“…If you liked it you should have a put a lid on it…”

The puns and pop-culture references aren’t getting any better are they? It’s been a busy couple of weeks here, and consequently workshop time has been a little scarce. We spent a week’s holiday in Scotland for our first wedding anniversary, recharging after a very busy year, and sampling some of the Border Counties excellent independent breweries. Well, I did. The Good Doctor has many admirable qualities but a love of fine beer is not one of them. Now it’s back to the grindstone, but I’m managing to get some quality workshop time once again, and I’m making good progress in building the lid for the Anarchist’s Tool Chest.

The lid is frame and panel, with a morticed frame and a grooved panel, the bottom of lip of which fits into a groove ploughed in the frame. The advantage of this construction is that the panel is free to move with changes in the seasons and will not split as would be the case if the panel had been nailed or glued in place.


The mortices had been cut, and the grooves ploughed, during the course. It was therefore a matter of cutting the tenons, a task for which I had been waiting on the arrival of my new 16″ tenon saw from Bad Axe Tool Works (see my last post for a review of the saw). The rails had been left overlength, and so having cut one tenon on each rail I then seated the tenons in the stile and slid the panel into the half complete assembly. With the panel in place, it was then a case of marking off the correct length on both stiles (making sure to account for the width of the second rail), and cut the final two tenons.


The lid assembly was the glued up with Gorilla Glue and left in clamps overnight to cure.

DSC_0167With the lid glued up, I next turned my attention to the dust seal. This dovetailed seal attaches to the sides and front of the lid, and when the lid is closed, mates with the upper skirt. I’ve not cut any dovetails since the course in July, but as the dust seal only has one tail on each corner it was a simple job to cut and fit. As with the lid, the length of dust seal across the front of the lid was left over length. So once again I cut the joinery for one corner, and showed it to the lid to mark off the correct length before cutting the joinery on the remaining corner.


The dust seal went together first time with no splits or crumbling tails, so clearly I learned something during July’s five day dovetail death march! Finally, prior to gluing the dust seal to the lid, I planed a gentle chamfer into the top corners of the lid’s panel, to prevent too much damage being inflicted on the edges of the panel.



The Hungry Saw


I owe a couple of blog posts at present, mainly a second post on finishing carving the parlour guitar heel, and also on building the frame and panel lid for the Anarchist’s Tool Chest. Both of those posts will follow shortly (it has been a very busy couple of weeks, which is why I’m behind in my writing). In the meantime however, my 16″ tenon saw arrived from Bad Axe Tool Works this week, and having had an opportunity to give it a workout on the tool chest lid, I thought I should offer up a short review.

I’ve been a huge fan of Mark Harrell’s saws since my carcass and dovetail saws arrived in April. In fact, the 12″ carcass saw Mark built for me is my joint favourite tool (along with my No. 5 Clifton bench plane), and the dovetail saw is no slouch either. And although I had no doubts that the 16″ tenon saw would be finished to Mark’s usual impeccable standards, I was interested to see how it would compare to the other saws he’s built me.

Straight out the box the 16″ tenon saw is a beautiful, and impressive, tool. The walnut tote fits my hand perfectly, and the consistency of totes across all three saws is staggering. The saw plate is dead nuts straight, and polished to a mirror shine which means that you can check how straight your cut is simply by checking the reflection of the work as you cut.

And cutting. This saw is aggressive yet precise. When cutting the tenons for the tool chest lid, the saw slid through 3″ southern yellow pine like the timber simply wasn’t there. No effort, maximum return. Using a bigger saw obviously requires some ergonomic changes, as a longer saw plate requires bigger arm motions. Once I had adjusted my posture to allow for longer strokes, the saw tracked the line like it was on rails and stopping bang on the baseline. I had Mark file the saw with his custom “hybrid” filing and this meant that I could cut not only the cheeks of the tenons but also the shoulders, and the saw behaves exactly like a dedicated rip cut and a dedicated cross cut saw would. Absolutely perfect.

This is a saw that I can see getting a lot of use in my shop, on all jobs where the 12″ carcass saw is just too dainty – from cutting scarf joints on guitar necks, tenons, and a variety of other uses. The 16″ tenon saw is, frankly, a winner.