Autumn Leaves

What’s inside?

The top came off of my toolbox this week. There was much speculation as to whether there would be a living/dead cat inside that would collapse to one or other state when the lid came off. If the cat wasn’t dead after the long, painstaking process of cutting around the box with a tenon saw, it would certainly have felt quite sick after being rotated through 360 degrees in the vice. I followed the line OK, and didn’t do too much damage. It did remind me of an Dracula film when I opened it to find only sawdust inside, isn’t counting sawdust supposed to be a way to keep vampires occupied?

We got a taste of the joiner’s sense of humour when one of the previous students was searching for his glasses after sealing the box shut. Ian the tutor rather tardily told him that the last place he saw them was inside the box before it was sealed. Sure enough, a day or so later, after waiting for the glue to dry followed by some challenging sawing, there they were.

The paper test

The next stage is to plane off the saw marks and get the top and bottom to meet along a straight line. A useful way to work out where to plane is to apply ‘the paper test’, which involves running a piece of paper round the gap between the top and bottom to find where it sticks, mark it with a pencil, and plane it out. When the paper doesn’t fit anywhere around the gap any more it’s time for ‘the chalk test’ in which chalk applied to the lid should leave an even imprint all the way round the base.

Ascending and Descending; well actually just descending

Unfortunately, my lid found it all a bit of a relief when it was separated from the base and decided to adopt a whole new shape, so this proved to be a bit of a challenge. I found that the application of the paper test was a bit like the descending part of the lithograph ‘Ascending and Descending’ by M. C. Escher; after a few hours of planing and paper testing there was a serious risk of there being no box left, so I dispensed with the chalk test and decided to move on. I hope Ian’s not reading this.

Broken leaf on the moving part (otherwise known as the lid)

The next stage after getting the top and bottom to match is to attach them together again with a couple of hinges. Do you know the anatomy of the hinge? I certainly didn’t. A hinge consists of 2 leaves and a knuckle. The leaf that is not fixed to the outside ends of the knuckle is called the broken leaf, and should be attached to the moving part of the assembly. Check your doors; mine seem to be OK. I put my hinges on, as instructed with one screw in each leaf first of all, and following tutor Tim’s advice to ‘be my own Quality Assurance’, decided that the top and bottom lined up OK and put all the screws in. Unfortunately, it seems that my internal QA is rather inferior to that of tutor Jon’s, so all the screws have come out again and more tweaking with the chisel is required to make it line up properly. That’s my first job for tomorrow.

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