Now with carcass assembled and inside done, it was time to move onto the bottom. For this, I was going to keep it simple. I took 1/2' thick poplar I had purchased from Lowes and cut it to slightly over width and did enough boards to cover the span. Fortunately, I own a combo tongue and groove plane so it made it easy work to get them ready for installation. Before installation, I applied shellac and then waxed. The big debate was do I nail them or screw them to the bottom. I decided to go with screws. Not that I will likely ever need to replace them in my lifetime but I find unscrewing something slightly more easy to do than nails.
I didn't want to have the chest rest directly on the ground. Though this chest will never see a harsh life over my span, I still wanted to have some sacrificial bottom pieces so that in theory these pieces would rot first. I had some scrap oak laying around that was the perfect size so I used it. Is oak better than other woods for this? I don't know. It's what I had and I feel a little extra bit of happiness when I can use up good pieces of scrap. I don't let my scrap wood pile get too large so pieces will eventually be burned or tossed away. I clocked my screws. It would drive me crazy if I didn't I wish it wouldn't but it would.
Now, it was time to move onto the the lower then upper skirting. I reread the section in the ATC carefully that discussed this. The dovetails are to run in the opposite direction relative to the main carcass to provide strength in an alternate direction. I used 1/2" thick poplar. Getting three of the four sides (i.e. the big U shaped piece) connected was easy. Trying to measure get dovetails cut on the end of the big U so that the fourth piece would sit properly flush on the carcass was tricky. I did ok, The bottom was a bit more gappy (ca. 1/16") and the top (1/32"). I guess this is the kind of thing you just need to do a few times before figuring out how to get it gap free. No worries though, since this piece will be painted, I will use wood filler to fix the gaps.
The glue up itself wasn't too bad. Just lots of clamps. I glued the bottom and top separately. In order to ensure everything stayed in place during glue up, I used a lot of wire finish nails and nailed the skirting to the carcass. Again, it will be painted so it's easy to make these nail holes disappear with filler. With that all now done, it was time to move onto the top. The top was my hardest bit to do. So much so, that afterwards, I bought a table top mortiser for future through tenons. But that is all a story for my next blog next week.