After the miter keys had dried, I used a Japanese flush-cut saw to bring them to level with the sides of the box. I never realized how much I missed having a solid workbench to work off of as when I was trying to cut these keys with that saw. I can't wait to have everything back in order so I can start working on my new bench.
When the keys were all trimmed, my next step was to cut the lid free from the base of the box. I did this with the table saw and a small amount of painter's tape. First I cut the long edges, making sure the blade was raised higher than the thickness of the box. I used painter's tape on the cut line to minimize tear out. After the long edges are cut, I use shims to wedge the lid open and then tape up the sides around the shims. This prevents the edge from binding when I make the cuts to free the ends. At this point, I'll admit, the box does look something like a large turtle...
But after the tape and the shims were removed, I was left with a box that had a not-so-bad looking cut line. Of course, I still needed to use a block plane to clean up some of the saw marks, but that, followed by a little bit of sanding with the ROS 125, left a very clean cut line with just the right spacing between miter keys.
Over the years, I've tried a few other methods of cutting the lid free from the bottom, but this seems to work the best and leaves me with the least amount of clean-up work to do.
I was going to end the evening cutting the hinges and trying to mortise the lock, but, as previously mentioned, I got somewhat distracted with making a jig. Here is the culprit. It is simple in concept - a piece of MDF with a notch cut in it that exactly fits the part of the hinge I want to inlay and then two more smaller pieces of MDF acting as stops. The notch starts at 3 1/2" from the end, which is an appropriate distance for this size box. I wasn't quite as precise as I wanted to be with the opening, so I tightened it up with blue painter's tape. Then I ran packing tape across both faces of the board to make sure the router didn't get caught on anything as I was routing out the hinges. Next, I glued and screwed a small piece of MDF to the end of the face for the side of the box to reference. Finally, I glued and screwed another small piece to the edges of both boards for the front/back of the box to reference.
Now I had a jig to cut all four hinge mortises and was able to do so in just a matter of 20 minutes or so (including cleaning up the cuts with a sharp chisel). Because the jig is referencing the side and front of the box, and not a measurement from the center, I can use this on other boxes with similar dimensions. If I wanted to place the hinge closer to the edge of the box, I could always place spacers between the box and the side of the jig, but I'll probably end up making a jig for smaller boxes. I marked the brand and model number of hinge this jig uses so I'll know which jig to use with which hinge if I do get around to making more.
I ran out of time at this point and didn't have time to work on the lock. But, as luck would have it, I didn't have the right tools for that job yet, anyway...