Hand Tools Archive

Latest handtool project *PIC*

Jim Matthews
With some notable exceptions, all lumber dimensioned and joined by hand.

All lumber pulled from my "someday" stash that was acquired from local duffers moving out of the area. Heavily figured wood was preferentially selected (as an exercise in hubris).

Top and bottom QS White Oak resawn to make 50" x 14" panels.
This was done by hand out of necessity. This tree was harvested locally, Quarter sawn at a neighborhood mill and air dried 4 years.

Side panels of figured Maple dimensioned in the same manner.

The lower "shelf" was Red Birch ripped to 5" width and then resawn with a vintage Craftsman bandsaw I refit with a new motor. This method was *much* easier and yielded better results (not least due to the forgiving nature of the stock - and this was my last board).

5 inches is the max clearance of my little saw.

All dividers made from badly cupped figured Maple (not the same stock as the side panels)
fitted into place and fixed with screws - only glue used is at the plywood back.

Base from single board of Figured maple rejected by cabinet shop for inclusions.
(My first attempt at continuous grain miters.) This is open to the back enclosing a baseboard heating element.

Top cubby dividers from some lovely QS Bur Oak out of "The Stash".

Fixed to framing studs with French cleats and 3" screws from Mcfeely's.

Shellac and wax finish.


The ideal tool for dealing with the vagaries of heavy figured lumber proved to be an ancient "floor scraper" with blade prepped on a deburring wheel, with a burnished hook.

The mechanical advantage of the scraper made subtle adjustments to get fine shavings easy. No amount of tuning any of my handplanes came close.

The Oak, in particular, suffered tear out at any angle with planes.


I don't achieve a shimmering finish this way, and sanding is necessary.

Given shellac as the finish, sanding is required in any case.


Traditional joinery was not a viable option, given the thin panels. Uneven, nominally 1/2 " thick was my max yield on the side panels. This illustrates the distinct advantage of a bandsaw when working with material so thin.

Small deviations from resawing by hand made adjustments in thickness necessary.

The resulting battens were squared and fastened with screws.

Battens were glued only to the plywood back.

The final assembly is 50x30x14 inches and was light enough to carry upstairs.

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