The schoolbox locks

The closer I get to the end of a project, the fussier I get over the details. I think that’s probably pretty universal for those of use who do hand work, and for craftspeople in general. I do not mean to say that I do not take great care in each step along the way, but as you close in on the end, small details make a big difference. Such is the case with the schoolbox.

After fitting the till I went straightaway to fitting the hinges.

The hinges I chose came from Lee Valley and you can find them here. They’re nice hinges in many ways. They work well. They fit the form. They’re sturdy and they come with decent mounting hardware. On the other hand they’re finished with black paint that can chip/scrape so be forewarned.  I plan to remove them in the future, strip them down and treat them with either a baked-on oil finish or gun blue.

Oh, and by the way fitting them was a breeze compared to bending strap hinges.

After the hinges were in place and working I did final trim work with the cove moulding I had stuck previously.

Well, no, actually that picture reminds me that I had to stick a whole new piece of moulding because after I cut it on the miter saw I ended up an inch or two short. There’s a good lesson in that somewhere. If only my grandfather had taught me to measure twice and cut once a million times (he said in a sarcastic voice.)

Either way, the moulding went on well. I transferred the marks for the pilot holes from the base moulding so that the nails would line up on top and bottom and then I marked them all out with an awl before drilling.



I did have to remove and re-cut one of the side pieces because it split when nailing the miter together. I spent only a couple of seconds trying to “fix” it before realizing if I was going to do it correctly I was going to have to do it again. Making this choice seemed like it set me back for a second but I am sure I regained that time and more as I moved on.

I haven’t gone through the details of every operation and that’s mainly because they’re in the book or widely available elsewhere. I don’t care to repeat someone else’s instruction unless there’s some sort of observation I can add. I will repeat this though: because of the cross-grain problem with the side moulding, be sure to follow Chris’ instructions in the book to only glue the first few inches of the side moulding and nail the rest. Otherwise you’re entering a world of wood movement pain.


Once all of that was done and the glue had set I used a small block plane to level small inconsistencies in the glue line and I actually came back to the whole lid with my smoothing plane and scraper just to make sure I was happy with the finished surface.


With the lid on and working I set the lock. Follow the instructions in the book here and your life will be that much easier.


Young Master John wasn’t on hand to test it out, but my daughter gave it very nearly the same treatment described in the book. Locking and unlocking it at least 30 times. She also swept up the shop. Seems I’m about to have my own apprentice.

At this point young Thomas would have tapped an escutcheon on the front and called it done, but we have some more work to do.



8 Comments Add yours

  1. Greg Flora says:

    Awesome post. I’m really enjoying your commentary on the build. I felt the same way about those Lee Valley hinges. The paint is much too brittle for something that will be used continuously, but I never considered Bluing them. Now you’ve got me thinking.


    1. They’re definitely “light duty” but I didn’t want anything that felt clunky, so they check a lot of boxes. Whenever I get around to improving the finish on them I’ll certainly post an update.


  2. auswimkc says:

    Maybe I missed it previously…Where did you get the lock?


    1. Great question. It came from Lee Valley as well. I’ll be sure to include some details in tomorrow’s post.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What do you plan to put in the box?


    1. I’m not sure yet, but a home for my moulding planes is a distinct possibility.


  4. Brian Clites says:

    I love the variety offered by Lee Valley. But two recommendations:
    1) Horton Brasses.
    2) Individual blacksmiths.

    Working with Orion, John, and Peter has dramatically augmented my understanding of and appreciation of hand made hardware.


    1. I agree. Horton is amazing and Peter is practically local, but all a little more than I could muster financially this project.

      Liked by 1 person

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