A few queries have arrived on how my “kind of a woodworker” education has been coming along. I can report having completed the basic level 10-week class at WoodSmyth’s Chicago, and with it three projects – two in pine, and one in oak veneer plywood.

The first, a pine bookcase, I reported on before – screwed and bolted together and standing 78 inches tall and 20 inches wide, it required 54 cuts on a Delta radial arm saw and several passes over the table saw dado blade. It’s now residing with my college student son.

The next project was more complex, a toolbox fashioned early-American style, with a pole handle set in the ends, decorative end-caps to give it some style, a curved silhouette accomplished roughly with a jig saw, then finished with a router. It was my first time handling a Porter-Cable router, this set in a jig, and operated by me under careful supervision. I really liked this project.

This tool box also required dovetail corners for the main box, and for a sliding upper drawer – set on rails sunk into a dado cut into the inside walls of the box. Dados were also involved in setting the bottoms panel into the four sides of drawer and box. End braces were slathered with glue then hammered into a pocket cut with an artful, matching 45 degree angles.

As I write this I appreciate even more what my esteemed teacher, Neal Scher, was imparting to me in my work: the plan, the design, and the execution of the cuts, countersinks, the behavior of the router bit against the grain of the pine.

The planning of this project is the complex part, as readers well know, and I have come to learn. Certain steps deemed more difficult or risky steps handled by teacher Scher, who guided the production of 40 of these tool boxes over three weeks by his five classes. Imagine the pre-cutting! Thank you again for the opportunity at WoodSmyth’s Chicago.

Wood Smyths Chicago woodshopMy First Installment: 'Hey I'm a Woodworker, Kinda'
By Bill Esler | Updated: 02/13/2013
Enrolled in Wood Smyth's entry-level woodworking class, following my completion of 'Overview of Secondary Wood Industry' at Stiles. Here are my classmates, and our first project.
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