2015-03-16 - Here We Go Again

Now that I have a clue, and I don't want the first box to get any worse by messing with it, it's time to start in on the real scotch glass box. The first one was just for fun. Funny, but it didn't seem like a lot of fun at the time.

Got the blanks cut and pattern'ed tonight. Even got the top and bottom pieces cut. It's odd having all of the things you need right away, and not have to wait for a week for stuff to show up. This will take some getting used to.

I put tape on all four layers, but then glued the second layer to the first with the spray adhesive, instead of putting a pattern on it. We'll see if they stay stuck together through the sawing process, and more importantly, if they can be gotten apart without messing up the wood surfaces. I did the same thing with the third and forth layers.

2015-03-17 - Drill Baby Drill

And so it begins. I'm doing this project along with a sign cutting project. Tonight the sign got most of the attention, so all I did here was drill the holes for the blades to start in. Easy night.

This pattern differs a little from the pattern for the first box in that the top two layers will be missing the wall between the hole for the glass and the long skinny watch glass hole. That will make it possible to grab the watch glass and get it out of its hole without having to dump the box upside down. The hole for the glass will also be symetrical in this box. I kept thinking that there was something funny about the shape of the hole in the first box, and when I checked the measurements I found there were a few discrepancies. The little bridge/fulcrum in the odd-shaped hole for the teaspoon has also been moved closer to the handle end. This will make the bowl end of the spoon pop up higher out of the box when the handle is pressed down.

2015-03-18 - In The Garbage

Well everything I cut tonight went into the garbage.

Stacking two layers of 3/4" oak doesn't work (for me) at all. I was cutting on the line, but at the bottom of the stack the blade was up to 1/8" off. I could use a much thicker blade, but that wouldn't be good for cutting the tight curves. Ruined those two pieces.

After splitting the other two layers apart, cutting two new blanks, and getting a pattern stuck to everyone I did all the cutting on the one layer left that was ready to go. When I finished I put it on the floor and stomped it into five or six pieces. It looked that good. This box has to at least look better than the last one. Hmm...I better buy more wood.

Cleaned up and went home.

2015-03-19 - Baby Steps

I'm almost calm after last night. I only did one thing tonight. Cut four new blanks out of the 1x8" I was going to use for a larger box, and put the patterns on them. That's all. I wanted four new pieces, instead of just adding one to the old pieces, so all of the grain patterns would kind of match on the outside of the box. I'm being picky with this box.

I've had a heck of a time being able to tell where I'm cutting, because these skinny blades just start to look like the lines in the pattern. I can't figure out where to move the lamp so that the shadow doesn't just make things worse. So this time I made the pattern lines red. You can barely see it in the top picture above. I'll see if that helps. If it doesn't help at least the patterns will be pretty to look at.

2015-03-23 - After Taxes

Had to do my taxes, so haven't been doing anything with wood the last few days, except chewing on pencils.

Tonight's festivities went pretty well. I decided to use an Olsen No. 408 "manly" blade for thick wood to see if that would help my cutting problems. It did! Things went much better. Everything was a little more under control. In fact this blade was so good it even did a good job of cutting when I forgot to set the tension before starting. Oops. When I noticed that, set it, and kept going I thought sure that piece was ruined, but when I finished cutting it wasn't. Nice. I used a new blade for each piece. I was afraid that this blade may be too thick to cut the corners, but it did OK. The sharpest bend this box has is a 3/8" diameter half circle. Everything else is at least a 3/8" radius corner. The one problem with this blade is that it didn't leave very smooth surfaces, so there will be a bit of sanding to do. Next time I'll try a Number 12 blade. No more using wimpy blades for this kind of stuff.

Two of the layers had patterns with red lines. That worked pretty well too. Even when the line was in the shadow of the blade you could still see it. I'll use red lines from now on.

One other thing I did was not cut on the lines. I just plain left some extra material on the inside or the outside of the lines as needed. There are only a couple of places that will have to be "fixed" with a little extra sanding. I didn't leave any extra material...and then some. Oops. That's just me still learning to cut.

Got all four layers, and the top and bottom pieces cut, and then peeled off some of the patterns and tape.

Got the little bridge of wood in the second layer cut and shaped with the router then glued the first and second layers together, and then the third and forth layers. In all the excitement I did forget to drill the 1/4" holes in the top layer for the magnets before gluing, but that's not a big deal. It's such a tight fit for the magnets that the holes just have to be deep enough. If they end up deeper than the 3/4" of the magnets, because I'm about as good at drilling as I am at sawing, it'll be OK. I'm ready for the next step tomorrow. That was fast.

2015-03-24 - Sanding Again

It's that time in the project. Tonight was easy. Sanded and prepped the hole for the teaspoon in the upper two layers. Went pretty quickly. There was a bit more to do this time since I left a little while cutting. That actually worked out well. I didn't have to be quite so fearful about removing too much material. This may be the last box I'll make with this odd-shaped hole for the teaspoon -- since I only have one teaspoon like it -- but from now on I'll make all 'canyons' a little bit wider than 1/4". This one is just 1/4" and it takes a bit of extra work to get the 1/4" sanding sleeves into to it.

Once the sanding was finished there was only one thing to do -- glue and clamp and clean up.

I bought one of those Forstner-type drill bits for the four 1/4" holes in the corners of the top layer for the magnets. I tested it out on a piece of scrap. Hmmm. Their idea of 1/4" is not the same as DeWALT's idea of 1/4". The hole made by the Forstner bit is just right and the magnet easily slides in and out of the hole. Not good. The hole made by a regular DeWALT bit, maybe just because the surface of the hole is rougher, is like the same size as the magnet which has to be forced into the hole. Good. The Forstner bit makes a really pretty hole, but it won't be making the holes for this project.

2015-03-25 - Somebody's In Trouble

I'm going to fire the guy that buys the parts I need. I had a whole list of stuff to do tonight, but "someone" forgot to buy more brass screws to hold the box layers together. That person is in big trouble. I only had one screw. All I could do tonight was drill the holes for the screws. I don't want to do anything else until they are in. I don't want to accidentally whack a corner of the box on something while working on it and have the layers pop apart.

2015-03-26 - I'm Still Sanding (Sorry, Elton)

Cut a little foam. Actually as little as possible. I just cut one 2 1/4" slab from a square foot piece and then cut that in half. How lazy is that? I just couldn't wait to get started sanding.

Almost had a disaster. One of the four brass screws, that "someone" bought on their lunch break today, stopped about 1/4" from all the way in. Couldn't get it to go in or out. Don't know what happened. The rest were fine. Had to cut the head off with a band saw. Nicked the wood a little when the blade slipped, but it's just a flesh wound. That was close.

Did a lot of sanding of the glass and watch glass holes, but didn't finish. It's looking good, but it all needs more work. That skinny hole is driving me crazy. Will continue tomorrow night.

That's all for tonight. I had all kinds of stuff out and ready to go just in case I made some real progress. Oh well.

2015-03-27 - Now We're Gettin' There

Got things done tonight. Finished up sanding the holes for the glass and the watch glass. The only way to get the 1/4" sanding sleeve in to the watch glass slot was to thread the carriage bolt through the hole, put it in the drill chuck and then raise the table until the box was all of the way on the table and then start sanding.

Finished up with some hand sanding. I just can't get enough of it.

The blade I used to cut the block of foam to the shape of the hole for the glass was a bit too course. It sort of ripped the foam instead of cut it. After that I tried using a #1 scroll saw blade, but things can get a bit out of hand quickly. That blade will cut the foam when moving the foam sideways, so while you are trying to get the foam turned around a corner the blade is already cutting it. Cutting foam is generally tricky for me. There's basically no cutting resistance, so it's hard to judge how hard to push or how hard you are pushing, and sometimes the blade basically sucks the foam into it and you end up cutting where you didn't want to. I might try doing all of the cutting using the 1/8" band saw blade next time.

This was the picture I forgot to take last box. This is step one.

To mark how much to cut off the block I used the length of a Sharpie point and just cut to the inside of the blue area.

It fits! Better than the first box. The skin on that box was too thick the first time and the glass wouldn't fit in the hole. This time it fits, but it may be a little too loose. I'll decide if I want to do it over later. If I do I'll try using the 1/8" blade on the band saw for everything just to see how that works.

I cut the bottom off of the leftover piece to the shape of the glass. Oops. I did it on the band saw, but there is no flat surface to lay on the table of the saw while cutting since this is the piece that just had the curvy skin cut off of it. I let the blade drag the end down and the ridge that should fit where the base of the glass meets the bowl of the glass became an angled ridge. You get two chances. You can still cut another piece out of the other side of the same scrap piece. That one came out OK. It's in the picture below.

Nice. Glued the bottom on and clamped it up for the night. It just gets better looking and easier from here on...except for the lid. Ugh. I'll start to tackle the lid and its magnets tomorrow.

2015-03-28 - Almost On The Road Again

I have these bits for cutting the slots in the edge of the lid piece for the small magnets. They are made for cutting lines in metal. They should handle wood, but at the speed of the drill press I used on the first box it is a bit of a problem (no pun intended). The cuts are not very nice.

I've had a Dremel tool for over ten years. I've used it a few times. I can really only remember using it once. I got the idea to pull it out and see if these bits in the Dremel would do any good.

Just hand holding the tool and testing it out on a couple of pieces of scrap I was able to cut slots about the size needed in seconds verses the nearly half-hour per hole it took to cut them with the drill press. "The game is on", as Sherlock would say.

I'm going to chock this up to Divine Providence. When I laid the Dremel on the table, and put the lid piece on top of a scrap piece of the oak I'd been using for the boxes the bit hit the edge of the piece right in the middle. Right where the slot needed to be. There was only one thing to do. I built a "tool" to hold the Dremel.

In the olden days, before I had all these fancy tools, this rig for the Dremel would have have been made out of plywood, a couple of scrap square pieces of wood, some nails, and probably duct tape. That's not allowed anymore. Now it will be sanded oak, with routered edges, countersunk screws, and a nice hose clamp.

I've wanted one of these contour gauges for decades, but never bought one. Today I had a need, and today I bought one. They allow you to push them up against an oddly-shaped item, which changes the position of the little fingers of metal until they match the shape of the item. Once you've got that you can use a pencil and run along the fingers and transfer that shape to another piece of wood.

It works well.

I cut out the pieces that matched the shape of the Dermel tool with the scroll saw, then attached them to the base. I used a sideways-cutting drill bit to make slots through the base for the hose clamp to go through.

On the bottom of the base I butchered a depression with the router between the slots for the hose clamp to lay in when tightened. The router bit slowly started to fall out of the chuck as I cut. You don't even want to see what is under that hose clamp. It's a learning experience. Is a 'teachable moment' the same thing?

Not bad for an amature. We'll see how it works tomorrow.

Now back to the box. The first order of business was to get the bottom screwed on, even though it was glued on yesterday. The screws don't look too bad, and provide a little extra insurance.

I removed the pattern and headed over to indroduce the box to my Little Friend (Sorry, Al Pacino). In just a few minutes the outside of the box went from looking like a bad cement job to looking like a swan. This is my favorite part. I may just have to get me one of these machines for my very own.

In the picture above the box is wet, so it looks like a wet swan, but trust me, it was pretty. After getting the outsides fairly smooth the top edge could be routered with the 1/16" rounding bit. After that the teaspoon, glass, and watch glass holes were done. Nice.

The last thing for the day was to insert the magnets. They were put in so the two on the left side had the same polarity up, and the two on the right side the same polarity up. That way the lid will only go on one way.

2015-03-29 - The White Flag Lap

Time to make the lid magnet holes. You start with one in the correct place, then you trial and error it until you get all four of them drilled. I try to just drill where the pattern says to drill, but it doesn't always come out right. There must be something wrong with the pattern. Fortunately, the holes have to be a little bit larger than the magnets on top of the box, or the lid wouldn't go on and come off smoothly, so there's room for a little error.

Except for the couple of hours it took to build this Dremel tool holder this tool saved me tons of time and gallons of sweat. It made nice, clean holes by just moving the wood by hand and not using any rails or anything to restrict the movement. It was so fast and easy to get to the 'magnets glued in' part that it wasn't even funny. Too bad I'm probably only going to make one more of these boxes.

I finished up breaking through from the drilled holes into the slots by just hand-twisting the 17/64" drill bit, and then cleaned up the edges of the holes with the awl blade on my trusty pocket knife. I did the same thing as the first box and super glued the two waffer magnets on one side into the slots, put the lid on the box on its side, let the glue dry, then repeated for the other side.

Instead of trying to glue the pattern to the foam and then cut out the two pieces for the teaspoon hole, while the pattern fell off, I used a fine point Sharpie and poked through the pattern making little dots to cut along. It worked well and was pretty quick. If you make the dots on the bottom of the foam that won't be seen, then you don't even have to try and wash off the blue ink. Make sure your pattern is flipped over if you do it that way.

The one moving part of the box. When you push down on the handle the bowl of the teaspoon pops up for grabbing. I moved the fulcrum a bit to make it pop up higher than the first box. Looks good to me.

The foam below the watch glass cover is a little too thick. It makes the top of the glass stick up just a fraction of a bit. When the lid is put on it pushes the glass down into the foam and keeps it from rattling around. The stainless steel teaspoon rattles around even when the lid is on, but then it's proabably not going to break before the box does.

I used the paper cutter to cut the rough square of felt for the bottom of the box. I just used the lid from the Elmers Spray Adhesive bottle to draw rounded corners and cut them with scissors.

The last thing for the day was to mix up some bubinga saw dust, and some Elmers Wood Glue, and putty up the slots. I hope I got enough in there. We'll see tomorrow when I sand down the edges of the lid make it the same size as the box. If holes show up then I won't be finished tomorrow.

2015-03-30 - 98% Done

Right after work I started sanding down the lid to match the box with the 12" sander. Three of the four slots didn't have enough glue in them, so I stopped. These magnet slots are a lot smaller than the canyons that I carved into the lid of the first box. That made it pretty difficult to get the glue into these slots. Obviously it was harder than I thought. I whipped up a batch of glue and filled them in.

Later in the evening I went back and decided that the glue was dry enough to try sanding again. I was able to get the lid down to size, but two of the slots started to show signs of not enough glue. I finished sanding the rest of the box and the lid. I pulled out the Dremel tool rig I made and drilled the remaining glue out of the two holes that didn't have enough. I felt like a dentist. It made my teeth hurt. When I finished I made up a new batch of glue and filled them. I know they are full this time.

So now the only thing left to do tomorrow is to hand sand off the excess glue, spray a little glue on the piece of felt that goes on the inside of the lid and stick it there, and that's it! The box is done.

All of the parts in the picture above are waiting patiently to climb in the finished box.

2015-03-31 - Done

For all that trouble it sure doesn't look like much.