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Boxes for Travelling Tools




A decade ago, while road testing the new Veritas chisels (then only O1 was available), I built a box partly to house them and partly to demonstrate them in use  ...






This coming weekend I shall be part of a dovetailing workshop, and decided that it was time to build a new box for these chisels. These are the chisels I use in demonstrations, such as wood shows.

For one thing, the number has grown from 5 to 7 chisels (I had made a 1/8" from a spare pre-production 1/4" - this was before this size was available from Veritas - as well as a 3/8" fishtail chisel. At some stage Veritas will be producing their own version. I do not have any details).

A second factor was that I thought the existing box was a little OTT, and wanted something more subtle, and less in-your-face. The fact is that the joinery in the new box is far more demanding than half-blind dovetails of the original box, but only those experienced might recognise this.

It has been a month or more since I have had any regular time in the workshop. My practice has been crazy busy, but now I have a few weeks leave. In particular, I had some time free yesterday and today. This has been therapeutic and fun. I hope others get something from the details here ....

The light wood is Jacaranda (in both boxes), which is the last harvested from a tree on our property several years ago. It is softish, not so nice to saw and dovetail, but planes beautifully. The darker wood is Makore. Another wonderful wood to work with.

The construction of this box is based on mitred-through-dovetails - all lower corners and the end upper corners. This makes it easier to plough through grooves for the base and top. The mitred corners are also, in my view, far more aesthetic, lending a balanced presentation from the top.






The sides are held in a sticking board when ploughing grooves with the Small Plow.




The rebates were planed with a skew block plane and then fine-tuned with a rebate plane. This is the main use I find for rebate planes ...




This is the underside ...




And from the upper side ...




The finger depression was carved with chisels ...




Inside the box, the chisels are held very firmly with a combination of rare earth magnets and individualised spaces for each chisel ..





The O1 Veritas chisels differ from the PM-V11 chisels in that their ferrules are square at the front, while the PM-V11 are curved (below, the lower handle) ...




This square section enables the design to butt them fore- and aft. They cannot move about. Plus the magnets hold them firmly as well.





All production handles are made of Torrified Maple.

The two O1 chisels I modified come from pre-production stock, which was used for testing purposes. These have Bubinga handles. The 1/8" I sanded down and stained in an attempt to match the others. The fishtail is an original Bubinga pre-production handle.


On my return from the workshop, I decided to build a few more boxes. Each would be able to be offered as an example of design options.



The second box is for a couple of dovetail saws, in particular a Veritas 20 ppi and a Veritas 14 ppi (which I have re-filed from 14 degrees of rake to 10 degrees of rake and 15 degrees of rake for the first 1 1/2" of the toe). The 20 ppi is excellent for thin board and softer wood, plus works well for crosscutting (such as the shoulders). The idea behind the progressive rake in the 14 ppi saw is to make it easier to start in hard, brittle wood, and then cut more aggressively.

The wood here is US Black Walnut, and the 20 ppi saw was used.





The design again involves mitred through dovetail ends and sides rounded at the top. The mitred ends make it possible to hide the grooves ...







The lid pull is incorporated into the curved end, something I should have done with the previous box ...



Slide it back to reveal the two dovetail saws ...






The third of the tool boxes was made in Black Walnut and Hard Maple ...




This time, simple mitred corners. The notable feature is that there is no spline or reinforcing. Instead, the end grain corners are sized and glued.

Sizing involved a layer of glue on the end grain, allow to near-dry, then add fresh glue. The glue fills the straws and the joint avoids being glue-starved.




The opening to the top in at the end facing the camera ...



Here is the finger pull ...



Inside, there is a Knew Concepts 5" Titanium fretsaw with one of my custom handles, along with a
Kerfing Chisel.



It’s time now to return to the original box





This was re-purposed from the original chisel box to hold marking tools.








Inside are a two cutting gauges, a 12"/300mm combination square, a 4"/100mm double square, dividers, marking knife, sliding bevel, and two dovetail gauges.


Regards from Perth

Derek


February 2022