Harvey Ellis saw till part 4 – through tenons

This is my first post from the mobile app so apologies for any errors.   Last night I started cutting the through tenons for the divider between the drawer and the saw till.  First I placed the two sides together and marked the top and bottom of the divider on both front edges at once; then I scribed the top and bottom edges on both in the inside and outside faces using a marking knife and a combination square.  Then I marked the  edges of the mortise using a wheel cutting gauge from both the front and back edge, ensuring everything was centered.

Next I drilled out the center of each mortice with a half inch auger bit, starting on the outside face until the screw just barely broke through (10 full revolutions for me).

Then flip the board over and finish the holes from the other side to avoid blowout.


Then I chopped halfway through the mortice then flipped it over and finished the other side.  
Not bad, just five more to go.  

Harvey Ellis Saw Till – Part 3 – Cutting Tails

I strained my back at the gym on Wednesday so I decided working on the bench top would not be the best idea therefore this weekend was all about cutting pins. By sneaking in a few minutes after work I head already sized and square the case top and bottom, all that remained was planning them to their final width. I decided to jury rig a panel gauge using some scrap and a clamp which worked well enough for what I needed.


After plowing the groove for the back it was time to mark and cut some pins. Since the case sides are longer than my bench is wide and my bench is not easily moved due to its lack of attached legs, I decided to relocate my Moxon vise to the end of the bench. This gave me room to lay the case side on top and trace the tails with my marking knife, and then I marked out the face lines and got cutting. The end results were pretty good for a first attempt at free hand dovetails, there were a few gaps but the joint is structurally sound.

IMG_0537 IMG_0536
Saturday we decided to walk to the SF Zoo (it’s a 3.5 mile walk) and we cut through Golden Gate Park to get there. For those of you who don’t know Golden Gate Park has a small herd of Bison (commonly called Buffalo) which is where we noticed this sign.

Oddly Specific
Oddly Specific

Saturday night I cut the second set of pins and these were atrocious; gaps everywhere and the front edges of the boards did not line up meaning I had to make the gaps even bigger in order to get them close to flush. In the end it was unbelievably loose and will need wedges/shims to be structural.

Luckily this was followed by an excellent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Luckily this was followed by an excellent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sunday I managed to cut the two remaining sets of pins; set three was about the same as set one but for the final set I decided to use a mechanical pencil instead of a knife making it easier to see the lines and adding a bit more of a buffer zone; this was the best of the four.


Since I still had some time I decided to pick or a board for the divider between the drawer and the saw area. This board needed to be a quarter inch longer than the case top/bottom in order to have the through tenons stick out and it needed to be around the same width to make layout easier (I will plane down the front edge after joinery is complete to make a consistent 18th inch reveal). Unfortunately there were no suitable boards and any glue-ups would have required a ripping a narrow strip. Instead I decided to use one of the case side cut offs that had a rather nasty knot on the edge which I chiseled out before planning the board to width. This knot void will only be visible from the back and from inside the drawer space, plus this is garage storage/practice piece so better to be economical about things.


Then I plowed a groove on the top and bottom of the board to hold the back pieces. This is one of the design elements from the tools box inspiration that I really liked.


Harvey Ellis Saw Till – Part 1

Sometimes it feels almost impossible to get some shop time in. Over the weekend I attempted to make some headway during Henry’s afternoon naps and both times I ended up receiving a phone call that turned into hour long conversations. Since the weekend was mostly filled with cleaned and home improvement projects, I decided to not finish milling the bench top as I had planned (I had even sharpened up my 6, 7 & 8 in anticipation); instead, I decided to get started on my saw till.


I cut out the sides slightly over-sized and jointed one edge with my #7 and then squared up the edge with my #5 & attached Miller Falls jointing guide.

As you can see from the undersized shaving, I was a bit out of square.
As you can see from the undersized shaving, I was a bit out of square.

I then used this as the reference edge to square up the ends and adjust the length with the shooting board and did a mediocre job planning them with width (I really need a panel gauge). Since this is just shop storage I did not get to picky on smoothing the surfaces but I spent a few minutes flattening the surface and then plowed a groove for the back pieces.


Next it was time to inaugurate the Moxon Vise and gut some tails. I alighted the reference edge (which will be the front face of the carcass) and clamped them together with the outside faces touching in an effort to minimize visible damage. Next I laid out the tails using the dividers method and marked my tails using my old Veritas Magnetic dovetail guide as a pattern and started cutting. It is amazing, I have owned my BadAxe saw for almost a year and these are the first dovetails they have cut.

I thought these looked a lot better in person than they do in this picture
I thought these looked a lot better in person than they do in this picture
Waste sawed out.
Waste removed.

At this point there was just enough time for a shower before Game of Thrones started so chopping the waste (and testing out my “new” dovetail chisel) will wait until one day after work.


The Next Project – Arts & Carfts style saw till

Now that the Dino’s are done I can start my next project, a saw till. It incorporates some elements of the tool box design I built (designed by Michael Pekovich) but I could not work out a door design I liked. Then I was reading my copy of Classic Arts and Craft Furniture by Robert W. Lang and noticed the Harvey Ellis bookcase has a door which was around the correct size and low and behold it worked out pretty great.

Saw Till

The plan is to use some dimensional pine lumber from the hardware store for the main sides and some quartersawn Douglas Fir (apparently quartersawn softwood is called SVG) for the door and back.