Friday, January 22, 2010

American Woodworker, Feb/March 2010

I have two articles in this month's (Feb/March 2010) American Woodworker magazine, which should be available in the book stores soon. One article is about making a box using the Gifkins jig for the dovetails and wooden hinges. The other is about making a very simple router table, which you will also see in use in making the Gifkins box. Both articles may be useful to box makers.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

mounting hinges on the back of the box?

A reader wrote asking if the story stick method of cutting hinge mortises can work for hinges mounted on the back of a box. Of course. You follow the same story stick technique described in my Taunton box making books or in my articles in Woodcraft or Fine Woodworking. The only difference is that you lay the box parts with the back sides down on the router table rather than the inside edges. It is always a test of confidence to do such things. What if you have a finished inlaid box like my reader? You can get a lot more confidence about the process by using scrap pieces to test the method. I happen to be the one who figured out how to do this in the first place and it still amazes me that it works. Cut pieces of wood the same length as the box and use them to go through the motions and test your set-up before you rout the mortises in the actual box.

Another reader asked whether the application of Danish Oil could be causing a 1/16" gap to appear between the lid and base of the box. But no. Danish oil will have no impact on the fit of box parts or the mysterious appearance of gaps. My suspicion is that the top panels are being glued in place, leaving no opportunity for expansion and contraction to take place, so when the top panel dries, it shrinks, applying tension to the sides of the lid, causing it to warp away from the base at the front of the box. Any wood wider than 3 inches should never be glued down to wood going cross grain. It is an invitation to disappointment. Instead, allow wide panels the opportunity to expand and contract with changes in humidity.