The Pandora Box continues

For those following along, I opened Pandora’s Box about 2 weeks ago, and have been pushing to get it completed in time for my wife’s birthday.  Rather than jump to the end, we will pick up from where I left off, where the box had 4 dovetailed sides, a base, and I had made some practice excursions into the dividers for some yet to be built trays (at that time).

This next bit ended up being a bit of a detour – as I’ll explain at the end.

I needed the trays that will fit into the main box, and wanted to have them pretty thin – an obvious point of difference from the thickness of the main box walls (it is around 10mm thick, so aimed for about 3mm for these boxes).

The Miter Express from Incra, complete with the V120 Miter (and the Incra fence I have added to mine, with Shop Stop), really came into its own here.  Superb control, and repeatability.  In fact this project would have been significantly harder without this setup – it proved invaluable having such controllable results, and being able to work with fine components.

After resawing the boards (silky oak) again on the bandsaw with the new blade from Henry’s, they were again fed through the thicknesser to get the boards I wanted.  Ripped, and crosscut on the tablesaw gave the sides I wanted.  As much as there are shop-made jigs for ripping small boards, I really think there is an untapped commercial market here – something Incra based for sure.

I wanted two trays, and thinking about the result, decided that the second tray should be half-width only, and able to slide back and forth for access to the lower tray where the bracelets and necklace is stored.

I know where this idea came from – Chris Schwarz’s Anarchist’s Tool Chest

I wanted to dovetail these boxes (and I don’t hand-cut dovetails- one day) but discovered that there is a lower limit for the Gifkins Dovetail jig for wall thickness.  I tried to fake it, and did work out a way to do it, but decided to go a different direction.

The Incra iBox.

Rather than using a dado blade, I measured each of my current saw blades to find the one that was closest to the minimum size that the iBox could handle.  It ended up being the CMT 80 tooth crosscut blade.  With each piece run through the iBox, I had the joints ready to go.  I felt rushed, so didn’t take as much care setting up as I needed to, and the joints were a bit looser than I wanted. Definitely an operator error.

One trick that Incra advised is to draw a line across the top of the board, directly at the back of the jig, so that if the board isn’t perfectly vertical, it is easily detected.

I particularly liked the individual fingers being proud of the surface, so deliberately cut the joints deeper.  The base was made by resawing some pieces of mahogany, and running a rebate around the edge.

This provides support for the walls, and glue area.  The protruding edge effectively becomes the lowest layer of the box, and is the same thickness as one of the fingers.

Glue and clamp up proceeded, and the trays were finished.  I looked, considered, debated then decided not to compromise – the trays were just not good enough for what I needed.

Next article, the project gets back on track.

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