Sunday, January 1, 2017

Goodies to Fill My Tool Chest!

I had a very nice Christmas and holiday season with family and friends in Germany. Since I was home, I thought I would take the opportunity to bring back to Spain some more goodies which should help fill out my tool chest here.
I wound up having to pay extra as this duffel bag was nearly 30 kilos!
This is difficult for me, as I would really like to bring a LOT of stuff here, but it just doesn't make financial sense, and I can live without many things.

That being said, I do have a nice batch of "nice-to-haves" here now.

Noticeably absent are any western saws. They didn't quite rate high enough on the list of priorities to replace anything in this bag. I am making do with my Ryobi Dick saw. Also missing are more chisels. I find that the three I have (in sizes kinda small, kinda medium and kinda big) are all I need at the moment.

Unloading the above bag, I thought I would document what was in there after I took out the boring stuff like t-shirts and underwear.

This first photo shows from left to right, my home-made tapered tenon cutter ala Tim Manney that I made a couple years back to match my tapered reamer that is already here. Not shown is the blade that gets attached with a c-clamp. There is also some sandpaper backed with foam that Pedder gave me, a few belt buckles for leather work, a couple of maroon and gray scratchy pads, some ebony scraps, a hunk of wenge, some leather wax, and a buttload of slotted screws and Roman nails that I got from Dictum. I bought three bags of the biggest ones they had which are 2 1/2" long. They should be great for clinching.
Next, I brought back my spokeshave roll which I left there after taking it to Denmark. I finally found the blade to my adze, which was safely hidden in a pocket of the tool roll I forgot was there. - Do yourself a favor and don't get old.
I also brought my 5/8" WoodOwl bit which should be great for staked furniture. I also bought some new tiny Proxxon drill bits, and I bought a new tapered drill bit for pilot holes for the Roman nails. For good measure, I threw in my flush cut saw, too. It's small and light.
This wasn't in the bag, I had brought it here a few months ago. I think it is a type 10 #2. There is a few things wrong with it for collecting, but it should make a fine user. It came with that ugly front knob, so I replaced it with a vintage replacement. This plane will hopefully soon get rehabbed and put to work.
My plow plane and a set of blades in a case I made for them long ago.
A mongo 1 7/8" skew rabbet plane. I haven't had good luck with this one yet, but perhaps I can get it working well. This picture also has a pair of dividers (I love me some dividers), a French side-bead plane, and a low-end block plane probably made by the Ohio Tool company.
I have been really missing my 6" adjustable square, so I brought it back. I chose these planes as they aren't my nicest and best ones, but should work well and can be sold when I leave Spain. There is a Sargent VBM 409, which is the same size as a Stanley #4 (I rehabbed this one a while back and it works great), and a #8 sized Sargent jointer. I'm not sure exactly which one it is, I'll have to do some investigating. I got it in this condition as a bargain from eBay. The previous owner rehabbed it, and did a fairly nice job. It should be easy to get this thing working well. I have never used such a big jointer before, so I look forward to getting to know it.
Last of all, I got some wood in the bag. There is a pretty board of black wattle that was sent to me from Austrailia, a chunk of mirabella from Denmark, some quarter sawn oak, and a few bits of American birch for an upcoming project, and also to replace the pine locks in my chest with. I just feel better about a hardwood for these. While I was at it, I made some more of the lock pieces that are attached to the drop panel of the chest out of ash. I'll use these to replace the pine ones that are currently on it. A little overkill never hurt anything. Also in this photo is The Essential Woodworker book, and a bunch of cribbage board pegs.
Not bad for a buttload of tools in a checked bag.

Next I'll have to set up the insides of my chest. I have to figure out how to get all this stuff in here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dutch Tool Chest in Spain - Part IV - Complete

Except for the inside. I'll set up the guts after we get back from our Christmas travels.
I am very pleased with the results, and would like to thank Christopher Schwarz for making such a nice video on the construction of this chest. More on the video shortly.
I used only Roman nails, even to attach the battens for the large panels like the lid.
The handles look great on this bright yellow chest. By the way, it is bright yellow instead of red with a yellow undercoat because the pepper spice I intended to use for the colorant wound up looking like orange baby poop instead of a nice, brick red. The Frau really liked the yellow, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it too.

I had to use about six coats (maybe more, I don't remember) in order for this light color to cover. There still is some parts that you can see under the paint, but mostly I'm happy. That, and I refuse to use more than four liters of skim milk.

I painted over the nail heads, too. To clean them up, I found that a Q-tip soaked in water did a good job of removing the paint on them. I think I have to buy the Frau some more Q-tips now.
The chest lift really pops against a bright background.
I got the lifts from Jonas, as they were manufactured a short distance from his house in Denmark. They came with a thick coat of zinc, so we stripped that and torched it with a thin coat of boiled linseed oil, which left them such a nice black color.
When I first installed the hinges (that I got from Olav), they installed a bit different than I expected, and the lid didn't fit. All it took was to move the hinges back on the lid a little bit, but that left an extra set of screw holes. No big deal, as they were covered by the hinges themselves, but I decided to plug them anyway.

While I'm at it, the lid fit just a little tight on one side, resulting from one of the hinges being off just a gnat's nadger. I decided to plug those holes, too, and install the hinge just a little farther to the right.
Plugging holes with bamboo skewers. Greg would be proud.

They get sawed off flush with my Dick saw.
Hinges installed and visible from the back.
Here is a photo of the inside. The inside gets no finish, as this works well for keeping tools.
As you can see, I still need to sort out the guts, and make it friendly to hold tools.
The bottom will work nicely, I think. I'll have to see what I keep down here. I may make a few small boxes to hold things safely.
More likely I'll over stuff it with tools and slam the front on before they fall out.
There is just one little niggle, now. The battens touch the chest locks. I'll work this out and get them to close one way or the other.
Battens are resting on the chest locks.

Here's a closer view. I don't think this is much of a problem, just some triming of one or the other.
The Frau thought that this chest looks like a German mail box now that it is yellow.
I suppose she's right.
Over all, this was a fun project that suited itself well to my tool set. I had purchased Christopher Schwarz's video (streaming from Lie-Nielsen), and I enjoyed watching it before the build.

Schwarz's videos are great because he gets real basic with how to perform each part of the build. He has several videos describing how he does dovetails, but he describes it on this one, too. I highly recommend this video, and even if you know how you want to build it, some questions you might have will likely be answered.

I think that once you understand why he does it the way he does on the video, you can choose for yourself if that is how you would do it. For example, I used a much more modest tool set to build mine, and I also used clenched nails to fix the battens on the large panels, something he does in a different way.

Not that my way is better, but my way fit my idea of how it should be done, and more importantly, my tool set.

I am really looking forward to having a proper place to keep my tools. I really miss my tool chest from my Munich workshop, and I think this will be a good solution.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dutch Tool Chest in Spain - Part III

I got a lot done in the last couple of days, but neglected posting to the blog. Long story short, I'm almost done and am applying some home made milk paint.
Mmmmm... Paella!
If you want the long version, here goes:

When we left off, I was attaching shiplapped boards to the back. Now it's time for the front. After I cut the top piece to length, I drilled pilot holes, only to realize too late that the pilots going into the case actually cross nails that are in the side holding the shelf up.
Attaching the front.
No problem, I just cut the nails a bit short. They should still hold plenty strong enough, plus this part will have glue.
Trimmed the nails.
Next I decided to make the wooden parts for the catches. There are four on the big chest, although I bet one could get away with just two on the top. No matter, they are easy to make.
Mark them out one inch from the ends and clamp to bench,

Saw to the line, including a couple of clearance cuts.

Pop out the middle with a chisel.

I had been dreading the big panels for the drop front and the lid, even though I bought one wide enough and glued up the other. Turns out, this was pretty easy, too.
Rip it to width, and a long grain shooting set up keeps the edge square.
I decided on clinched nails for the battens, since I had plenty of Roman nails.
Done my usual way - aka Richard Maguire's way.

These nails are ideal for this.
Once the drop front was together, I realized there was a problem when it would fit. I realized there was no clearance for the battens. The Popular Woodworking plans didn't show clearance cut outs, but I figured that was the only way to go at this point. I later saw a photo of Christopher Schwarz's large DTC he did the exact same thing.
Extra cutouts for clearance of the drop front battens.
Christopher Schwarz recommended to my Instagram photo that perhaps I should use a few more nails for the panel. I figured it couldn't hurt, so I put a total of seven on each side instead of three. These ones I clinched across the grain, as it is supposed to be even stronger.
Interesting pattern.

These square nails are fun to clinch, and look better than wire nails.
This chest is coming along, so why not get some skim milk and vinegar going and in a couple days I can make some paint.
Making milk paint.
The lid was essentially the same. At first I wanted to do breadboard ends, but without a plow plane, I thought it might be a bit much when I could just nail battens on.
Just like the drop front.

A happy coincidence, my Dick saw fits between the battens of the lid!
Now it's time for hinges. Olav gave me a pair of suitable stainless steel hinges when I was in Denmark, and Jonas used a propane torch to "blue" them. I think they look great.

Because of the way it was constructed, it required a little bit of a different install.
There needs to be clearance for the entire barrel.

Nice fit.
It took a little trial and error, but I finally got them on in a way that makes me happy.
Installed. Ugly screws.
All of my screws and the casters I bought had a thick coat of zinc on them. Especially the casters. The only real acid I have about is apple cider vinegar, so in they went. They will come out in a day or two.
It's not what you think, it's apple cider vinegar!
I also need to install the inset chest lifts I got from Jonas. Those we stripped of zinc, and burned in some BLO with a propane torch for a nice look.

To install them, I need to excavate all the wood where the handle needs to go. I chopped most of it out with a chisel, and finished it off with a home-made router.
I sharpened it on my diamond stone.
It can take only a very light cut, so it is no good for hogging out material, only for evening up the final surface.
I first went down only the thickness of the metal,

then I routed the cavity for the handle.
The finished look of the handle is really good.
I like it.
Instead of screws, I used machine screws with bolt anchors on the inside of the chest so the handles don't get ripped off when the screws fail.

BTW, I've discovered that drill bits made to fit in a cordless drill work exceptionally well in an eggbeater. The bit doesn't ever slip.
A new 5mm brad point bit.
Time to get that crap out of the bucket and see what we have. After two days, even the thick coating of zinc on the casters came off. Unfortunately I won't be able to color those because of the rubber wheels, but they will look better with a coat of oil on them.

The screws and machine screws will get the Benchcrafted flaxseed oil treatment.

Only, I have boiled linseed oil here, so I'll use that.

Basically, after washing the parts, I dropped them all in a small jar of BLO. When I removed them, I dried them off with a paper towel, and put them on a piece of tinfoil in our toaster oven.
Naturally, only when the Frau is at work.
After only 15 or 20 minutes, they had started to darken.
It works!
I quenched them in the little jar of BLO, and repeated for a total of three bakes.
They turned out great! You can't even see the screws on the handle from here.
All that is left for woodwork, is the thumbnail profile on the lid. Back to the rescue is my ghetto rabbet plane!
As long as I score the cross grain ahead of time, it works great!

Then I rounded it over with my BU jack.
Screw on the casters.
Now it's time for paint. I thought it would be fun to tint it with some locally available material. Here in Spain, they love to make paella, and for paella, there are some cool colors of spices.
Sweet pepper, and yellow paella colorant.
My plan was to put a base coat of yellow on, and follow it up with the darker red.

So far the yellow colorant works extremely well. The Frau loves the color and wants me to keep it this way. I'm not so sure, I'll have to think about that.
The sweet pepper is a quite a bit coarser in texture than the yellow colorant. I'll have to test it. If it is not suitable for paint, then for sure I will have a yellow chest.

Next post we'll find out!