Case / Box Work In Progress Part 2

Custom Made Case Notary Public Stamp Seal Press Pt 2

Night time workshop goings ons!

  • Fitting the base
  • Fitting the Lid
  • Shaping the Raised Panel

Some more work in progress photos of the Stamp/Seal box. In this post I will show the steps involved in fitting the base and lid into the slots as well as fitting the solid brass plaque into the top.

Squaring up the end of the slot with a chisel
Extending the slot length into the dovetails and squaring up the end without breaking through! Just a nudge with the palm is enough, this QLD Maple works well with sharp hand tools.

It’s little things like this that take the extra time — I like to sneak up on the fit rather than create a slot that’s slightly too wide or too deep, there’s nothing worse than getting half way through the glue up only to find something is slightly out of line or the base bottoms out in the slot and throws the whole thing out of square.

It can be very hard to correct once you have glue on the tight fitting dovetails, so preparation is key.

Checking width of base piece for the box/case
Checking the width of the base piece to make sure the dovetails will still come together

The base piece should be a perfect fit and square so this will help align everything when it comes to assembly of the dovetails with glue for the final time.

Close up of the box side being checked against the base width
Checking the base fit by making sure the side will still be snug once the dovetails are driven home
Testing the base in the slots of the case sides.
Testing the base fit and dovetails after fine tuning the fit.
Checking the base inside for any tight spots or splintered end grain
Checking the base inside for any tight spots or splintered end grain which can happen sometimes when pounding the dovetails home with a mallet — lucky I rounded the edges ever so slightly to create a lead-in edge.

Fitting the Lid

The bottom slot needs to be just over 4mm to accept the Victorian Ash ply base. The top slot is bang on 3mm to mate with the lid slot for the raised panel lid pictured below.

fitting the solid timber lid into the Blackbean sides
Fitting the Maple lid into the Blackbean sides while allowing room for expansion/shrinkage of the solid Maple timber.

The stepped-raised-panel-lid is solid timber construction so allowing room for expansion and shrinkage is critical — unlike the base piece which will be snug fit allowing only for a thin smear of glue.

Closeup of the box lid piece fitted into the sides perfectly
Perfect fit (after some slight adjustment)

Both of these trees came down in Cyclone Yasi – the Queensland Maple will soon be married with the Blackbean for life and I thought to myself I wonder if these trees were together?
— They were in the same region, perhaps they knew each other while growing up! 

Now for the fun part…

Shaping the raised panel lid.

marking lines for the raised panel lid
Marking out for the box raised-panel-lid.
Lid piece in the vice for shaping with a sharp hand plane
Shaping the end grain with a sharp hand plane, sneaking up to the line and correct angle.

This is where grain direction needs to be taken into account when using hand planes (or any other tool for that matter), as you can see the bookmatched lid pieces both have grain in opposite direction so I had to come in from each end to avoid tear-out in this interesting fiddleback section — planing toward the centre only, not towards the outer edge!

Close up of finished raised panel after shaping with a hand plane
Meeting the corners at an exact 45 degree is a sign that you have taken enough of each bevel face.

The exact angle of the bevel is not important, I just do it by eye until I get a nice even match in bevel width and a 45 degree corner ridge.

I had to stop and sharpen my plane before finishing with a much finer pass over the bevel to smooth out any tear out and bring it up to the pencil line.  This Maple can be tricky in places. It’s the first time I’ve worked with such a fussy piece but the results in the lid when finished will be well worth the effort.

Next post I will show how I fit the solid brass plaque into the raised panel lid by cutting a recess with a chisel.

Box Features

  • Rescued timber from the cleanup after Cyclone Yasi
  • Rare Queensland Maple highly figured
  • Body of the case is Black-bean? (I think) – also from Cyclone Yasi.
  • Hand cut dovetail joinery

(shown in future blog posts)

  • Gibson Guitar Case Handle
  • Hand stitched leather
  • Brass Mounts
  • Solid Brass Hinges (leaf hinge)
  • Solid Brass Lock (Mortise Fit)

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