Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Rusling Box, Part Six...

I spent several hours yesterday evening working on the box, but by the time I was done it was terribly late, so I didn't get a chance to write about it. It included a bit of frustration, anyway, so maybe it was better I didn't make a blog entry at that time.

With the hinges in, my next task was to mortise the lock. This was the first time I've mortised a lock, so I wanted it to be as simple a task as possible. To this end, I decided to pick up a new lock with an easier mortise. It cost a little more, but it also made me feel more comfortable and, at this point, that was more important for me. I'll still use the other lock, only I'll probably use it when I'm building a box without a deadline and I can take my time.

At some point, I'll figure out a good way to mortise the lock (probably taking care of this before I glue the box up would make it easier). For now, I have this Frankenstein's Monster-like setup. It had been so long since I'd set up my plunge router I was afraid I'd forgotten how! But it all came back to me quite quickly and I set the stops easily enough. In this picture, you can see one of my stops is the test piece I used to make sure my setup was good.

After I made the mortise for the hinge, I did the mortise for the selvdge, as well. Really, it was just a matter of going to a larger bit (5/16") and moving my stop blocks out a little. When I was done, I had a very well-fit full mortise lock for my box.

The next step was to cut the key hole for the lock. At first, I wanted to inlay a bog oak escutcheon into the front of the box, but after thinking about the time crunch, I decided to go with the included brass escutcheon. I measured once, twice, and three times before I drilled the first hole. Then I worked at the hole with small files to create the key shape. And after I got about this far in the process, I held the lock up to front of the box and just about spit nails! The hole I'd drilled was way too low! Not only that, but there was no way to cover the hole with the escutcheon.

So as late as it was, and as frustrated as I was, I decided to try and fix it before I went to bed. Turns out I got to try my idea of inlaying a bog oak escutcheon after all! I won't go into all of the inlay details as it was similar to the rectangle in the lid of the box. Here is the end result, before I cut the key hole. I think it looks rather smart and, seeing the end result, I'm glad I needed to do it.

(Editor's Note: Again with the pixilation issues! My camera doesn't like the grain in the white oak at certain angles, I guess.)

At this point, I decided to call it a night.

This evening, I picked up right where I'd left off. To start the key hole and drill the screw holes for the lock, I pulled out my Goodell-Pratt eggbeater drill and chucked in an appropriately-sized drill bit. This time I measured about seven times before I started my first hole. After filing and test fittings over and over, I had a bog oak escutcheon in the front of my box.

In order to easily place the lock catch in the right position, I fixed it into the lock, put the lock into the mortise, placed a piece of double-sided tape in the general position on the lid, and closed it tightly. When I opened the lid, the catch was stuck to it in the proper position. I used my Blue Spruce marking knife to mark its position and then chiseled out a shallow mortise.

I finished up the night by applying a coat of shellac to the inside of the box.

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