Wednesday 7 September 2016

It's All About Boxes

Time is running. Summer is nearly over and Fall is knocking on our doors.

The leaves are turning into red now and the very first ones are already falling.

Nice start for a post, or? But now I did not find the right bridge into the post.

Perhaps let me try this. I'm sitting here and think about my this weeks post. Looking back over the past few weeks, I wonder what I have done in this time. Those hot late summer days.
Yes of course, I've started my secret project. I'm meanwhile so far behind my schedule because of the hot temperatures, that I will transform it into the secret X-Mas project.
So, what else? You know what? The answer is "boxes". I've done all about boxes.
I've done some with trough dovetails. Some of them have miter joints. The secret one has half blinds. Rabbets were used too. I've reinforced some of them with pins. And a butt jointed one is already started.

Reinforcing a rabbet joint with pins

While I'm sitting in front of my computer, thinking about all this, I came to the realization that with doing all these boxes I have developed a working routine. Don't get me wrong. I love doing boxes and I have got a few more in mind. But doing them felt so familiar that I haven't done much pictures and even have not thought about what I could write about it.

Boxes with DTs, half blinds and miter joints

The picture shows just a few of them. It is one of the drawers for my bench and I still have to build some.
The smaller ones are the secret project box and some of the tills for it. All of them with different joints.
I struggled a bit with the half blinds for the secret box. Finally I managed it somehow.
The miter joints for example are already so familiar that I have not really thought about it. Just cutting the piece to length, rough cut a bevel at 45°, shoot that bevel to precision, cut a groove near the bottom edge, insert a bottom into the groove and fold the single pieces to box format. That's it.

What bigger boxes are good for ;-)

In summary, what does that mean? Although I have spent just a little time in the shop I was productive.
I have banged  out a couple of boxes without recognizing it. I think I've reached another level of work or better say skill.
It looks like I'm familiar with a lot of techniques now so I can concentrate more on building. And as I haven't discovered anything new in technique I have lost the focus of what I wanted to report about.
That's a good thing I think. It gives room for new things. I don't believe that I will do something that never had been done before. But I can try new things. 

That said the next box is in preparation and it will be part of an interactive post (maybe a short series) I plan to do.

A batch of offcuts for the next box

 Tom Fidgen once said "It all begins with a box" and maybe that is a good motto.

What Else Is On The Bench?

Hopefully without boring you to death and for all the tool enthusiast I would like to show you two finds I have made the last weeks.
First of all I found this Ulmia marking gauge. It is a pin gauge, but the pins are already removed for rehabbing. A slight rehab is necessary because the face, which is running against the wooden pieces you want to mark, is pretty worn out. And secondly it seems that it was in contact with some water somehow in the past.

Ulmia marking gauge before rehab

I will remove the clear coat from the body and plane the face. Afterwards I will refinish it.

The other find will complete my collection of wooden planes. Once again an Ulmia model. I found this shoulder rabbet plane that last weekend.

Ulmia shoulder rabbet plane

It is in pretty good condition. Just removing some marks from the sole and some paint residues from the body.

Brand mark ??

Whatever the former owner has done with the plane it has a brand mark at the escapement hole. Maybe I will leave it as it is.

Cap iron

The iron and the cap iron are in very good condition. I would say it wasn't used much. Oh yes, the plane has got a double iron. Nice

Rehabbing the flea markets tool finds is a good filler activity. If I have just a limited shop time and it doesn't make sense to work on my project or to start another one, then I do some tool care.
In an hour you can easily rehabbing a plane iron. Or adjusting a planes sole. Derusting your finds is also a no-brainer.
Just be careful not to fill one of your bigger boxes with your collected items until you are overwhelmed. :-)

So, back to my boxes now.

Stay tuned!



  1. An errant cigarette burn on the rabbet plane? Keep this up and you'll need a second box to hold your planes. Or maybe a plane till.

    1. Hi Ralph,
      fortunately I have to build some more drawers. Unfortunately they are already reserved for other stuff.
      So I will have to keep an eye on that. But I will give away the one or other after rehabbing.

      Talk soon,

  2. I second the plane till suggestion, your boxes will soon overflow :-)
    That Ulmia plane is a rabbet plane not shoulder. The difference is in the blade bedding angle. Look like it has an adjustable mouth, nice feature.

    Bob, who did not heed your advice and is now overwhelm with tool rehab projects :-)

    1. Hi Bob,
      unfortunately I haven't got the space for a plane till. That's the reason why I have build a cabinet bench. The flea market finds are getting less the later it gets in the year.
      Thanks for the hint. Seems that I have mixed up the terms here. Of course you are right, that's a rabbet plane.
      I've updated the post.

      Talk soon,

  3. Nice collection of boxes Stefan. The fact that building boxes has become "routine" indicates that you have internalized the skill. You now own that skill and that is a good thing.

    I have to admit that you have my curiosity up as to what the secret project will be.

    1. Hi Greg,
      yes that's the point. But it takes a while before one realizes it himself.
      So then I have to strain your curiosity a bit more. Inspired by your posts my idea was to add some individual details and so I decided not to finish the project in a hurry and to make compromises to what I have in mind. Thanks for your attention.

      Stay tuned,