the work is slow, but the weather improves…

When you return from vacation there is always that fleeting window of time when you realize that “real life” seems to go along at an unhealthy pace sometimes; a tide churning against the rocks of commitments and constraint. That window of enlightenment always seems to draw to a close too abruptly, like jumping into an ice cold river, but it’s a good reminder that some things are truly important and the rest is generally adiaphorous.

The trick is trying to keep the important things afloat.

For me this always means family first, and then work, but there is solace to be found in sawdust so on Sunday night, after a long weekend of unexpected challenges and long after the kids had gone to bed I burned a little midnight oil working on the trays for the (Baby) Anarchist’s Tool Chest.

Or maybe it was 1 o’clock in the morning oil?

I can always feel the point in my body and soul where stress is starting to become unhealthy and woodworking is a good way for me to bring that back into equilibrium. Before vacation, I had left the tray bottoms completed and the parts for the trays in stacks roughly cut to length. That meant I came home to some re-sawing and shooting to get everything ready. Enter the D16

I know what you’re saying. “Hey, I see a thumb hole. Isn’t that a D-8?” 

For anyone keeping score, it’s a (pretty rare) D-16 with a reproduction D-8 handle, and it is because of that handle that this is my go-to blade for re-sawing. That thumb hole makes all sorts of alternative grips more comfortable including my favorite overhand reciprocating grip when I get close to the end of the cut. The saw was rehabbed, sharpened and re-handled by a local cabinetmaker/ tool rescuer and aficionado by the name of Chris Black. If you’re local to East-Central North Carolina, you need to meet Chris. You also need to take a wad of cash because you won’t want to leave without something he has made or put back into service.

Anyway, after re-sawing all of that I planed it down to ~1/2″ thickness with my fore plane and sat it aside and went to bed before I considered my next move.

Rabbets or dovetails?

The plans say rabbets like the carcase. My heart said dovetails. My heart won.

I gang-cut the tails and tried to keep relatively tight pins so that when I cleaned it up it would look like this:

And that’s one down with one to go. The end is in sight. I have one more tray to finish, hardware to fit and milk paint to apply, but this thing is in the home stretch now and I couldn’t be more pleased.

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