Last week we got the sides cut and rabbeted, so we started with glueing them up. With the box assembled, We cut the top and bottom to fit tightly within the rabbeted edges.
Next we rabbeted the edges of the top and bottom so that they would recess flush into the sides.
Rob brushed a thin layer of glue onto all of the mating surfaces, then attached the bottom plate.
After the top side was glued and attached, we clamped up the whole thing and let it dry for an hour.
Since we hope the cedar liner will be as air tight as possible, Rob wanted the top to be weighted to help the lid close more easily. After considering different options, I suggested that we try laminating in a piece of ipe. Ipe is an extremely dense wood. It grows in tropical rain forests, so it is pretty much impervious to moisture. I happen to have a piece of ipe decking, so we cut off a piece to use in the prototype box. Since the wood has its own natural oils, I cleaned it thoroughly with denatured alcohol. This removes the oils on the surface for a short time. Hopefully long enough for the glue to bond and cure.
I also have a limited supply of spanish cedar, so I re-sawed my least desirable piece for use in the prototype. Rob planed the two pieces down to 1/8″ thick, then cut a piece to fit in the top.
Before cutting the box open, Rob spent some time sanding the outside to remove tool marks and any sharp edges. He used my block plane to place a slight round-over on all of the edges, then hit the corners and everything else with the sanding block with some 220 grit paper.
We measured the top thickness of the box, as well as the ipe and cedar that would nest inside, then added 1/4″ to get the thickness of the lid. Setting the resaw fence up on the bandsaw to 1-1/8″ off of the blade, Rob cut the top away from the body. The top and bottom could have been built separately, but this method ensures as close to a perfect grain match as possible.
Flipping the box, face-down, onto a piece of sand paper, Rob cleaned off the saw marks.
He wiped the entire box down with Naphtha to clean off the dust and get a feel for what it would look like when finished.
The last thing that we did for the evening was to glue in the piece of ipe and the cedar on top of it. We used only a single bead of glue for the cedar, to allow it to expand and contract with the humidity in the box. If we had glued the entire surface, something would have cracked over time.
Rob will be getting the hardware, this week, so we should be mortising that in and installing the rest of the cedar, next week, leaving only the finishing to be completed.