Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Mastermyr Chest - first hand tool project

I was perusing the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Wooden Boat magazine when I came across an article about an old Viking tool chest, discovered in 1936 by a farmer on the island of Gotland, off the coast of Sweden.

As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be my first hand tool project.  It was perfect - simple, easy joinery, relatively small in size, and would have a practical use.  Here's a picture of the original:

And here's a well-executed reproduction, by Don Weber of Paint Lick, Kentucky.  He is also the author of the article in Wooden Boat magazine.

I began my project by purchasing some quarter-sawn white oak, and proceeded to build the chest, using only hand tools.  First I cut, flattened and jointed the end pieces, and cut the dadoes, doing the rough work with a mortise chisel and finishing with the router plane.  The ends are 10" across at the bottom, and 9" at the top.  My boards were not quite wide enough, so I had to laminate small strips at either side of the bottom to make it wide enough.  Not really noticeable.

Using the LV BU Jack to joint the end grain.  Man, that thing works great!

I used a brace and 3/4" Irwin bit to bore out the mortise, then cleaned it up with a chisel.

Here's one of the finished ends.

Then I used some 8/4 stock to glue up the lid.  I wanted to use a single plank, but none were available 10" wide, so I glued up some 5 1/2" planks.  Rather than just glue them together and have the seam in the middle, I elected to rip one plank in half, joint the edges, and glued one on either side of a 5 1/2" plank.  Here's a ripping action shot.

Followed by jointing the edges for glue-up.

And then the glue-up itself.

Here's the laminated boards, and the finished end pieces.  Next job is hand-milling the lid to shape, which is going to be a pretty massive job.  Then on to the sides and bottom.

Further details in these two posts:

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