Blog Post

I started to build the toy chest last week and this week, I’m going to assemble all the wall panels.

Last week I finished bringing all the individual wall pieces to their final dimension.

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I started laying out my marks on one piece in order to set up the table saw properly. It helps to draw out everything, including filling in the sections that will be removed. That way there is no confusion as to what material gets cut away. A combination square is useful for laying out the lines, but a marking gauge would be better.

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I set up a stop block on the table saw to begin cutting the tenons. Each piece was held tight to the miter gauge to keep a perfect 90 degrees. I used a regular, eighth inch table saw blade and made several passes.

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This is what each tenon looked like.

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I continued the process for all the rails and stiles.

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Some pieces required a stop dado so I marked out lines where the saw blade crosses the plane of the table-top.

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I transferred where the dados needed to stop and start onto each board.

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Before making the first pass, I lined up the dado with the edge of the blade.

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Each board is plunged down and then cut, but only between the two lines marked on the fence. This ensures the cut will leave room to chisel out the corners.

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Here you can see the kerf cuts end right at the line.

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I actually don’t own a quarter inch chisel, which I would need to clean up the dados. I grabbed an old flat-head screw driver and just converted it into one.

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It’s not the best looking chisel, but it gets the job done!

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I could now chisel down into the corners to square them up. I used a small router-plane to flatten the bottom of the dado to the final depth. Red oak is hard wood, so it takes some time, and a combination of both the chisel and plane to remove all the material.

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I used another piece to test fit the tenon into the dado.

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The saw blade left tiny ridges on all the tenons so I cleaned them up using a rabbeting plane. Make sure to not run the plane all the way through the tenon which could cause chip out. Instead, make each pass from the edge in towards the middle. I made the same adjustments to all the boards.

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The long rails for the front and back needed the same quarter inch dado.

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I used a magnetic feather board to keep them up tight against the fence.

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I went back to the bench and used the router plane again to smooth out the dado, then used one of the stiles to check the fit.

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The boards needed a groove cut to receive the plywood panels. I marked all the inside edges to make sure I would cut the correct sides.

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Using the same setup on the table saw with the feather-board, I ran all the boards through, flipped them around, and then ran them through again. I made sure to cut the side with a mark on it.

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Here is what the boards look like with the long dado and a tenon.

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The only thing remaining to finish these boards was sanding them smooth. I used a random orbit sander with 150, and then 220 grit paper.

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I laid out all the boards again and got the exact dimensions for the Baltic birch panels.

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I set the fence on the table saw and ripped them to the correct height.

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I pulled out the saw sled to make the cross cuts easier.

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I marked each cut and then slowly pushed the plywood through the blade.

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Before gluing anything together, I assembled all the panels dry just to make sure everything fit. If you just glue straight away, you run the risk of something not fitting the way that it should.

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Everything fit properly so I started gluing up the panels. I assembled the panel on top of the clamps that would squeeze it together. There is a little bit of working time with normal wood glue, but it’s good to work quickly so the glue doesn’t start to setup before the piece is secured in the clamps.

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I cleaned up the excess glue and measured from corner to corner to make sure the panel was square.

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Now I moved onto the smaller side panels. These were much easier since there was only one sheet of plywood and no center stile.

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I let the glue dry for a few hours and then began pulling everything out of the clamps. All the pieces were complete and it was finally time to assemble the chest.

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My Project Tools

COMBINATION SQUARE

TABLE SAW

SPEED SQUARE

CHISEL

ROUTER PLANE

SHOULDER PLANE

MAGNETIC FEATHER BOARD

RANDOM ORBIT SANDER

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