Once the rabbets were cut, the next step was to assemble on the case. The wood had other ideas. I noticed the some additional checking in the middle a panel. Combining this with the bow I mentioned earlier, and the repair I’d already made to another panel, I really questioned this batch of poplar. Maybe I didn’t let it acclimate enough? Regardless of what happened, a voice in my head kept whispering the story from Schwarz’s ATC about “if he had to ask the question…” I knew I couldn’t just leave it.
[Incidentally, when the thought ran through my head this post didn’t exist but it does now and it hit home when I read it. This story affirms how my journey has crossed over from rank amateur into something much better.]
So, onto the fix. I’ve always liked the look of the butterfly key (a.k.a fancy dutchman) and thought it would be a nice touch to anyone opening the chest in the future. I’ve cut them a few different ways (by hand and by jig). Knowing my time crunch, I thought I’d use the jig to cut out the mortises and the finesse the butterflies in by hand.
This method proved difficult. I rough cut the keys with the community shop’s bandsaw because it’s more convenient to just use up a small scrap of walnut; however, that same scrap is difficult to work on with a bulky jig attached. I ended up tossing a few of the keys and using one I had lying around from a previous build. The scale was a little off but it works.
This was good practice for the upcoming dining table build where I plan to use the butterfly keys again. If you haven’t tried this technique, I encourage you to give it a shot but make sure to start with the keys as it makes everything else easier. Finally, I sanded up the panels and hit them with a coat of amber shellac.
The next step is assembling the case.