Hello and welcome to the continuation of the Japanese Tool Box build, part of a series in which a Japanese Tool Box, inspired by Chris Hall of The Carpentry Way, is created as a gift to my son.
Where we left off I was working on the center supports for the case. I’ve taken a moment from that, needing a change of pace, to begin working on the top. That work begins where seemingly off my recent work has begun….with a Disston rip saw working my way through a resawing a board.
In addition to ripping this one, I decided to rip the stock for the caps and battens.
The caps and battens all came from the same stock, so that I am able to match each piece of stock making a mirror image across the pieces.
They were quick to prep and revealed some interesting grain and details.
This is rather uncommon in walnut, but a bit of spalt is showing now in one of the caps. I find it very interesting.
Next onto the top, I begin my work on the top by jointing the top edges. I’m working them at the same time so that I do not need to check the stock to see that the edges are both square to each face. This is a procedure called match planing.
I actually ran a smoothing plane over this joint to ensure it is nice and flat, but also will allow a slight gap in the center that will pull tight with a clamp.
That panel is aside and I return to the joinery work. I begin by shooting the edges square. This will ensure that my gauge marks are square to the piece.
Next I apply gauge marks and set a dado plane to the depth needed to create the shoulders. The piece is wider than my cutout and the reason for this is that it will create a nice seam along the inside of the case where the two join up.
I’ve marked out the tenon locations prior to cutting for the shoulders. It will allow for an easy transfer of the marks. I am removing the remainder of the waste with a paring chisel, bevel down.
I then cutout the tenons in both thickness and width. This will match them to the remainder of the case. I’m deviating a bit from the plane here, because my supports will divide the bottom into three pieces I decided to add another point of attachment to ensure that the case does not bulge around the base panel.
And finally cut for wedges.
Next I will be applying these marks to the side panels and cut out mortises. Before that, I cannot resist the urge to begin flattening the top panel. Because I chose to book match these boards I run into an issue, the grain direction is going opposite directions at the center of the panel. This is tough, but I will work the panel a bit differently than I normally would. I work the panel, half at a time taking long grain passes with the jack plane to get it flat. Then switch to a try plane and finally a smoother.
This is how it looks right off of the jack (this is the back of the panel, but the front looked the same).
After working this panel with those three planes I’m left with a very smooth finish. This is the top panel, which will get most of the attention, and so I resharpened my plane for a final pass to ensure it would be glossy and free of any minor tearout or roughness.
Up close on a few areas that were delicate. These grain reversals can be truly hellish, but with a bit of practice can be tamed down to almost non issues. I try to avoid having this sort of stuff, but in walnut it’s nearly impossible to avoid entirely.
And the top has a fine sheen to it, dull from this angle in a few spots where the end grain is revealed at the surface.