Boring Tools Till – Cleanup and Test Fitting

May 13, 2020

I started my shop time today cleaning up the walnut I glued to the pine rack for the braces. I used a spokeshave to get the lengths consistent and round over the ends, as well as to surface plane the walnut. If I skew it enough, nearly 45 degrees in some cases, I could plane even against the grain and get it fairly smooth.

Spokeshave resting on walnut-reinforced brace shelf

Skewing a spokeshave to flatten a surface

With those smoothed, I wanted to clean up a few spots of tear-out, plus remove the pencil lines that were still on the pine. I cut a card scraper to make a narrow tip, filed the edge square, and scraped things pretty.

Using aircraft shears to cut a narrower tip on a scraper

Filing the edge of the scraper square

Using the card-scraper to clean up the chamfered edge on the walnut reinforcement

I also used a knife and my new scraper to clean up the edges of the slots.

Cutting the edge of a slot with a knife

Cleaned-up slot

With that done, it was time to test fit things. All of my sliding dovetails were a little fat, so I tested each one, then adjusted it either with the dovetail plane or a chisel. The dovetail plane earned its keep here, since I still had the fence set to the right depth, so in most cases it was just a matter of making a pass or two and then everything fit.

The one down side of the dovetail plane is that it's apparently easy to rock it a little, leading to sliding dovetails that are thick in the middle and thinner on the ends. Nearly all of my dovetails were fat in the middle. Oops!

With the three horizontal pieces in, it was time to test the fit of the carcass. I popped one end of the top on, and it fit well. Then I looked at the other end, and the board was ½” too long.

Checking one end of the top board of the carcasse - it fits reasonably well

Checking the other end of the top board and discovering it's a half-inch too long


I figured out what I did wrong. I had bad math at some point, and the inner shelves that are dovetailed into the sides are 38” long. The dovetails are a half inch on either end, so the outsides of the sides are 38 ½” apart (everything is ¾” thick). I cut the top and bottom to 39” initially, thinking I'd trim them back once I'd tested the sliding dovetails for the shelves, but then I cut the dovetails on the carcass because I was eager to try the mitered dovetail corners.

So now I'm cutting a half-inch off the end of the tail boards and re-cutting the dovetails. At least it's pine, and I've got a lot of scraps, so when I need small pieces to patch up the old dovetails, I can do so.

And that's today. I got one corner re-cut, and I'll finish the other tomorrow, then I can test the five uprights that divide the areas between the drawers. It looked to me like I managed to line everything up, but if I have to move a sliding dovetail socket a quarter inch or so to one side, I think I'll be able to do that without weakening things too much.

Plus my veneer gets here this evening, so I'll be able to finish the top shelf too. First time veneering! Wish me luck!

Contents #woodworking #storage #surfaceCleanup #testFitting

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