building another granddaughter chest - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 02-26-2016, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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building another granddaughter chest

I just got started on my latest project which is another one of these for my second granddaughter.





There's seems to be a lot of interest in various kinds of chests, especially for kids and grandkids, so I'll show a few pictures along the way as I get the second one built.

This time I started with the really fun part which is the inlay for the top. On the first one I used purple heart letters on a background of birds eye maple with a walnut border.



I liked the final look so I'm going to do basically the same thing this time. The only difference is that this time I'm orienting the grain on the walnut border in a radial direction rather than in the tangential direction.

For the letters, I resawed some purple heart and with my planer, reduced it down to a thick veneer of around 5/64" (~2 mm). This was done by using double sided tape to stick it to a 3/4" piece of mdf before passing it through the planer. Then I glued a piece of fir veneer that I had around, in a cross grain direction before cutting the letters out on a jig saw. After a bit of hand sanding the letters are pretty much ready to go.



The birds eye maple background field was resawn and planed in the same process, and then in a book match manner, glued on a piece of 1/8" hardboard.

For the elliptical walnut border, I first did a bit of design with a drawing program to get the pattern I would use to fit and join pieces of thick walnut veneer (same resaw and planing process).



The veneer pieces in the pattern were individually cut to rough size with a veneer saw and straight edge and then the edges were jointed with a low angle block plane. Each piece was fitted and attached to its neighbour using veneer tape. After the whole ring was complete, it was of course quite fragile, so again I glued a secondary veneer on the back, in the opposite grain direction. The ring was then glued to another piece of 1/8" hardboard.



What I'll be doing next is to inlay the letters into the birds eye maple background. Then there will be some template work to form the ellipse and border, all of which will be described once I get it done.
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post #2 of 22 Old 02-26-2016, 10:34 PM
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Very nice design!! I'll gladly tag along this build...

Mark

"Measuring is the enemy of accuracy." Chris Schwartz
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post #3 of 22 Old 02-29-2016, 05:56 PM
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You do Really Nice Work!! Thanks for the info.
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post #4 of 22 Old 03-02-2016, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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I did some practicing on the inlay lettering yesterday. After changing my mind about the grain direction for the purpleheart letters, I ended up with two sets. The vertical grain version will go in the final product, but I thought why not do a practice run with the horizontal grain letters. So I inlayed them in a piece of fir that was lying around, and now in addition to getting a chest, my granddaughter will get a little sign with her name on it.

I should mention that the technique I'm using for the freehand routing to inlay the letters, is basically that explained by the Wood Whisperer in one of his videos ( http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/vide...r-based-inlay/ ). Anyway, here's how it turned out after some scraper work and some sanding.



Today, it's on to the real thing. Sure hope I don't screw it up.
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post #5 of 22 Old 03-06-2016, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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A few days ago I got started on the inlay letters on the birds eye maple background. I had already made the letters and covered the backside with double sided tape. So the next step was to trace out the location of the letters using my pattern and carbon paper.





The letters were then stuck in their proper positions using the double sided tape. Then with an Xacto knife I traced the outlines. After removing the letters, the cut marks were accentuated with a soft pencil before routing the recesses. The recesses for the letters were done using a freehand router with a 1/8" straight bit. After that there was a lot of hand fitting the letters to the recesses followed by glue and clamps.



I wasn't able to get back to the project until today, when I took it out of the clamps. The next step was a lot of hand scraping and sanding.



The final product turned out reasonably well, although I think I might have done a better job on the practice run, but that's life.



I hope to get back at it tomorrow, when I'll cut out the ellipse shape and add the walnut border.
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Last edited by terryh; 03-06-2016 at 07:57 PM.
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post #6 of 22 Old 03-08-2016, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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The next step in the process was to cut the ellipse from the birdseye maple background that has the inset letters. I was following the same process I used when I built the first chest a few years ago, and fortunately I still had the templates (note to self: never throw out a template). Using the template for the inner ellipse, a 1/4" straight bit and the brass guide bushing shown below, I cut the first ellipse.



The section that was being cut out had been attached to a piece of 3/4" MDF with double sided tape so it wouldn't move once the complete cut was made. As well, I attached a piece of 1/4" plywood (same thickness as the template) in the middle area of the ellipse using double sided tape, in order to provide more support for the router. The template and the work piece were screwed to the MDF base and the whole assembly clamped to my work table before the routing began.




After a bit of light sanding around the edge to remove the fuzzies, this section was ready to be combined with the walnut border.



Using the same template and brass guide on the router, but now with the bushing in place, I cut the inner ellipse on the walnut border.



The border was then glued to the ellipse and the combination was clamped overnight.



The last step was to use the template for the outer ellipse to rout the outer edge of the walnut border. The same template will be used to cut the outer border of the inlay area on the chest lid. Since the chest hasn't been started yet, that will not happen for a while. Anyway, here's the final inlay piece ready to go. I rubbed some mineral spirits on to highlight the different woods.


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post #7 of 22 Old 03-09-2016, 02:46 PM
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Holy CRAP that's clean. That's amazing. Right now I can only dream of doing something that clean.
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post #8 of 22 Old 03-10-2016, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks mackman. I've been making sawdust for getting close to 60 years, and trust me, it's all about hiding your mistakes.
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post #9 of 22 Old 03-11-2016, 04:19 PM
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That is some GOOD Inlay work!! Usually my router gets away from me when I try to follow lines!!
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post #10 of 22 Old 03-11-2016, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travico View Post
............... Usually my router gets away from me when I try to follow lines!!
Ain't that the truth, my router wants to do its own thing sometimes too.

I found the information on the Wood Whisperer video that I mentioned earlier to be extremely helpful when I first tried inlay work. In particular, he recommends using a big router and holding it by the base (not the safest thing I know) -- two things that give you the kind of control required. The big router idea is a bit counter intuitive, but the idea is that with more inertia, it is actually easier to control than say a small trim router or a Dremel tool. Also, as the video points out, when you're down to cleaning up along the outer edge of the recess, you'll find that you're pretty much where you want to be, when you see the fuzzy bits on the surface chip off right at the knife mark. Good lighting and if necessary magnifier glasses help too.
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post #11 of 22 Old 03-15-2016, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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I finally got back to work on the chest and pretty much finished the legs, but for some sanding. I've decided to use floating tenons to attach the legs to the panels (used biscuits on the previous one), so I spent some time cutting the mortises using a home made jig, router, and 1/4" spiral up-cut bit.

I also milled the stock for the floating tenons.

Best of all, the wood I had ordered for the rest of the project (rough sawn 1x6 clear Douglas Fir) arrived today, so now I can start getting serious about making rails, stiles, and panels.
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post #12 of 22 Old 03-19-2016, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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I got going on the panels the other day. I started with some of my newly purchased Douglas Fir and cut and milled the material to nominal size for the panels and left it in the shop overnight. The next day I jointed one face and ran the material through the planer, reducing it to 5/8". Then it was glue up time for all six panels (2 each front and back, one each on the ends). I finished the glue up today. After running the panels through the planer to get them down to 1/2" thick, I cut them to final size on the table saw. I'll be routing the edge with a raised panel bit (raised side goes inward), but I'll wait until I've cut the slots in the rails and stiles. I find it easier to fit the panel to the slot than vise versa.
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post #13 of 22 Old 03-22-2016, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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I spent the last few days milling up the material for the rails and stiles for the four frames that comprise the four sides of the chest. Today I finished cutting the tenons so the frames are pretty much done except for some final fitting and sanding. Raising and fitting the panels comes next.
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post #14 of 22 Old 04-09-2016, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Various things kept me out the shop for a while, but this past week I got back to work on the chest. Recent progress includes 1) putting some finish on the raised panels, 2) gluing up the front, back, and side frame/panel assemblies, 3) cutting the mortises in the panel assemblies for the loose tenons that join them to the legs, 4) gluing the legs to the front and back and finally, 5) gluing the front and back assemblies to the side panels.

The next step will be to make the solid wood top and inset the inlay piece that I made earlier.
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post #15 of 22 Old 04-13-2016, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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I've gotten quite a bit done over the last few days. The bottom has been cut (1/2" MDF) and the cleats to support it have been installed. In addition the top has been glued up, sanded, cut to final size, front corners rounded, and the edges (except for the back) bull nosed. There will be two stiffeners on the underside of the top and they have been finished but will not be installed until just before putting the finish on. Today I cut the mortises for the hinges and routed out the inlay area for the insert that I built earlier. This was a two part process. The elliptical outer boundary was cut using a template and router bushing. Then the template was removed and the bulk of the area was hogged out using a 1" dia. thrust bit, starting in the center and working outward. After convincing myself that the inlay piece fit the inlay area, I bit the bullet. You have to go on judgement at this step, because you can't do a trial run pushing the inlay piece all the way into place, because you run the risk of not being able to get it out. Anyway, glue was applied and the inlay piece was popped into place and is all clamped up at the moment. Tomorrow will be the big reveal. Sure hope I didn't glue it in upside down.
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post #16 of 22 Old 04-13-2016, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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I had too many photos in the previous post, so here is the last one of the inlay glue up.
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post #17 of 22 Old 04-13-2016, 11:14 PM
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This looks amazing! I love the birdseye with the inlay. I watched the wood whisperer video a while back and would love to try the technique once I get a router. It's looking amazing and I'm sure Emily will love it!
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post #18 of 22 Old 04-14-2016, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Everything went ok with the inlay glue up and today I scraped and sanded the top. The hardware got installed as well as the stiffening ribs on the top. It's all pretty much ready for some finish tomorrow -- just a bit more sanding to clean things up.
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post #19 of 22 Old 04-17-2016, 09:06 AM
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Beautiful inlay work and a nice clean design. Thanks for the detailed posts & pics regarding the inlay process!
What are you going to use for a finish?
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post #20 of 22 Old 04-17-2016, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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I'm using wipe on poly. The first few coats will be clear gloss followed by several coats of clear satin.
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