The pile of half-pint jars is starting to pile up in our home, so it is time for half-pint crates. A while back I built some pint crates with dovetails. They were good looking, but rather time consuming to build. This time around I decided to break out my old No 78 rabbet plane and do all half laps. First, the wood!
I used 1/4″ plywood for the bottom, and was able to hide that plywood by using the right sized rabbet on the bottom.
Rabbets with the grain are an absolute joy. Simply clamp the wood in a front vice, start at the far end, and shave away. The half laps were another story all together. Even with a spur and a relatively sharp blade, there was a lot of chatter, tear out and fence wander.
The fences of my old plane did not want to stay put. I tightened everything as much as I dared, but feared damaging old cast iron threads. The result is that a lot of the half laps are gaped. It might be worth carefully making a master part, in the future, so I can go back and reset my fences as needed. Until then, here are some bottomless boxes!
I went nuts recently and bought a pile of old style cut nails from lee valley. I put these crates together with “fine finish” cut nails. They performed well and did not cause splitting even though they were close to the edges.
After a good coat of boiled linseed oil I cut some vinyl blackboard stickers out and put them on the fronts. It makes finding your desired jam easier. They aren’t as nice looking as the dovetailed crates, but they are very functional. Besides, crates aren’t supposed to be super fancy!
These canning crates were brought to you by my Stanley No. 78! 80ish years old and still kicking some butt!