So you’re probably tired of reading blog entries on the building of these boxes! It’s been a long haul, but last weekend I spent two solid days in the shop and was able to wrap up quite a bit. Most importantly, I was able to completely finish up ten boxes to send off to the silent auction fund raiser in Maryland. I can’t wait to hear how they’ve done. There are five boxes that still need lids, but the remaining 19 are complete except for the finish. I’ll spend some time this weekend applying a Danish Oil finish to some of them. This’ll be my first time using Danish Oil, so I’ll decide which I like better, the oil or the Waterlox finish, after experimenting on a few.
On last week’s episode, our intrepid woodworker had just finished cutting corner slots into some of the boxes, to receive corner keys. Let’s pick up the trail and bring this baby home!
One of the best investments I’ve made recently is the Grrr-Ripper by Micro Jig. I picked up this great set-up at last year’s woodworking show here in Minnesota. I was able to rip these, very thin, pieces quickly and safely. The show special came with an extra leg for ripping pieces as thin as 1/8 of an inch. I was cutting corner keys for two different depths and I ended up needing to use that extra thin leg to cut the smaller stock.
I was originally going to cut the keys using a small fenced jig and my Japanese Dozuki saw however, after cutting two keys…I knew it was time to try some power! (Insert manly grunting here.)
I started with the wider pieces for the deeper slots. I ganged them together with blue tape and set up the table saw with a 90 tooth finish blade and the 45 degree cross-cut sled. The set-up gave me some really crisp cuts, and I soon had more corner keys than I’ll be able to use.
After such a great result on the wider parts, I taped up the narrower strips and cut the smaller keys for the shallow corner slots.
So with a pile of tiny wooden triangles, a bottle of glue and the Stars game on TV, I installed all of the corner keys last Friday night…AND the Stars thumped the Wild, 4 – 0. A good night all around!
The next morning I set up the half sheet pad sander and started sanding the corner keys down. I tried cutting them as close to finished size as possible, but did leave them a little proud so that I could sand them flush to the surface of the box sides.
As nice as this pad sander is, it was slow going sanding down those key splines. There was also the added difficulty of trying to sand just the keys without hitting the sides of the boxes and creating a tapered slope…and then it hit me! What was I thinking? I just happen to own one of the coolest woodworking tools ever invented, tucked away at the front of the shop, hiding from me!
All hail the Ridgid oscillating spindle/belt sander!
The flat table and the oscillating sanding belt were exactly what I needed to sand down the overhanging parts while keeping the box at 90 degrees to the sander. This genius piece of tooling sure made short work of those key splines.
After sanding the keys flush to the sides, it was back over to the pad sander to clean up the sides, the tops and the bottoms. I sanded the boxes up to 220 grit and gave them all a wipe-down with some mineral spirits to clean up the dust.
I was definitely ready to move onto something new after spending several hours standing and sanding. With the boxes set aside, I turned to the lids. I prepared the lid blanks from several species that I had in the wood pile. I varied the thickness of the lids this time around to experiment with the “weightiness” of the final pieces.
I blogged on cutting the lids and routing a small chamfer profile at the bottom of the box in a previous post, and followed the same processes this time as well.
After sanding and cleaning up the lids, I picked out ten boxes to apply a finish to for the school fund raiser.
I set the rest of the boxes aside to finish up later.
I finished the chosen ten with three coats of hand wiped, Waterlox satin finish. I gave them a light sanding between each coat and rubbed out the final coat to get a smooth sheen. Here they are, all gussied up and ready to go to school.
After all this hard work I decided to treat myself to a new tool for the shop. What could be more perfect after all that sanding than the new, high tech, carbon fiber, ergonomically designed broom and dust pan.
Guess what my next project is…