Dad’s Urn – Part 9

  • Originally published June 29, 2018.

The top is next up on the list. The center panel in the top is the most difficult part of this project. It’s almost magical when it works well and it can fail really easily. I was nervous about this step as there is no more wood that can be used for the top. I’m using wood that I got from dad so this is it. It has to work.

The first step on the panel is to clean off the saw marks and level it. This wood is highly figured and bookmatched. That means the grain is going in all directions and is very hard to plane. I got out my Stanley No. 80 to do this task. This is not a plane, it’s a scraper and won’t tear out any grain.

Stanley Cabinet Scraper No. 80

Once I had it mostly level I just had to see what it might look like with a finish. The way to do this is to wipe it with some mineral spirits. Here’s what I saw.

Top Panel With Mineral Spirits

Next is to cut rabbets in the sides that fit into the grooves of the top rails. After a lot of trimming I got here. You can see the lines for the bevels that I’ll start cutting next.

Top Panel Trimmed and Fitted

Now comes the stressful part. I need to cut the bevels to make it a raised panel. I don’t have a special plane for doing this yet. I have to use a regular bench plane. I sharpened the plane iron to the max and started cutting. The cross-grain bevels need to be done first. The first bevel went well. I stayed just shy of the line.

Top Bevel 1

The second bevel worked well too. It’s starting to look like a raised panel now.

Top Bevel 2

Now comes the tricky step. The bevels that are with the grain need to be done so the corners match perfectly. It seems quite magical when it happens. It worked!

Top Bevel 3

The fourth one worked too. I am very relieved and I can stop fretting and stop clenching my jaws so much. Here’s the top getting closer to being done.

Top Bevel 4

Here’s the current status of my dad’s urn. The base is next.

Dad's Urn In Progress

One more thing today. The raised panel in the top can be finished now. Here is it after final surface prep and the first coat of oil. This is good.

Top First Coat

That was a good day in the shop. The next installment should show the urn very close to being done. This is a labor of love like no other for me. My dad is going out in style.


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