The Case for Screws

With the butterfly keys safely keeping the panels in tact for the next hundred years or so, I moved on to putting the case together. Before we get into the details, I want to go through my case joinery thoughts. I liked the simplicity of the cut nails used in my previous version of the toy chest but I didn’t want the look of the nails. Brian and I talked about the construction methods on our way to get wood back in December. Later that night, our conversation made me pick up my Campaign Furniture book and read the section on the Strong Trunk. The brass, although cool, was of no interest to me in this design. My plan was to cut rabbets and then fill the screw holes with face grain plugs.

Now onto the building. I first turned my attention to the shape of the recess on the front board. My Pinterest page was full of ideas for how to incorporate a recess for little fingers and still adhere to good design principles. I sketched a few ideas on the actual front with the case dry fit. Several french curves later, I went to the bandsaw at the NCCW shop. Later that week I was back at home and busted out the spoke shave and a flexible sanding block to smooth the recess. By the way, my flexible sanding block is just a piece of 1/8″ craft board from Michaels with handles glued on and adhesive backed 120 grit paper. Easy-peasy.

With all the pieces sanded, the insides shellac, I moved on to the glue and clamps.

Post glue up and screw up (with no screw ups)

Post glue up and screw up (with no screw ups)

After trimming the plugs and sanding everything to 150, I leaned a portion of the moulding against the case. Then I grabbed the rough top panel to get an idea of scale. I wasn’t sure the moulding was too tall so I slept on it.

That'll work

That’ll work

The final step for the case was attaching the moulding. When I did the sitting bench I only went around three side with the moulding. I wanted to up my game and challenge my miter fear; I went for a four-sided miter. I had lots of trouble but I snuck up on the cuts and everything turn out work; at least nothing a little Timbermate couldn’t solve.

Ready to top it off

Ready to top it off

In the end there were a few things I’d do differently. I’m providing this list mostly for myself, if I ever build this in future, but I hope you’ll find it beneficial.

  • I’d make the rabbets shallower because I didn’t give enough clearance for counterbores needed for the wood plugs. This required much more skill with the drill than I’d planned.
  • The circles from the counterbores didn’t dissolve seamlessly even after many coats of paint. I’m not sure of the reason other than maybe there was a small discrepancy between my plug cutter and my counterbore.
  • Mitering the moulding was a challenge using the chop saw at our community shop. Next time I think I’ll use the Festool TS55 in combination with the MFT. Or maybe I’ll get that mitre saw I picked up on craig’s list tuned up.

Next up is the top. If you have any idea on how I could’ve done this differently, I’m all ears.

About Shawn Nichols

Heady. Phishy. Woodworker
This entry was posted in Kids Furniture, Toy Chest and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Case for Screws

  1. I love the idea of a recess. I’ve been thinking about building a toy chest for some time but the potential for pinched fingers has always held me up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jim. I really liked the way the recess turned out. You can see the final product on my IG feed if you’re interested. I took inspiration from this Land of Nod toy chest, which was my top choice from an aesthetics standpoint.

      My “client” didn’t want anything with an open base though so I settled on this case structure.

      Liked by 2 people

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