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February 25, 2012  
Welcome, Jeff!
Jeff already knows what he's getting, but for the rest of you, here's the program.  Jeff collects pocket knives, and he has many.  Currently they're stored in several small cases he's picked up over the years, and they're made from different woods with different interior fabric colors.  They don't quite read as a "set" right now.  Jeff wants a place to store everything in one spot.  It will be sized big enough to house his collection (with room to grow), but small enough to be transported to exhibits and shows where he can share them with fellow collectors.

The case will have eight drawers which will be subdivided for each knife, and the drawers will be lockable.  The chest will have a glass top so that one can view the series of knives in the topmost drawer.  The drawers will be easily removable for table display and interchangeable so Jeff can select the drawer to be viewed under the glass.

This looks like it will be a unique and fun project.  I'll post here periodically so please check back.
February 28, 2012  
I spent a good portion of the day shopping for materials.  There are many components that go into a project of this complexity, and you simply can not hit one store and call it done.  The wood is certainly a large part of the plan, but there is also glass, lighting (with a transformer, switch, and wires), drawer locks, knobs and handles, fabric for the lining, rubber feet, and finishing materials.

The photo here shows the small forest which will become the chest.  It looks like a lot of wood, but there are a lot of drawers with subdivided interiors which will start to eat that up pretty quickly.  The wood is also not very pretty at this point.  This is what it looks like straight from the saw mill.  It's a little cheaper to buy it this way.  Since all the wood components are non-stock sizes, it doesn't make much sense to pay someone else to smooth everything out for me.
March 5, 2012  
All the pieces are rough-cut, meaning that they're all accounted for, but cut a little bigger than their ultimate size.  That allows me make slight dimensional adjustments as the case goes together for a perfect fit.

At first glance, you don't think that there will be a lot of pieces in this project, but just look at the drawers.  They each have 4 sides, a bottom, and a false front.  That's 6 pieces multiplied by 8 drawers equals 48 individual sticks of wood which need to be cut, fit, and glued up.  Oh, and that number doesn't include all the little pieces (almost 200!) which will make all the little drawer dividers later on.  It was a relaxing weekend in the shop.
March 12, 2012  
All those little pieces from the previous entry started coming together.  The side and back panels were mitered and glued up to form the panelized look of the case.  The drawers received small grooves which ride on thin wood rails which have been glued to the case sides.  The spaces between the drawers were necessary for the locking hardware (one key locks all), but fancy drawer fronts will be added to tighten up the gaps and give it a fine, finished look.
March 19, 2012  
The cool thing about a custom piece like this is that it's unique and the only one of its kind - it's also kinda uncool for the same reason.  There is no model or plan one can look at to figure out how everything needs to go together.  LED lighting is designed to install easily under your kitchen cabinets.  It's a little harder to hide all the wiring and the transformer into a finished piece of furniture like this.  Wiring channels need to be located in order to get the power up to the top without being unappealing visually.  These accommodations must be thought out, designed, and implemented before the final glue up since you can't always make a cut or drill a hole after things go together.  But the lighting will make a huge difference in the final impact of the piece, so it's a challenge I'm up for.
The hardware came in last week.  This piece has tiny drawers which need tiny knobs.  It's hard to find tiny knobs, especially in brushed nickel.  That's why they invented the internet!

I also assembled the base.  This will accommodate the wiring and transformer, but it will also provide a little extra storage as well.  The hole near the back will allow the power cord to be retracted inside the base and stored when not used or for transport.
March 26, 2012  
I glued up the case to the base and top.  While I was waiting for the glue to dry, I thought I might as well tackle the drawer dividers.  Each pocket knife will have it's own home.  That requires a lot of little tiny pieces of wood to keep them separated.  I started cutting up the leftover cherry wood to 1/4" thick x 1" tall x whatever usable length I had laying around the shop.  Then they got cut to size, grooved, sanded, and fit into the drawer.  It's a very tedious and repetitive process, but therapeutic in it's own special way.  Three drawers down; five to go.
April 2, 2012  
I got all eight drawers finished with their dividers.  They look awesome, but now I have to put the finish on all those little twigs of wood.  So disassemble everything, get a bucket of tung oil and a rag, then start wiping.  Wow, sometimes making the art is actually the art itself.
With the drawer dividers out of the drawers, it was time to work out the details of the gang lock.  One key will lock/unlock the drawers at one time.  It'll be neat, but there has to be some precise layout so the little locking studs engage the slots in the drawer sides.

Then it's off to the other side of the basement for finishing.
April 13, 2012  
The finished project is absolutely stunning!  Cherry wood with stainless steel hardware make a wonderful pairing.  This case has every feature imaginable.  The drawers are all lockable, removable, subdivided, and velvet-lined (reversible).  The glass top has LEDs which illuminate the top drawer.  You can also swap out the drawers so you can rotate the top display.
This case has sturdy construction and handles so Jeff can take his collection to trade shows and share it with his friends.  There's even additional velvet-lined storage in the base under the bottom drawer for cleaning cloths or documentation.  I even inlaid a personalized monogram so everyone knows who this beautiful case belongs to.

Jeff will be storing pocket knives in here, but you can easily visualize your collection here.  Whatever it may be, I can customize a case especially for you.


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