painting and working on the interior details. Can’t wait to finally clean up the mess in the background.

Everything but the Lid

In the past couple of days I’ve been able to make some real progress on the tool chest. Let’s start from where I left off.

After I took the carcase out of the clamps I jumped a little ahead of myself and attached the lower lip.

lower lipWhen I finished I realized I forgot to cut out the notch where the fall-front locks fall. So I unscrewed the lip and marked my areas.

lower baten catch outlineA little sawing…

IMG_6554chopping…

IMG_6555waste clearing…

IMG_6556and I was on my way to a decent looking stopped rabbet.

IMG_6559It’s hidden under the lip so ugliness doesn’t matter. I also cut out the rest of the notches for the fall-front locks while I was at it.

IMG_6561It probably would have been easier to do the notches for the panel battens at this point as well but I did it once they were already installed on the fall-front.

I added the front to the carcase and took a step back to admire my work from the front

IMG_6564and the rear.

IMG_6565Next was getting the back attached. I used my skewed rabbet plane to cut a rabbet a little more than 3/8 deep across a 5′ board.

IMG_6568

I clamped it to the back of the chest and screwed everything in place using the whole board.

IMG_6570Then I used a flush-cut pull saw to get the right fit rather than measuring.

IMG_6571I added the opposing groove for the shiplap and finished up the back. At this point I was dying to see what it would look like with tools to I did some glamor shots.

IMG_6577IMG_6578This got me excited for the home stretch. After I fit the fall-front to fit vertically I clamped it and marked it out the same way I did the back panels.

IMG_6580I made the four lock catches out of one piece of wood that I cut the 2″ wide dado in…

IMG_6587before cutting them into individual pieces.

IMG_6589Like I had mentioned in the beginning, I used all dimensioned lumber from Home Depot and did basically no milling to any boards just so I could speed up this building process. I finally ran into my first snafu.

IMG_6590The board I used to get my full width for the front-fall had a little twist so I hit the catches when I tried to insert the locks. Speaking of which, up until today I’ve used pretty much every scrap and have not purchased any additional poplar. This left me short of wood for the lid, locks, and battens. Today I made another trip to Home Depot to get the remaining wood and decided to cheat in the thinner stock pieces and bought some already 1/4″ and 1/2″  pieces for the locks and battens. Anyhow, I took off the one catch and took off about 1/16″

IMG_6592I put it back on and everything fit nice!

IMG_6594One of the last things I did today was to install the strap hinges to the case itself. I measured the height at 9/16″ and marked my case to cut out the notches but when I fit them they were still too high.

IMG_6595I took off an additional 1/8″ and that made things fit just right.

IMG_6596Now all I need is the lid which is currently clamped and waiting. As much as I want to finish things up tonight I don’t think I’ll be able to. My loving wife has been patiently waiting for me to finish this chest so we can catch up on Breaking Bad and I think I owe her an episode or two tonight.

Sorry this post was so long but as this is really the accumulation of about 3 or 4 nights worth. If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with it to the end. Once the lid is installed all I have left is to paint. I am using milk paint and I can’t decided between slate or pitch black. Anyone have any suggestions?

Carcase Complete

A couple nights ago I wasn’t entirely productive but I did manage to knock out the remaining dados for the shelves.

finished dados

However, yesterday was a different story. After I finished up the dados I did a quick dry fit to make sure everything was good. Only one of the three dados fit good right from the first fit. The rest I needed to take a little off the shelves to get a snug fit.

fitting shelves

Another dry fit proved that things were coming along.

dry fit

I took everything apart and clamped the sides together so I could cut the 30° angle.

top angle

This was one of those times when I proved how much I need a tool chest. Somehow I managed to lose my protractor and spent about 30 minutes looking all over for it. I had just used it the previous day but somehow managed to completely lose it because I still haven’t found it. Either way I just used the measurements from the plan and connected the dots and cleaned up it all up.angle clean up

Once I was happy with everything I did another dry fit and prepped for glue up. glued up

At this point I happened to notice that I made a little error in measuring. It wasn’t a matter of measure twice, cut once but rather the location of the top shelf. In the plans its shows the location for the bottom shelf on one side of the chest and the top shelf on the other. I didn’t notice that the top shelf measurement was taken from above the 1-1/2″ lower skid so I made my mark from the bottom of the chest. Now instead of having 6-1/2″ of clearance on the second shelf, I only have 5″. Not a horrible mistake but one none the less. At this pace there is a good chance I will be done by this weekend.

It Begins at the Big Box Store

Today I finally got moving on starting the Dutch Tool Chest. My day started at Home Depot where I got all my materials and hardware. Why Home Depot? That’s simple; my purchase was mostly free all thanks to my Amex. Due to the fact that I use it for about 98% of every purchase I make I easily rack up enough points for a $100 gift card about every 3 months. Lately we’ve been using them elsewhere so this time I felt like getting some financial assistance for my chest.

I honestly don’t like buying wood from any home improvement store (mainly due to price) but when it’s free, why not. I bought 24 linear (or board) feet of 1×12 poplar. There where two 7′ pieces that were straight enough for me to take and then I had a 10′ piece cut in half. Add some casters, screws, a set of strap hinges, and a couple of handles (which I will most likely take back) and I was pushing close to $200. Throw in my military discount and $100 gift card and I walked out of there spending about $80. Even though the poplar was $5.32 a foot, I still look at it as a win. Since it’s S4S I don’t have to worry about the labor of milling and it’s straight enough where everything will end up (mostly) square.

poplar boardsThe seven foot pieces were perfect to give me the two sides, bottom, two shelves, the front, and lower skid with some material left over. After everything was cut to size I noticed that the boards were a little tapered in width. They were just over 11-1/4″ wide so I milled the boards to get them where I needed them to be so I could start the dovetails.

I clamped the two side pieces together and marked out the tails.

IMG_6524After I made all my cuts I kept everything together and cut the shoulder off the end tailsIMG_6526before I separated them to chop out the remaining waste.

IMG_6529I do wish I would have gone with a steeper angle for the dovetails but oh well. For marking the pins I had to pull my bench away from the wall in order to accommodate the length of the bottom of the chest.

IMG_6530When everything was all said and done and I attempted a dry fit. It was a little snug on the left side but a quick cleaning of the pins and another try and things were fitting well!

IMG_6534Next and last for the day was starting on the dados for the shelves. I currently have all four marked and ready to go and even got one started before I had to call it quits for the day. IMG_6537I’m real happy with the progress made today and can’t wait to get some more done tomorrow.

A Home For Saws

As I’m still in the progress of getting my shop organized there is one thing that I’ve been putting off and on the back burner to other projects; finding a home for my saws. Currently they just sit where ever they fit and that’s usually on top of the cutoff bin.

saw clutter

Even after I used a good portion of the wood from the bed for the assembly table, I still have a lot left so I thought it would be a good project to use a lot of the smaller pieces I have.

saw case pieces

I first thing I did was make four panels with three 1×4 pieces. I’m not even sure what the overall length was but I managed to get three panels flattened to 5/8″ and one to 9/16″ thick. Before I moved on I began to think about design. My initial intent was to make a typical saw till. One where you stand the saw on their handle vertically and rest the blade in the kerf of another piece of wood. I had laid out my pieces and used my saws to get an idea of the overall size and shape but my pieces were looking like they might be too short for what I was wanting. I could have made it work but I started looking for other ideas. Long story short I found an old Popular Woodworking article about storing saws. In there I saw this picture and knew where I wanted to take my design. sawcaseI don’t know why but I just liked this type of stroage better. Following this design the first thing I needed to do was get the angle that would best fit for the saw to hang. The first number to pop into my head was 22°. This was not steep enough for the angle of the handle so I tried again. I used a protractor to best determine the angle and came up with 35°. To test it out I laid a ruler until it made contact along the handle of the saw and lined it up with the 35° line I made on the panel. Looked vertical enough to me. saw angleNow that I had my angle set it was just a matter of figuring how I would put it all together. Two of the panels that were 5/8″ think would be used as the side and would be rabbeted into the front 9/16″ panel and the last 5/8″ panel would be the top. I decided not to enclose it completely and leave the back open. Keeping it all together I used a 2″ wide piece and connected the top by dovetail (don’t mind the horrible rabbet)

sawcase top dovetailAnd also about midway down the backside.

sawcase back dovetailAfter a couple of dry fits to make sure everything fit together properly it was time for the glue up.

sawcase glue upFitting the top actually occurred after this even though there is already one picture of it a little bit ago. For this I cut the rabbets and then kept planing away material until everything fit. That probably doesn’t make much sense but it worked for me. Once I had a snug fit I needed to make the kerfs for the saws to rest in. I currently have 6 hand saws that need a home and since the wife told me I was cut off from getting anymore I space everything out evenly for only six and no more.

saw case spacing

This was actually perfect because it gave just enough room for each saw without overcrowding. The cutting of the kerf wasn’t wide enough to allow all saws to be seated at once so I used a thin file to widen things a bit until every saw fit without being forced in. sawcase dry fitThe last thing to do was glue the top on. To keep things evenly spaced I used pennies between each kerf.

pennies in kerfsWhen it was all said and done my saws seem comfortable in their new home. IMG_6297sawcase backBefore you ask, yes a couple plates are a little bent but I wanted to try my hand at straightening them (at some point). Like most of my shop gear, she may not be pretty but she gets the job done!