- [Marc] The Wood Whisperer is sponsored by Powermatic
So today we're gonna build this blanket chest
slash storage bench slash entryway bench.
So my brother-in-law and sister-in-law
needed a place where they could store some shoes,
blankets, and basically stuff near the entryway.
But also something they could comfortably sit on
and put shoes or boots on before you go outside.
So this fit the bill nicely.
It's not like a traditional settee.
There's no arms or a back on it
but it is definitely something you could sit on.
Open up the lid, we've got some torsion hinges on there
that resist the falling but also
allow the top to stay open
without any additional hardware which is kind of nice.
I've got some cleats on here,
just to strength the top.
Especially 'cause I am encouraging people
to sit on this thing.
Plenty of storage space inside.
And obviously a very Asian influenced,
Greene and Greene influenced design here.
A lot of the structure with the rails and styles
was inspired by the Blacker House.
They have doors at the Blacker House
and by the way that's a Greene and Greene bungalow,
southern California, look it up.
But the tapered styles here was something that
I was really inspired by when I saw,
I believe it's an entryway door at that house.
So I just combined that with my love of some
curved legs and things like that.
Curves on the bottom here
to do something that's very Greene and Greene influenced
all the way down to the dark red finish.
And the ebony plugs.
All right, let's get to it.
Let's get started with the legs.
The final dimension will be two inches square
so in order to avoid any glute lines,
we'll utilize ten quarter stock.
I'll rough cut the legs at the bandsaw.
And there's no reason for that guard to be up that high.
I likes my fingers, and I plan on keeping 'em.
Each leg is squared up at the jointer
and then planed to final size.
I actually cut a couple of extra
just in case things go wonky.
Each leg is then cut to length
using the sled at the table saw.
Once you have all four legs cut out,
you have to start thinking about arrangement.
Which ones are going in the front,
which ones in the back.
If you have any flaws in the boards
of course put those in the back.
They're not gonna be seen as much.
But we do need to cut into each face,
and that curve cut sometimes does funny things
with the grain.
So what you wanna do is arrange the boards
with the end grain making some sort of sense.
You want some symmetry there
because that way it'll help ensure equivalent looking faces
on the outside.
So let me show you some of the details here.
Now I've drawn here to show you where the
grain is actually going just in case you can't see it.
And this is what I'm talking about with symmetry.
These two pieces, they kind of look symmetrical,
mirror image of one another, that's good.
But up here, things are all kinds of wacky.
So it's a real good idea to start moving the pieces around
to get them to look like mirror images.
Now that's pretty good
because this one is now a mirror image
of the one below it.
This guy needs some work.
Maybe flip that over this way.
And now we actually have sort
of this four way symmetrical design.
And I think that'll give us a better face on the outside.
Using a piece of half inch NBF,
I'll make a template for the leg curve.
Once rough cut, I'll do the final smoothing
with a flexible sanding strip.
Now I can use the template to draw a consistent curve
on each leg.
The first cut is pretty simple.
But the second cut requires us to tape the off cut
back onto the leg so that we can see the curve line
and make that second cut.
And there's our curvy leg.
Now I didn't originally plan on using this template
as a routing template but last minute,
I thought it would be nice to have more consistency here.
So I stick the template to the legs using the CA glue
blue tape trick.
While I'm comfortable performing this routing operation,
there's no doubt that it would be much easier and safer
if the template were longer than the work piece
and better yet if the template where itself a sled
with toggle clamps.
By the way, I'm glad I had a couple extra legs,
because I noticed one of them has a really nice crack
in the center.
And I don't feel like dealing with that.
Bad, bad leg.
It's not really safe to start routing right at the corner
of a workpiece, so each one of these needs a little bit
of a clean up right at the edge.
I mean really, any excuse to use this cute little plane.
Now let's cut the rails.
One of my favorite Greene and Greene details
is the classic cloud lift.
It's a really cool way to dress up a rail.
You can pretty mush shape these anyway you like.
But I prefer a nice, simple S curve.
Once cleaned up, I can use this template everywhere
that the project calls for a cloud lift.
I really want the lower level of the cloud lift
to be clean, straight, and consistent from piece to piece.
So I carefully clean them up at the table saw
making stopped cuts.
I can finesse the rest of the cloud life so
that it blends in nicely.
The bottom of the rails receives a nice symmetrical curve.
So we'll draw those on and cut 'em out.
To make a groove for the panels,
I'll utilize the slot cutting bit.
I like this solution
because the bearing follows the cloud lifts perfectly.
An alternative would have been to maybe use the table saw
to cut this groove first and then cut the shape.
But that usually involves having a much deeper groove
than we really need.
Now we can cut the various styles.
Each style gets a little tongue at the end
that fits into the groove that we just cut.
Just a little test fit before going too far.
Now the wide center styles receive a taper on each side
which we'll cut at the bandsaw
and then smoothe with a hand plane.
Since the styles have straight edges,
I can use the table saw to cut those panel grooves.
And when the styles are inserted,
the groove should line up perfectly.
Next up, the mortise and tenon joinery.
I mark the mortise locations on the rails
and the legs using a straight edge and a stop.
I'll then do a dry assembly
making sure everything fits.
The legs need a stopped groove for the panels,
so while the unit is assembled,
I'll mark the locations of the grooves on the legs.
I'll set my router for a three eighths inch cutting depth
and then plow the grooves.
Now we can put this thing together again
to measure for the panels.
The panels will be resawn from thicker stock
down to a quarter inch thick.
My goal here is not to have any glue ups for these panels
so we're making some pretty substantial cuts.
At the planer, we'll bring the panels down
to a final quarter inch and test the fit.
The panels are then cut to size
and squared up at the table saw.
Some of the panels require cut outs
to match the shape of the rail.
We get that shape by using the rail itself
and then cutting away the stuff that we don't need.
Let's test fit a side assembly with the panels.
It's looking pretty decent.
And after making a little taper cut on the front panels
to match the tapered styles
we can test fit the front as well.
Everything is sanded thoroughly.
And a small round over is added to all the exposed edges.
Anything the router can't reach is done by hand.
Now for some ebony plugged mortises.
This is really a hallmark of the Greene and Greene style
and the piece just felt a little bit naked without them.
So I had to include a few.
Using Darrell Peart's square punches and a drill
I can create the mortises pretty quickly
and then clean things up with a chisel.
We'll make the actual ebony plugs later.
The box features a drop-in plywood bottom
so we'll need some cleats to support that.
I'll cut that stock with some mitres on the ends.
And the cleats are then glued
and nailed to the inside of the bottom rails.
Now I can carefully measure for the bottom panel
and cut it to size.
I also notched the corners to make room for the legs.
To make life a little easier,
we're gonna finish this piece before assembly.
This offers a few advantages.
First, it's much easier to apply finish to separate parts
as there are no annoying corners
where the finish likes to pool up.
Second, we can use a buffer on all the surfaces
without worrying about bumping into adjacent surfaces.
Third, if we have any squeeze out during the glue up,
it's pretty easy to clean that up since the glue's
less likely to absorb into finished wood.
And fourth, should the panel shrink in the future,
it won't expose the unfinished areas and create an eyesore.
The finish I'm using here is Rubio in a mahogany color.
Because the project has so many mortise and tenon joints,
I'll insert the tenons with glue into all of the rails
and let that dry first.
This reduces the number of surfaces that require glue
during that final glue up by about 50%.
Even with the tenons pre-glued,
I still need some additional working time,
so I'm gonna use liquid hide glue.
This should give me a solid 15 minutes to work.
We'll start by gluing up the two sides.
The finish rags help prevent dents in the wood
or marring of the new finish.
The front panel assembly is a little bit nerve wracking
to say the least.
But with everything laid out ahead of time,
it's not too bad getting it in place
and lining everything up.
All of the styles are glued into place
but the panels are left floating.
Now the front can be joined to the sides.
The bottom goes in next.
And then the back assembly.
Finally, the other side is attached.
We'll drop some weight into the bottom panel
and that should help apply pressure while the glue dries.
Now we can make those ebony plugs.
It starts with an ebony turning blank
that I cut into quarter inch sticks.
With the stick chucked into a drill,
I can use a series of sandpaper grits on a soft surface
to create that beautiful pillowed look.
By the way, this clever method is something
that I learned from the great William Ng
who runs an amazing school in Anaheim, California.
Ebony is so dense that it buffs to a really nice shine
on a buffing wheel.
From there, we can release the plug
from the end of the stick with a hand saw.
To make it easier to drive the plug home,
I'll use a chisel to taper the bottom slightly.
With some glue in the mortise,
the plugs can be driven home.
There are different schools of thought about ebony plugs
in terms of their shape and how much they should protrude.
If they stick out too far, they just look like warts.
So I prefer to keep mine very low profile.
The top of the chest will be made from two nice pieces
of five quarter African mahogany.
We'll build them flat and square
and then glue them together.
After the glue dries, we sand the panel smooth
and cut it to final size.
I seem to be on a big bevel kick lately,
so we'll add a nice bevel to the underside perimeter.
I'll make the cut at the table saw using a tall fence.
So it's a real good idea to wax the fence
and a table before making a cut like this.
There's likely gonna be burning, but that's no problem.
We'll clean it up later.
The front edge gets a smaller bevel
but it's cut the same way.
To help reinforce the top I'll add two solid bends.
To make them less boring, I'll had a little curve.
To attach 'em, I'll just counterbore
and then drill an elongated through hole.
This allows the screws to grip the top
while allowing for seasonal wood movement.
Now we need to apply the finish to the top.
Same stuff as before.
The top will be attached to the base using torsion hinges.
When I attach the hinges to the back rail,
I quickly realize that I didn't quite account
for the shape of the legs.
Shouldn't be too hard to take just a little bit
of material away and provide just enough clearance.
I'm sure you're cringing at me taking a block plane
to a finished piece,
but wait until you see how easy it is to fix.
Once the lid is good to go,
I finesse the back of the legs.
And then reapply a coat of finish.
And it's like it never happened.
So here it is,
the final result is way more Greene and Greene
than I expected it to be.
I really just set out to do something that was kind of
Asian themed in a way and maybe a little bit
of Greene and Greene influence.
But by the time we add the cloud lifts
then it's like let's do ebony plugs
and the next thing you know it's heavily influenced
by Greene and Greene.
And that's fine, I love Greene and Greene.
I just wasn't intending on building
a Greene and Greene piece.
But, I think one of the best features here,
any time you're building something like this with a lid,
you do have to consider safety.
And that's why I love these torsion hinges.
Number one, you don't need any kind of a stop.
Some of the traditional hardware
that we would have in place here to keep the lid open.
We also have hinges here that are resisting
this thing falling on its own,
so there will be no crushed fingers.
Jay's got two little girls and I would hate for my nieces
to end up with a crushed finger from a piece of furniture
that I built.
So really happy with the way this turned out.
I think these cleats are gonna go a long way
to support that top.
Normally I don't worry too much about cleats on a top.
I think most of the time it's pretty stable.
But we're talking about something that we're inviting people
to sit on and that weight over time I think could be
problematic so I like having those supports underneath.
And the other thing about this project
that's really interesting was we built it in five days.
We started on a Monday and finished on a Friday.
So I'm happy to say that Jay working with me in the shop,
it's turning out to be really great, very efficient.
We're able to move a lot faster
which means we'll be able to produce more content.
In this particular build,
I think there's a few decisions we made
that actually made this go faster.
We used dominoes instead of traditional mortise and tenons.
We used the slot cutting bit to do all the joinery
for the styles so that that little tongue
fits in the same thing that the panels fit into.
That simplified things.
We also used really wide boards.
And we didn't have to do many panel glue ups
to get all these panels in place.
And then finally, we used the one step finish.
It's a beautiful finish that goes on,
provides just enough protection,
but it's one coat and done.
So here we are with a finished product
in just five days, amazing.
So thank you for watching everyone.
I hope this inspires you
to build something whether it looks like this
or something different.
If it gets you out in the shop,
that's always a good thing.
Thanks for watching.
(calming instrumental music)