A New Project - "The Ultimate Blanket Chest"

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   I apologize for the arrogance of calling this the "ultimate" blanket chest. It is only "ultimate" from my limited scope.
   What I want to do in the next few weeks here, is to make a blanket chest that has some features that are made possible by tools and jigs that I have here in my shop. They are not new to you. Primarily, I want to use the Incra Ultra Jig to do the corners of the chest using the template for the "corner post double double dovetail". The picture is from Incra's website.
   Now it is one thing to do this complex joint on a small box, but is it possible to do this corner on a box that is 44" X 24" X 22"?  That is a real question that I do not know the answer — but will find out in the next weeks.

   Last year I made two blanket chests using other dovetail jigs. I used the KatieJig, which for wide dovetails was really two jigs attached end-to-end — an expensive jig that worked well.

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    The other chest was made using the Stots Template Master. The jig cost about $4.00 to make and it worked well also.
   But neither of these jigs will do the cornerpost dovetail.

     I reprint this picture of Bethany to show how the Incra jig handles boards. You can see that for small pieces, clamping to the vertical fixture works fine. The question is, "can I clamp a 22" wide board on this fixture." The answer is an easy one: "No way!"
   But here is my thought and possible solution: I will make the boards 6" wide and do all the fancy dovetails first. Then, I will joint them together. Will it work? At the time of this writing, I don't know. I could fool you and do the whole project and then report if it worked, and not tell you if it didn't. Nah! Let's just do it.

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   I think I mentioned a few weeks back that I had been introduced to a person who is importing exotic woods from Brazil. In exchange for doing some web site work for this person, I was fortunate to get a piece of Inge — Brazil's version of mahogany.
   This one board was 12" X 3" X 8' and heavy — about 92 pounds.

    It might be nice to resaw this board as it is, but my bandsaw can only handle  a 6" width — plus it is too heavy. I plan to cut the piece in half since 48" will be sufficient for the length of the sides plus a few inches for checking, snipe and other end deformities.

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     I use my 7 1/4" circular saw to cut the mid-point. I am using the speed square to guide the saw. I am only able to cut half way through it on one pass. I turn the plank over, to cut all the way through.

      Now I move to the table saw to rip the two lengths in half.

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       You can see that I can only saw about 2 1/2". I will saw one side and then flip the board over and complete the cut.
   I was pleasantly surprised that the CMT Thin Kerf Rip blade handled all of these cuts without bogging down.

   Well, my 92 lb. hunk is more manageable and ready for re-sawing.

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       Do I look serious or what? Fact is, I am not set up to resaw boards as well as I should be. I am using the bandsaw's fence which is  too low to really handle these boards. I have set the magnetic feather boards in place to keep the board against the fence.
   I also have a good resaw blade installed. My part is to just feed the board slowly and keep the piece against the fence.
   This photo doesn't show it, but I used a face mask after this first slice — there is a lot of fine dust in the air.

   I was quite please with the results of the first board. I want to end up with 3/4" boards, but have resawn to about 7/8" — I will need the difference for cleaning the saw marks.

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         And here are all the boards resawn. I have marked each board so that I can keep them in order. I do not have plans to book match, but keeping them in order is a good practice.
   Now for some thicknessing to the final dimensions.

      Well, this was not the week for the dust collector to quit. I have a feeling it knew what I was about to do — thickness all these boards down to 3/4". But the motor's bearings did seize up, so I had to make do using the shop vac.

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   The shop vacuum is a poor substitute for the dust collector. To make it through the task, I had to clean the filter about every fourth board.
   [Update: see note on next page.]

   Trusty friend, Samantha, wanted to be nearby the entire time even though it was noisy and dusty — there is no greater loyalty than this.

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   I did manage to get all the boards from their 7/8" re-sawn width to a perfect 3/4" using 30, 80, 120 and, finally, 150 grit paper on the thickness sander.
   Any number of times, I had reason to reflect on how nice it is to get ready to use lumber from places like Constantine's and Wall Lumber.
   By the way, if you are wondering why I didn't use the planer first, it is missing a part, otherwise it would have been the perfect way to get the boards to near finished thickness — and then use the thickness sander. Next time!

   But, the final results make it all worthwhile. The wood milled very well and, except for a few damaged areas, it will make a great blanket chest — if I can use the Incra Jig the way I think I can.
   Guess what is in the bag on the floor.  [sawdust]

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   I want to identify wood that can make up the ends and the sides. I will mark those and use some of the "waste" to practice the corner post double double dovetail.
   Next week, I should know whether I will be able to do that special Incra corner on this large chest. Come back then.

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