A little while back, there was a post or /r/woodworking/ detailing the build of a table that had fake breadboard ends. I commented “don’t bother with breadboard ends if you aren’t going to do them correctly. Done wrong they hurt rather than help the table deal with humidity.” Last week, another user who saw the comment asked the obvious question. “If you don’t have the tools or skills to make proper breadboards, how do you keep your table flat?”
Last week, I wrote an article about seasonal wood movement. It was full of interesting things, including pictures of several articles around my house that have moved around and changed shape. Some of them were falling apart, while others withstood the test of time.
Why? Well, wood moves in mysterious ways. Luckily, we can predict enough about wood movement to either deal with it or use its movement to our advantage. (Though mostly just dealing with it.)
I am pretty active on /r/woodworking, and at least once a week someone comes along and posts pictures of their first project. I always open these posts with a little bit of trepidation. On one hand, these people are super excited to share their first project and some are really cool. On the other hand a large number of them have cross grain glue ups or fail to account for wood movement in some other way. When this happens I cry a little on the inside,
Recently on the Wood Talk podcast, there was a discussion trying to define the term “fine furniture”. I found this discussion extremely frustrating, because at no point did anyone think to ask if we should even care.
At this point in the build, the wood working is pretty much done. I still needed to build the lid, but the rest of the carcass was ready for finishing. I used almost no sand paper on this project before finishing. A smoothing plane and a card scraper make an amazing pair. I smoothed most pieces after they were rough cut and spot scraped before painting. I ended up scraping the entire back, because the result was so pretty and smooth. For finishing this chest I used yellow milk paint, clear shellac, and wax.
Most of the time people choose not to finish the insides of tool chests. I mostly agree with this. The one exception I make is that I think the inside should be shellacked. The reason is simple. If you touch the nice clean wood in your chest with your dirty hands, you will likely have a dirty spot on the inside of your chest forever.