Bread bin wip

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I do so enjoy a WIP from Andy. Worth it for the interesting tools alone :D

Regarding a vent - I had to replace the bottom in our (bought) breadbin, it had gone mouldy. I put a few vent holes in the back to try and avoid it happening again. I don't think you'll stop bread going stale by enclosing it; part of the process is water being locked away as water of crystalisation within the starch, not just drying out. Which is why stale bread can be, for a short time at least, resurrected by a quick zap in the microwave.

We did try a "bread crock" - a pottery drum with a tight fitting lid. Strangely, it made the bread taste vaguely of bananas :duno:

I was just about to ask what the plywood thing was next to next to the rule, but I see in an earlier picture it is an extension of a tail vice or clamp. Useful idea.
Andy, you asked for some photos of my Marples plane. I can't seem to send photos on PM's so I'll post them here,





I've just noticed the iron is marked as crucible steel, I wonder if it's laminated? I didn't think to look, I'll check tomorrow. Since a recent thread about laminated irons I've kept an eye out when I've been sharpening and I seem to have a fair few, mainly Records but also one Stanley iron that's marked made in England.


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Thanks Custard. Yours is clearly a Marples product, from the frog (with the distinctive bent loop on the lateral adjuster) the iron and the marking on the body. Mine has the same closed handle - which I have not seen on any other pictures on ebay or in catalogues - but a Stanley frog, painted gold.

I wonder if there are more than two of them?
Gosh, how time flies!

Covering the digression on late Marples planes first, I was fairly surprised to see a plane like mine or Custard's (but with the common straight handle) sell on eBay for £95.88. Then again, it was mint, and with the original box. If you are feeling sad that you missed out, don't despair - the new owner has re-listed it with some nicer photos and a buy it now price of £225, so it will probably be available for a while. :roll:

Meanwhile, back in the workshop, I made a little bit of progress in cutting the bits to the right sizes.

Here I have the two ends, in the vice and in handscrews, so I could plane a straight, square face edge


That will do:


I marked the size while the two ends were together


then set the bevel gauge to 1:8 as per the drawing and knifed out the slanting cuts


Making a dovetailed box is an example of a job where the components do need to be accurately cut to size, since the ends become reference surfaces for marking the joints. That's why I wanted a knife cut here, not a pencil line.

To cut the other side parallel to the first is a job for a small panel gauge



Cut a groove for the saw


and then saw down, cutting the whole width at one go, so it's nice and straight


For the rip cuts, the simplest way is to use my little Burgess bandsaw and then plane back to the line, so that's what I did.


For the base and top, I needed to lose some wood from both edges, as there was some sapwood to be avoided - you can see here that it even has had some worm attack


so I reached for a marking gauge to get a line to cut to, only to notice that I had somehow embarked on a common technique for applying localised colour:


So I paused for a bit, and carried on again today.

Having cut the top and bottom to length and width, I thought I was ready to start on the dovetails, as shown on my original design.


Can you see where I have gone wrong?

It's a classic beginner's mistake - dovetails on side grain! :oops: :oops:

I had thought about this earlier on, really I had. I knew that I want a box which has been rolled 90 degrees, so what would normally be the lid becomes the front flap. One of my initial sketches had a note about it. But the real mistake was made weeks ago, when I was deciding how to fit the parts onto the glued-up boards, here:


- that trapezium should be rotated 90 degrees so the top and bottom go on the end grain. Bother!

Frustrated at my blunder, I checked the original size of the glued-up board - it was too narrow as it was, but I could have exploited the slanting edge of the original wood, and glued two wider bits edge to edge. Instead, I thought of it as tidy wide boards, wide enough for the wrong layout, not the right one. (With hindsight, I could have cut out paper shapes, like a sewing pattern, and arranged them on my boards. If I had done that, I might have had the sense to mark the grain direction, like sewing patterns do for the warp and weft direction.)

So, I am now stuck with the grain orientation you see here. Short of making the ends from an ugly patchwork, I must use the bits I have.

I can see a few options but would welcome opinions and suggestions.

A) I could do the whole thing with butt or rebate joints.
B) I could have tongues on the long boards fitting into grooves in the ends.
C) I could have one row of dovetails only, on the back, with a plain butt or rebate on the top and bottom.

What would you do?
Rebate with something to add strength and decoration in a contrasting timber, maybe some dowels or splines of some sort.
I'm doing a small toy chest with rebates and brass screws atm, the rebate is obviously simple but I found it very satisfying when the sides came together quite nicely.
That's a tricky one. How much seasonal movement is likely ? Might be enough to matter with the grain side to side on the top and base, but front to back on the sides. Some sort of sliding dovetail rather than T&G ?
Is it important? Its a bread bin, so unlikely to be subject to extreme pressure sideways.
Unless it is really offensive to you to look at each day, or you were planning on exhibiting it, I'm pretty sure no one else is going to realise it.
Mmmm rebate in the sides or mitre and contrasting feathers or a spline.

All's not lost, think of it as a design opportunity not a mistake.

:D :wink:

Thanks for your replies. I have decided to go for dovetails at the back, fitting the bottom on with tongues and grooves into the ends, and for the top, rebates at either end. It shouldn't need to be especially robust, just to sit on a worktop. Plus it gives me a chance to practise something other than just dovetails.

I spent quite a while drawing the layout for the dovetails on paper, so the actual layout step was quite quick.


First step, mark a baseline with a marking gauge. This is a nice one - it's not obviously a cutting gauge, but its old pin (which might just be a mild steel nail) has been sharpened to a knife edge. It makes a nice minimal line which will be easy to clean up later.


Clamp the two ends back to back. Mark the half pins, then walk along with dividers set to (outside width of tail + outside width of pin).


Mark across with a small try square and extend the lines down to the baseline with a sharp pencil.


Saw down the tails to the baseline. I used my nice Coates vice to get a good grip at a back-friendly height.


To remove the waste, I quite like to saw most of it out and just pare the last little bit. If you use a standard coping saw blade, it's too thick to go down after the dovetail saw. That's not a problem; you just cut down in the middle, then turn either way towards the corners.



I'd not yet cut the back piece to length, so I couldn't carry on and mark out the pins. To find out what the actual length is, I need to sort out the top and bottom.

As noted, the top will have a pair of little rebates. These are only 1/8" deep so I decided to plane them. Mark lines with sharp gauges, chisel off a little slope at the ends (to avoid spelching) and plane away with plane of choice.

Normally I prefer the old wooden moving fillister with its skewed blade for this sort of job, but it wasn't the best on this small scale.


so I did most of it with a Record 78


but finished off to the marks with my home-made shoulder plane. It's not going to win any planemaking beauty competitions, but it cuts well, even cross grain.


(NB - posed photos only - I don't actually plane with just my left hand!)

That's all for now.

Before I cut any more wood, I have been thinking about a catch for the front flap. This will pivot on a pair of pins at the bottom and close between the left and right ends. I'm wondering whether to try and make it a bit stiff, so it doesn't need any sort of catch. Or maybe it would be better if it moved freely (even without crumbs trapped in the joint) and was held in place with a magnet or something.

Maybe something with an elegant wooden spring to release. Ideas and examples welcome!
Great update Andy. I think your shoulder plane would certainly be in with a shot at a beauty award...! I like the idea of keeping things minimal and having the front flap stiff, that would be cool.

Is it normal practice to clamp the boards together and cut the dovetails that way? I haven't seen it done before but it makes sense in terms of efficiency.
Thanks, el Barto.

The shoulder plane was my first home made plane. It has an assortment of filing scratches and mis-sized rivets. However, it works and I urge anyone else to have a go. I did a thread on it here

Ganging tail boards together was, I believe, normal practice when hand work was the norm and efficiency mattered. You can pin boards together too, which helps keep them in sets, eg for drawers. I think it's a good reason for preferring to cut tails first.

It also makes it easier to cut at right angles to the surface as you can see angular errors better on a longer cut.
Hi Andy

The shoulder plane shot is a shaving susgestion!

A Krenov style catch would be good for the lid.

AndyT":32r8ptt6 said:
Thanks, el Barto.

The shoulder plane was my first home made plane. It has an assortment of filing scratches and mis-sized rivets. However, it works and I urge anyone else to have a go. I did a thread on it here

Ganging tail boards together was, I believe, normal practice when hand work was the norm and efficiency mattered. You can pin boards together too, which helps keep them in sets, eg for drawers. I think it's a good reason for preferring to cut tails first.

It also makes it easier to cut at right angles to the surface as you can see angular errors better on a longer cut.

Nice one Andy. I'm going to have a read of that thread later.
I hope nobody expected this to be a quick project... but I've made a few steps forward, and too many back again. Here are some more pictures and musings.

Ok, the easy bits. I decided on a tongue and groove joint to hold the bottom in place. Because I can't hide the groove in the dovetails, like you do in a drawer, the grooves need to be stopped where they meet the dovetails, and can't be made with the plough plane. Here you can see the gauged lines coming to a stop.


The first step is to chisel out some space at the end of the groove, like this but a bit longer:


then the router plane can make the rest of the groove, lowering the cutter a fraction at each pass. An offcut of the same wood helps keep the router level.


until it looks like this


I used the fence on the router at first but soon abandoned it - with the cutter being quite a bit narrower than the groove needed, it was easier just to aim between the lines manually.

The tongues on the ends are only 1/4" thick and 1/8" long, so I thought chiselling would be better than sawing. Gauge the lines, then take off the end corner to avoid splitting:


chiselling lets you take a nice thick shaving


and a paring chisel lets you work the whole length the easy way of the grain


tidying up with the shoulder plane


This shows the relative thicknesses of chisel and plane shavings.


And here's the story so far, showing the top and bottom resting in position


Attentive readers will be able to spot at least one design error by now - I'll explain more in the next post.

For now, I'll just suggest that if you want to make something like this, don't rely on a vague idea in your head - do a full sized drawing of all the parts!

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