Afternoon all! Thought I’d post about my current project, which will be a sapele pen box to hold a fountain pen gift. I’m still inexperienced at woodworking, and am getting back to it after a bit of a work-induced hiatus, so I’ve had a bunch of small obstacles to overcome.
Problem 1: doubt
Uncertainty and fear of mistakes was stopping me from starting, so I decided a bit more planning was in order. I followed these Fusion 360 for woodworkers tutorials and learned enough in a few hours to produce a basic design and drawing that I felt happy enough with to get started (top half of box not shown, hinges not yet modelled).
The thing I really wanted to get to grips with was the parametric modelling, so that I could easily experiment with different dimensions and proportions. I feel really happy that a little bit of learning here is going to go a long way in gaining confidence to actually build stuff.
Problem 2: a poor workman, etc.
I then faced up to the fact that I had a 20mm Sapele board, and needed it to be 12mm, but had foolishly decided to do this all with hand tools. I don’t have a scrub plane, but I do own a Stanley no 4 so I thought I’d see if that could do the job.
After sharpening I could only get a couple of shavings before the plane would jam up and start skating over the surface. Shavings were getting wedged in the chipbreaker and clogging the plane mouth, raising the blade above the surface.
On closer inspection it turned out my plane’s chipbreaker was kind of battered, leaving plentiful nooks and crannies for shavings to jam in, and so it was that I learned “sharpening” your chipbreaker is a thing you need to do (hopefully just the once).
This got things working well enough that I could mark my 12mm line and gently bevel all the edges down to it, then clear out the big central bump to get a near-thicknessed board with a horrifying surface finish.
Problem 3: resistant materials
So nobody told me (because I didn’t ask) that sapele is an absolute bear to plane due to wavy grain. I was getting tear-out everywhere, no matter which direction I planed in.
But as luck would have it, I recently inherited a Stanley 80 scraper from a friend’s dad, and after the internet told me which way round the blade went this produced a lovely smooth surface, letting me very very slowly work out the remaining bumps.
I’ll spare you the “sawing two bits off” step, so now after a very great deal of huffing and puffing, I’ve got two thicknessed blanks for the top and bottom of the box, and all I need to do is, y’know… make a box out of them.
Problem 4 is “how do I get that lovely rounded scoop out of the middle?”, particularly if I’m sticking to the all-hand-tools approach. I might just go for something square, tbh, since I can chisel and router-plane that out with the tools I have. But I’m open to suggestions!