Art of the Hands

Time to Tinker

Tag: chest

Wood work

Lately, i have been missing my woodworking shop. luckily for me, about a week ago we were clearing some bushes called Russian olive trees. it is an obnoxious tree with thorns about an inch long and extremely painful. We were removing one of these trees and I asked my boss if I could have the base of the tree where it is the thickest and spikeless. I have had this in my bedroom waiting for about 3 weeks taunting me to do something with it and I finally decided what I was going to do. Thanks to all these blogging posts I have accumulated a large collection of assorted drill bits with nowhere good to keep them. I, therefore, decided that I would carve myself a catch-all drill bit chest.

I started this project by cutting off a smaller branch of wood from the main stump so I would have a manageable piece to work with. next, I recut the ends so they would be mostly parallel. then I cut the branch in half so that I could start carving

Once I had 2 halves, I used a chisel to carve out a cavity for the drill bits to be put in. this took a long time and there are a few things I would recommend if you wanted to try this on your own.

  1. First, USE GLOVES. Seriously! I have been doing woodworking for a long time and I now have two new scars to add to my collection on my hands. the problem is that to carve wood like this takes a lot of force and that means that when the chisel does something that you don’t expect, it does it very quickly and with a lot of force. if you aren’t wearing gloves then I would not be surprised if a chisel could go into your hand enough to need stitches, but if you are wearing gloves then you should be fine. both of the new scars I got were because I was being dumb and was not wearing gloves. I got lucky but it is better to not take the risk.
  2. take small shavings. I know that it can be tempting to try to take a huge chunk of wood out in one pass with your chisel but this is a bad idea, for two main reasons. one reason is that it is easier to get yourself hurt like I talked about earlier, and second is it is very annoying to work around. you end up trying to clean up around the huge canyon that you have just carved in the middle of your workpiece and that is not only time consuming but also frustrating. take it from me, don’t get greedy and only cut small shavings at a time.

one thing that I should note is that this is going to take a while to do so make sure that you are prepared to spend multiple days on this project. This is something I should have done better because about the time that I finished half of the carving, I.E. I finished carving one of the halves of the toolbox, I got impatient and decided that I was done with this project, at least for the time being. I can carve the second half later but for now, I had already spent several Saturdays working on this and so I was ready to move on to another project.

to finish this toolbox I bought a hinge so the 2 halves can swing open like a proper toolbox. I also removed the bark because it was getting a bit torn with all the work I had spent on this piece already. I was a little bummed about this because I was hoping to leave the bark on so the final piece would have a woodsy/rustic feel, but sometimes the plan has to change.

In all, I am a little disappointed with how this turned out. Its probably just because I am used to working with power tools, not hand tools, and power tools can get a much cleaner finish with much smoother edges, but sometimes you make do. I will probably be adding feet at the end but for now, this is the final product.

I hope this blog was helpful to you in some way. one of the things that a lot of college students, like me, have to deal with regularly is the lack of prime materials or tools. however, if you have enough time and a small assortment of cheap hand tools you can still make everything that you want to without the need to buy an expensive power tool. Feel free to try this yourself! All you need is a piece of wood big enough and a little creativity and the world is yours. Thanks for joining me and Happy Tinkering!

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