Tag Archives: Northern red oak

Nailed It!

Oh my! The clinching of the nails went better than I expected. I was apprehensive at first. I have clinched nails before, just not on a finished piece. But with steady hammer blows my efforts paid off!

Some of the Tremont cut nails flattened out a bit too soon, but are clinched nonetheless. The hinges are quite secure!

I honestly love the primitive simplicity of butterfly hinges!

Now, on to the three tiny drawers. Stay tuned!

Top It Off!

Before the final assembly of the carcase with glue and nails, I decided to darken the poplar floor and till walls with a black stain. I’ve gotten mixed reviews, but I think it looks great. I can only assume the future owner will think so, too!

With a slight alteration to the centre divider and a few coats of shellac, the carcase was glued and nailed. Just wedged between the sides, the interior parts were quite the ballet. Fitting the drawer dividers was more difficult than one might think. The top is proud of the bottom shelf by about 3/8 of an inch!

William Maddox, an historical interpreter, made these awesome butterfly hinges. In their primitive simplicity, they validate the period look I was trying to achieve.

I intend to secure the hinges via clinched nails. But first, I need to position them just right. Temporary wooden pegs make this task so much easier!

Before clinching the hinges in place, I added a thumbnail detail to the top’s front edge. The lid has the same feature, but in reverse, it should look nice when opened. As I have stated before, results do vary when it comes to the wine bath. The board used for the top and lid did not take the wine the same as the one used for the carcase. I guess that’s good, in a way, it gives the appearance of wear and tear, on the horizontal surfaces.

Guess I best get to clinching those nails! Stay tuned.

Put it Together, Take it Apart!

After cutting grooves in the exterior pieces of the desk box, I selected a broad poplar board for the bottom. Having calculated the length with ease, I slipped the rule into the groove in one of the sides and read, eleven and three-sixteenths of an inch. I measured the width three times. Each time reading, eleven and three-sixteenths of an inch. I cut the board to size, ran a 1/4-inch tongue around the perimeter, and even chamfered the edges. Perfect! Well, not so much. Somewhere along the way, I lost focus and read the opposite side of the rule. My floor needed to be twelve and thirteen-sixteenths of an inch deep. Damn!

I quickly retrieved the cutoff and fashioned a spacer to fill the gap. The “spacer” appeared fine on the inside but left a rather interesting “valley” when viewed from the bottom. I can only imagine that 400 years from now, there will be some erudite paper written on the Aylor Expansion Joint. LOL!

With the bottom debacle resolved, I continued with grooves and dados on and for the various interior parts.

As with all boxes of the type, the till is the most challenging. Typically, the till parts are wedged in place by the box front and back. The back, in this case, is loosely wedged between the sides. It is quite the ballet to fit all the parts together at the same time with only two hands. But with the help of painter’s tape and a few colourful words of encouragement, things come together, eventually!

Before the last test fit before final assembly, I took time to “stain” the exterior with a 50% reduction of red wine. I used this same colouring technique on a small jewellery box and a prie-dieu some time back.

I am considering even more contrast by darkening the poplar bottom and till fronts with my homemade walnut dye. So, I guess I need to take it apart, one more time!

Next time it goes together with glue and nails. I guess t’s time to attach a top and lid. Now, where did I put those butterfly hinges?

Follow the Line!

Having thrown caution to the wind and experiencing the slightest bit of resistance from the grainy red oak, the carving phase of my desk ground to a halt.

Excepting for some wild grain on the right side, things turned out quite well. At least I think it meets muster!

With the carving under my belt, it was time to start building a box. First up rebates were cut on the edges of the front and back.

Keeping the rebates square surely helps when it comes to maintaining a level fit. That piece of granite counter-top comes in handy, too. Even if my bench is slightly unlevel, at least I know the granite is perfectly flat!

Before nailing the box together, there is a great deal of work to be done on the interior. Lot’s of grooves, dados, and pintle holes for the various dividers and tills need to be laid out and cut.

Some folks might think a mortise gauge the perfect tool to layout a groove or dado. After all, they are the go-to tool for laying out a mortice. Right? I own three mortise gauges; one I made decades ago, a fancy new one with brass inlay, and a strange one found in a thrift store a few years back.

Want to know a secret? To date, I have not used any of these tools to layout a groove, dado, or mortise. Seriously, my go-to tool for all that is the combination of a marking-gauge, and of course the mortise chisel, itself.

Why make matters difficult? If you can follow a line with a chisel, why do you need that second line?


Back in a few, stay tuned.

Decisions, Decisions

As I stated earlier, the slope of the desk-box offers a bit of a challenge when it comes to the carving. Typically, I wrap a carving pattern around the corner from the front onto the sides, but here that would leave a great deal of blank space. I decided to carve a portion of the pattern from the front and take up the remaining space with a rondel. Filling that space was now my new challenge.

While at the drawing board, I played with a few possibilities. Firstly, I thought, why not do something that accentuates the motif on the front.

Then I thought, how about something more traditional?

Or perhaps something unique.

Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to let the rondel dictate the carving!

Looking back, I’m quite glad I did! What are your thoughts?

Hopefully, I can repeat all of that on the right side and get to work on the interior. Stay tuned!

Now What?

With a freshly tuned rip saw, I worked my way through a piece of walnut, for a bottom and the two tops, 1/4-inch and 7/16-inch respectively.

After a bit of creativity with a coping saw, and a great deal of tweaking with chisel and rasp, I had a box!

Unable to leave a blank surface, I grabbed my carving tools!

I think the S-scrolls compliment the cutout at the bottom quite well. You?

Intending for this to be a jewellery box, I decided to add a small sliding tray. The tray is still a work in progress, so please don’t be too critical. LOL! With a bit more futzing and the usual slathering of boiled linseed oil and turpentine, I’ll call this box done and add it to the wareroom.

It’s been a rather productive seven weeks. My bench has seen the completion of the sliding top box, a small picture frame, my “End of the World” box, and this little jewellery box, and all the while warding off the indignant stares coming from the 8/4 red oak waiting to become part of a three-legged joined chair. I’m just wondering what else I can build before giving in to the inevitable?

More Trash to Treasure!

As I was cleaning up after the completion of my “end of the world” project, I discovered a few sizable pieces of red oak, lodged under my bench.

Hearing the voice of my father, ‘waste not, want not’, I decided to turn them into a little something. Quickly realising my “little something” might require something more, I continued my scrounging and came up with a lovely piece of walnut.

To demonstrate my abject insanity, I decided to cut some half-blind dovetails in the red oak!

With the dovetails a success, I added grooves and rebates for a bottom.

To help with levelling, later on, I created four “feet” by adding a little detail to the front and back, cutting it with a coping saw.

Well, it looks like my “little something” is going to be yet another box, a red oak carcase with a walnut top and bottom. But, before I can add a 1/2″ thick top and 1/8″ bottom in walnut, I need to give the old rip saw a tune-up!

Back in a few!

Three-Panel Joined Chest

H: 25-1/2″ W: 44″ D: 15″

$650.00 (see note below)




This piece is for pick-up or hand delivery ONLY.

Delivery cost(s) as follows:
$100 – Within a 50-mile radius of Atlanta, Georgia.
$200 – Within a 100-mile radius of Atlanta, Georgia.
$300 – Within a 250-mile radius of Atlanta, Georgia.

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