Nick Gibbs, editor of Quercus magazine, asked some woodworker friends to build a storage box for a Lie-Nielsen No. 102, aka an apron plane, as inspiration for the magazine’s Young Woodworker of the Year award.
The way I understand it, entrants ages 16-19, and from anywhere in the world, are invited to make a box for a No. 102, in whatever style they wish. The deadline is Dec. 31, 2022. The winner receives £500 from Quercus, and a Lie-Nielsen No. 102 (courtesy of Lie-Nieslen) that has been engraved by Jen Bower. (For details and to enter, send an email to [email protected].)
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The No. 102 is my go-to block plane (it fits comfortably in my small hand), so I was happy to come up with a box…though I broke the rules a bit by building one that holds two No. 102s. (If only I’d bought a white bronze No. 102 when Lie-Nielsen did a a limited run – how cute would it have looked in tiny tool chest atop its iron brethren?!)
For the most part, this little chest is built exactly like a full-size one: dovetails in the bottom; cut nails to secure the backboards, bottom lip and front; dados to capture the shelf that divides the compartments; battens and a lock through a catch to hold the fall front in place; a raised panel on the fall front and lid, with a fingernail moulding on the lid (I guess it’s a pinky moulding); rot strips; lid battens keep the top flat; and a hinged lid. Oh – and blue paint. Of course. (Yes, I’m writing a book about Dutch tools chests, and as long as I don’t expire, it will be out this year…if for no other reason than chagrin at dragging my feet for so long.)
I chose sugar pine with the tightest grain I could fine, and surfaced it to 1/4″ – aka the size of the blade in my small router plane – so I could use that tool to remove the waste in the dado that holds the shelf in place (and the other bits are walnut). I skipped putting nails through the side into the shelf (as is typical on some full-size DTCs), because I didn’t trust myself to get the necessary tiny pilot holes perfectly centered, and didn’t want to risk splitting the sides with a lot of work already done.
For that same reason, I glued on the lid battens, rot strips and strip underneath the slot for the catch. So in this case, the lid battens won’t keep the lid panel flat (they would properly be screwed or clinch-nailed to the lid panel) – but I’m not too worried about the lid cupping, as it’s only 3-1/2″ wide. Hinging the lid was the most difficult part – holding those screws in place required tweezers and a lot of squinting!
The chest itself is 6-1/4″ long, 2-3/4″ deep and 5-3/4″ tall. I don’t know its scale, or if the parts scale properly to a full-sized DTC – I just did my best to make it look “right,” based on it fitting the plane, per the requirements. Or in this case, two planes.
Below is a look inside.