Scrap Boxes - September

glenn bradley

After the buffet, the blanket chest, and the jewelry cabinet I have a swell of scrap.
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I dig through and find enough pieces that will yield a given size of parts.

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I even lucked out on some birdseye for some of the tops.

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I find taking a pass or two with a hand plane saves me from any peek-a-boo saw marks showing up after assembly.

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I have 3 of one thickness and three or four of another. I try for repeated parts but sometimes the scraps drive the design. Therefor I do a dry fit on each variation.

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Side note -- If you don't want to go the whole hose-boom route this little clamp on hose/cable manager from Rockler has served me pretty well over the years.

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Another side note -- I had a senior moment. After working my fingers to the bone I suddenly realized that I had a variable speed detail sander available . . . Doh!

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I clamp a straight thing to an assembly surface for reference. I put tape at each joint and line up the parts. I add a dab of silicone rubber to each piece in the top and bottom groove for the floating . . . er . . . top and bottom.

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I add the top and bottom (in the right locations . . . don't ask) and add the glue to the miters.

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Roll the case parts up.

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And tape off the last joint.

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I don't trust tape alone at a certain size. These are borderline. I add some clamps. After an hour I glue up another box and move the clamps as I only have two sets right now. An hour after that I pull the tape on the first box and continue that sequence. I can adjust the tops and bottoms a bit to assure they are centered. Once the silicone cures they will stay centered over he seasons.

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I don't feel like sanding anymore right now so I may cut a top off and add the hinges on one. I will have to make trays and pulls for all of them as I go along. Plenty to do so I don't get bored and don't burn out on repetitious tasks.
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Having out of town guests this week. Had to take some time off to dress up the house. Back at it this morning. Here's a batch of tops waiting for floating panel joinery. I do this at the tablesaw with a FTG blade.
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For whatever reason I didn't take a pic of the joinery but it looks sort of like this from another batch some time ago.
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We've all seen the top removal process but I will show it here just to make the thread more complete for future visitors.
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I take a pic like this every now and then . . .
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. . . just to let LOML know how much work I go through so she can rock her Christmas gifts.
I make a quick hinge mortise jig out of some scrap ply.
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I secure the part and then clamp the jig to that part.
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If this works well I can quickly and confidently do the rest of the boxes.
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I find a guide and smaller drills make working with thin stock and tiny screws easier.
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If you don't have a set of numbered drills they are not expensive. They don't come out often but I am glad to have them.
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I use a steel screw of the same size to pre-thread the holes for the brass screws.
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And I end up here.
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The lid lines up well but I would like the mortises a bit deeper. I leave a reveal between lid and box via the hinge height / mortise depth so that small felt bumpers at the front position the lid evenly when closed. I have made lids close completely wood-to-wood in the past but never cared for the "clack" when the box is closed.
Over the years I have gathered some Amana so called miniature router bits. If you do any kind of detail work they can be handy. This is a 1/4" shank, 1/4" x 1/4" template bit that works great for small hinge mortises.
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This is just more of me using the hinge mortise jig on the balance of the boxes.
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I then position a hinge and use the holes in it to make index "cones" with a properly sized split point bit. You could use a transfer punch or another drill bit to mark the position. However, I have found that the cone left by a twist drill makes it nearly impossible to goof on the position of the pilot hole.
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I use a number 53 for the #1 sized brass screws. The guide block keeps me perpendicular to the narrow edge and acts as a drill stop.
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I use a steel screw of the same size as the brass screw to pre-cut the threads.
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This may seem like a lot of extra steps but I cannot remember the last time I broke a brass screw. For the trays I have a lot of small parts that I have to cut rabbets on.
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I can still count to ten. I want to make sure I can do so at an advanced age so I am a little overkill on safety. I don't want the nurses gypping me on my sponge bath time. Small parts call for holders. The Grr-Ripper has a feature for this but these parts are a little too small for the adjustable range of the push block.
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I make a little helper at the bandsaw. This is just a spacer with a toe-hook built in.
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The spacer let's me use the Grr-Ripper which holds the small parts down and against the fence while feeding.
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If there were just a few I would just push the part and the spacer through by hand. With 32 parts to mill the Grr-Ripper saves wear and tear on my finger tips.
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For assembly I use glue and tape.
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The bottoms will be added later. To hold the frames till the glue cures I just slip them into the box bottoms.
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I like the pulls on my boxes to have a sort of organic feel. I cut out blanks from scrap at the bandsaw.
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These get rough-shaped at the spindle sander and hand sanded to final shape.
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I cut little "dowels" of 18ga wire. I drill slightly undersized holes in the pull for these.
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I chuck the dowel in a drill and literally spin them into the holes.
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I then use the bits of wire like dowel-centers and press them into the surface of the lid. Here I have highlighted the marks with a white pencil to make them show better in the pic.
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I drill receiver holes.
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And the pull sets like so.
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Some glue and clamps and the assembly line continues . . .
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I end up here.
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This should temporarily solve the problem of "do we have anything to give so-and-so? They'll be here tomorrow." :D