Last night and for a few hours today I worked on making a
mahogany case for two planes that have been together for at
least a century.
I have owned them for only four days so they are new to my shop.
Over a forty-year span I have made hundreds of dovetailed tool
cases with sliding lids.
Sliding lids are very effective in keeping moisture and dust
from fine tools and are faster to make than lids that require
mortised hinges. Since my rule for tool cases states there are
no appendages to scratch or dent other cases in a stack on a
shelf, a sliding lid effectively satisfies that requirement.
My sliding lids travel in grooves cut with a plow plane. Over
the years I have learned lots about sliding case lids and how to
make them. They cannot be too loose or too tight. They must
slide with only minor resistance but wedge into place so they
will not slide out while being transported.
This post is a tutorial on how I make sliding lids and we start
with the completion of the case sides, ends, and bottom in
This photo shows the mahogany case ready to receive a sliding
Each case I make is hand dovetailed. The depression in the end
of the box will receive an icon that will indicate what is
The case has a paneled bottom captured in plowed grooves.
After measuring the width of the lid, I saw and then plane down
to a gauge line and after each shaving is removed, I check to
see of if it is exactly the correct width. Taking just one
shaving too many will result in a slight space between the edge
of the lid and the wall of the groove in which it will slide.