I am a big fan of Roy Underhill’s
“The Woodwright’s Shop”. Last fall was the 32nd season, and he’s
still wearing the same hat.
The second episode was titled “The
Eleven Grooved Box”, a project Roy uses in his woodworking
I was attracted to this project
because he uses Stanley 45 combination planes to make all eleven
I have a Stanley 45 and have been looking for an
appropriate project so I am trying to duplicate what Roy does as
closely as I can.
To make this project instructive
and well-illustrated, I divided it into eleven parts. Here are
all eleven parts:
We will start with Tools Set Up.
Finished Eleven Grooved Box. Red Oak from Home
The finished box opened up. About 6″x8″x4.5″.
Golden Oak stain and Watco natural oil.
You should watch the half hour
video to see how Roy makes the box. I am going to document how I
do it, and pass along some things I learned, and in particular,
show how I made those #$%@! spline grooves. Each corner of the
box has to have two matching grooves plowed for splines, without
these the box would be very weak. You can see these in the
corners of the lid in the photo.
Cutting those spline grooves
with an old Stanley 45 might be easy for Roy but for everyone
else it’s a pain. A millisecond of inattention and the sides of
the groove are ripped up. So like any self respecting
woodworker, I made a jig.
My grooving jig for the Eleven Grooved Box
After almost giving up on this
project, I sat down and analyzed what is happening. When plowing
the grooves, you have to hold the plane perfectly perpendicular
to the 45 degree mitered surface. The fence on the Stanley plane
rides on the reference surface. But the skate is captured in the
plowed groove! If you let the plane roll to the right, the fence
lifts off the reference surface a bit and not much happens. But
if you let the plane roll to the LEFT, the fence digs into the
reference surface and pulls the blade to the left.
The result is a horribly shredded
edge on the left side of the groove. In the video, Roy has an
Iron Arm and holds that Stanley perfectly aligned through the
whole operation. My arm is made of rubber so I knew I had to
make a jig to get the plane to behave.
V. 1.0 – My first jig attempt was a
piece of 2×6 cut off at one end at 45 degrees, with a stop block
attached. The stop block helps control tear out at the end of
the cut and makes it easier to initially align the work piece
with the plane. It did not help with the left side shredding
problem, in fact made it worse.
First attempt at a jig for cutting spline