The saw till

Shaping the sides

It is a saw till, so I decided to give the sides a bit of schwung – the same curve found on my saws. I traced the outline using a finger as a spacer, cut the waste off with the band saw and refined the shape using a spoke shave and a rasp.

This image shows (a bit poorly, I’ll admit..) the curve of the saw, which I copied:

Time for the big point of no return! (It’ll bite me in the behind, but more on that later…)

Glueup part one

I made a little glueup helper from some gash; a L-shaped block of wood with two faces 90° to each other. I knocked off the corner at 45°, making space for glue squeeze-out. It would be a bad day if I accidentally glued the thing to the project…

I did one side at a time, giving the glue about two hours between each glueup.

I put some small slivers of wood into the too-low tail cutouts to hide my little error. Hopefully, it’ll look decent.

I also put some clamping pressure on the bottom on the right hand side to close any gaps. Just a precaution, really.

And the wedges paid off – once planed and with a bit of oil, this looks really decent! Not perfect, but absolutely good enough!

A quick preliminary swiffa-swoffa with the smoothing plane, and things look really nice!

You might have noticed the slight overhang on the left side. I removed that when I planed everything flush.


In order to secure the rails for the saws, I decided to use dowels. I could’ve done through tenons half the thickness of the rails, but I wanted to try this method out. I think shop furniture is the perfect opportunity to try different techniques and methods – down the road, you’ll benefit from having done just that.

I measured the thickness of the sides, set the calipers to half that (be sure to check out that article!) and set my marking wheel as shown:

I measured in 15mm (close to 5/8”) from the edges and scored a line with my marking knife, then used the wheel gauge to set the other mark. By doing it this way, I automatically created a starting point for the wood drill bit tip. The small pointy thingy naturally wanted to go into the center of that cross mark.

In short order, all the holes were cut.

In the gallery below (click to expand the images), my process for making dowels are shown.

  1. I cut 8x8mm (5/16 by 5/16”) blanks from some scrap
  2. Using a dowel trough (a piece of wood with a V-shaped groove), I planed the corners of each blank, making them octagonal in cross section rather than square.
  3. I whittled one end slightly so that that end would enter the holes in my dowel plate easily
  4. Lastly, a game of whack-a-mole starting at the largest hole the blanks would not pass through (in this case, it was the 8mm – 5/16” – hole), then the 7mm (9/32”) hole which was my target diameter.
  5. I then cut the dowels so that no splinters or other errors were present.

I am also going to cut a small dado almost the whole length of the dowel, but not long enough to be visible when the dowel is cut to length. The reason for that is to give excess glue a path out of the hole. Otherwise one could risk blowing out the side wall of the hole. Here’s a few pictures showing what I mean, from another project, “the boolean wall shelf“:

After I drilled the holes, I clamped the cross members in place and ran the drill bit into the side pieces. This probably led to a problem we’ll get back to shortly…

I decided to use epoxy glue since teak is an oily wood, and I did NOT want any issues since I’ll screw the till to the wall through the cross members. Risking a Caesarean moment with a Brutus-like saw till letting go and hurling a wad of saw blades at my back? Hard pass!

I am not a big fan of epoxy. It is sticky, smear-y, globb-y and a pain in the buttocks in general, but it is a wonderful adhesive nonetheless. Case in point:

After a bit of cleanup, the mess was gone and the dowels are looking good. Not perfect, though. These should’ve been snug as a bug, and I have concluded that drilling into the side pieces through the cross members like I did, enlarged the holes slightly. Oh, well. Lesson learned.

Another lesson I learned was that rushing things leads to more work. I forgot to cut the slots for the saw blades! Several options were considered, but I quickly came to the realization that I just had to bite the bullet and do it the hard way.

I measured and marked the positions, marking in from each side to ensure even spacing. There was a 2mm discrepancy on the center one, so I just marked it dead center.

I then cut each slot using different saws.

But I quickly realized that I needed wide slots for all the saws, or placing the saws in the till would be a fiddly mess. By carefully starting the cut on the far cross member, I lowered the saw until I cut both simultaneously. I took great care when doing this, guiding the saw with my left hand thumb. It worked remarkably well.

I then got the brilliant idea that I could use my battery powered circular saw to slice the cutouts a bit wider, and went to town.

What a STUPID idea!

There and then I got a stark reminder why I HATE USING POWER TOOLS! I can use power tools as good as any, but nevertheless I managed to screw it up. The slots became uneven, I got a bit of tearout and in general it became a Bad DayTM. I gave up and called it a day, but I needed a bit of comfort so I tried placing the saws in the till to see how this will end up, eventually.

Glad I did, it gave me some courage back. I’ll fix the screwup in some way or other, but the end result will be well worth the effort:

By this point it became clear that I need to make the front piece taller. The heel of the saws bottomed out before they came to rest on the plank.

On the next page I will fix the errors.

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