Blanket chest progress

Things are moving right along on the blanket chest I’ve been working on. If you remember from last time I had all the parts rough cut. I meant to take photos as I moved along, but something, something about intentions. Anyway here is a photo of the chest just friction fit together. I wanted to see if the proportions were starting to look like the drawing. I think it does. What do you think?

As I have said previously, I have been really trying to not use my table saw on this project. I’ve relied on my band saw for the rough cuts and the router table and hand tools for the joinery. I know it will take getting used to and there have been many times I think it would just be easier to do it on the table saw, however I think I’ve been treating it like a crutch and so I have been very diligent in trying to wean myself off of it. I can honestly say I have only used it once so far on this project and that was to quickly make a replacement piece for one of the rails I messed up. Not that big of deal and I could have done it without the table saw, but I didn’t and that is okay. There is a part of me that has a teeny tiny engineer in it that always tries to get me to make my work as if I were a machinist, you know, perfectly square and measured in micrometers with no gaps or errors and perfectly smooth as if were a metal piece. I’ve been trying to silence him because lets’ face it, this is woodworking not machining. A band saw cut will never be as smooth as the table saw. I don’t care how good you are or how well tuned your band saw is, just not going to happen. Not to brag too much but my band saw is playing a perfect tune right now. Zero drift, 90 degrees exactly to the table and the blade cuts perfectly parallel to both the miter slot and the fence. I can rip or crosscut any thickness and take a square to it and be dead on and perfectly parallel. And with all that said, what does it mean? Nothin’. It still comes off the saw rough and needs touched up, either with hand tools or the jointer. But at the end of the day, it really isn’t that big of deal and I have been able to manage just fine. Just not as fast. But to ease my mind a bit, as I begin to work on projects I will try to make jigs and fixtures to help in my quest for better consistency and accuracy. This first one I made is to help cut the tapers in the legs. It is a pretty basic fixture and didn’t take all that long to make, but I wanted to show you the process.

First I marked the taper I wanted on a scrap piece of wood as a guide. I free hand cut it on the band saw and faired it smooth with my number 3 plane. In this photo you can see I had a good side and a not so good side. I used the good side as my guide.

One I had it smoothed and the size I wanted, I grabbed some spare pieces of plywood to make the fixture. I lined up the tapered end flush with the edge of the plywood and screwed the guide down. I added a simple screw to the end as a stop.

The fixture is really simple to set up. I just line up the edge of the plywood with the edge of the blade and push the piece to the stop and make the cut. Here is what it looks like on the band saw.

And after the cuts are made. The blade is a 4 tpi 1″ timberwolf blade that cuts like butta! But you can see how rough the cut is.

It is easily faired smooth with my number 3 plane at the workbench. The other planes in the background are just there for moral support! 😀

The last photo is where I laid my pocket square up there to see how close I was after a few passes with the plane. Looks right on. Now I am ready to cut my project pieces.

I think this fixture worked pretty well overall and was very quick to make and use. Consistency like this will make it far easier for me as I make this transition. Thanks for reading!

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