Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 170, October 2019Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Here's My Woodworking!
By Hayden Bradshaw
Penrose, CO

I started woodworking about two years ago. My mom asked me to make a pre-fabricated bird house that my nieces could build. It was there that I got a taste of how awesome it was to work with wood. My next project was a desk made out of some old glass crates. After that is when I decided to build my suitcase and I have started doing more and more.

About six months ago I found a guy on YouTube that only works with hand tools. Now my ultimate goal is to go purely traditional, but that may take some time.

My suitcase project came out of the fact that I like to travel. I can't do it often but when I do there is always one problem I come across...I can never find the right suitcase to fit everything nicely without everything in it sliding around and getting messed up. So I decided to build one myself to my own specifications.

As a template I used my great grandfathers suitcase from the old days. I measured it out and figured that I would need at least a six linear foot board. I was able to get one at the local home center.

Side note: I am new to woodworking and didn't know much of anything about wood. I got a piece of poplar to make it out of which is a pretty soft wood. So now after a few uses it has some dents in it. Next time I will use a much harder wood.

I got an eight foot board by seven and a quarter inches wide. I cut it into lengths and got out my dad's old router and router table and set it up to do box joints. (I also had to make a box joint jig. Another lesson learned: make sure you measure the jig out correctly). I then cut the joint and test fit it. I screwed up a little on one side so I had to draw out where to cut some of the fingers and I used a mortise drill press to cut them out. Once I got it fitting nicely I cut out a rabbet in the top and bottom to accept 1/8" plywood that I used for both sides. Then came the glue up and once it was dry I took a round over bit and gave all the sides a nice rounding over. Then I cut the top off with a table saw. I then sanded and stained it with Behr's Scandinavian wood oil.

Next came the hinge. To line it up right I took some CA glue and glued it to the case, that way I could move it around and then I knew where to put the screws in. I got some metal corners and a leather handle that I put on. Then it was done. It came out really nice at about one foot by two foot by seven inches, and I have used it quite a bit, although it is strictly a carry-on case. I don't trust it or the airport baggage system enough to check it.

Below is a Murphy bed that I have just finished. It is made of plywood with a dado for the bottom to fit into and the outer box has rabbet dado joints and is hinged to the base which then will be attached to the wall and sit up against it when not in use.

At the moment I am working on another suitcase (hand tools only) and a small gift box for my cousin.

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