Dagger cases

First Dagger Case Half Glued

Posted by Paul

Today is Anzac day in Australia (for those reading overseas) it is a day we remember the sacrifice of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps originally in WW1 but subsequently those who served in any conflict that Australia and New Zealand was involved in. Jo and I hope to one day anchor off what is known today as Anzac Cove (where the Anzacs landed) at Gallipoli (Turkey) and attend a dawn service. For those that have never attended a dawn remembrance service I strongly encourage you to do so, not only because of the importance of honouring the fallen and the sacrifices they made so that we may enjoy the freedoms we do, but because it is one of the most humbling and emotional things you might do, and I can only imagine how much more powerful that would be at somewhere like Gallipoli. I also reflect at how lucky people my age are having never seen any warfare.

Without sounding flippant, the other thing that Anzac day is, is a public holiday. So I got to work on the boat most of today. I started by setting up the molds that I had cut yesterday, on the bench. Using the back shaping rail as a straight edge and also used the top top edge of it as the height datum, knowing in advance that it is a level edge. So each mold is screwed to the bench square to the rail at 600mm centres (except the end 2 that were set in 20mm to ensure they were set in from each end) and packed up where needed to ensure they were set at the correct height at the back. At the front I set up stringlines to ensure the centre of the rope slot was exactly straight and the fronts at the correct height. With that done I now know the molds are now set so the cases will end up true. If any of the planks have any twist in them (many do) then by screwing them down to the molds the twist is taken out.

It was then time to cut all of the panels needed to make all 4 case halves. I cut 4 rope slot bases and rounded the edges with a router. These are 130mm wide, 50mm slot opening and 40mm overhang of the front and back case piece. The I cut the front curved part. I measured with a flexible tape and figured on 160mm. Again I cut 4 of them. There are 4 off cuts from the 4 front half pieces and they are 138mm (the sheets are 300mm so 140mm minus the saw blade thickness) so with a full width plank I am still 40mm short of the size needed, so I got 40mm strips offcuts from previous strip planking and I have all the parts I need. Next job was to kerf the forward piece. In all I cut 7 kerf cuts to within 2mm of all the way through. This was enough to push the flat piece into the curves of the mold. It took a while to coax it into place and there was a lot of cracking sound of the pine veneer on the outside of the case, but it only cracked in one place so it wasn’t too bad (I squeezed some glue into the crack when I was gluing). I had already marked the 40mm front and back overhang on the middle piece so I curved the forward edge of the kerfed front and screwed it into place along the 40mm front line first then into the molds to pull down the curve. It was here I noticed that I am overhanging at the front (too big) by about 5mm. It would be a simple thing to run that strip off on the table saw but I decided to leave it too big, then plane this down later to the exact angle and size so the 2 halves butt together perfectly at the front.

I cut 2 kerfs into the full width panel at 100mm in from the front and back and rounded the front edge with the router and screwed it down along the 40mm back line then onto the mold. I then screwed in the 40mm strip butted up hard against the full size panel, then I cut a single kerf up the middle of the last strip and screwed it down tight against the 40mm strip. Then as a safety measure I decided to sit the glassed dagger in the mold half to be sure that I had the correct clearance. The screws had 3mm mdf washers on to stop them pushing into the soft duracore so that is just shy of the clearance needed, remember there is still a layer of glass to go in the case and there is still a coat of paint to go on the dagger.

With all of the parts dry fit in the mold I unscrewed the front piece and started gluing the parts up. I squeezed runny glue into each kerf and onto the 40mm overhang on the rope slot piece and screwed it back into the mold and removed the excess glue that comes back out of the kerfs when it is pulled tight into shape. I then removed the full width plank and did the same and ran glue along the 40mm back edge of the rope slot piece and also onto the back edge of the plank so it glued to the 40mm piece still screwed in the mold behind it. I pushed it hard up to it and screwed it back down in place. Then I removed the back piece and did the same again, glue in the kerf and along the front face and screwed it back into the mold hard up against the 40mm strip in front. Now I just have to wait for it to dry, sand it smooth and glass it. I have taken note of the positions of each saw kerf on the first half so I will cut all of them tomorrow now that I know they worked well. It all went rather smoothly. Very satisfying.

One down 3 to go.

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