Time to add the bottom and handle. The bottom needs to float free in a groove to allow for movement.
Here's something I forgot to show earlier. These marks are cabinetmaker's triangles. They point to the front or top of a piece, marked on matching parts. When the side and ends are assembled, they form an exploded triangle. That way I always know I've got things re-oriented properly. Losing track of that can be disastrous.
Grooving the bottom edge of a side with a wooden screw-arm plow plane. Start at the far end, work backward.
These are stopped grooves due to the dovetails. The skate of the plow prevents the iron from reaching the end, so it needs to be finished with a chisel.
The ends are too short to bother with the plow other than to score the position of the groove in the surface (the skate just gets in the way). Doing the groove entirely with the chisel. This is actually just as easy as using the plow.
Knifing the lines for the dado in one of the ends.
Chiseling a trough for the saw to follow, since this is a first-class cut.
Scoring the end of the dado with the router plane. This ensures it'll be exactly consistent with the bottom.
Sawing out the sides of the dado. A little tricky, because it's a stopped dado; I don't want to cross the groove. Requires careful patience, don't rush it.
The really fun part. As Roy Underhill calls it, rolling up the wood with the chisel bevel down, followed by the chisel laying flat, bevel up, to clean it up.
The final, precise cleanup with the router. I found it most effective to hold one side steady and pivot the plane on that. That gives a skewed slicing action to the iron.
The final grooved and dadoed ends.
Test fitting the handle in the dado. Snug!
Since I didn't have anything to rip in the earlier FEWTEL steps, here's an extension piece to increase the width of the center section, raising it's height. It'll fit in the dado under the main handle piece.
Jointing the edge of the extension piece.
Forming the tongue in one of the bottom pieces with a wooden match plane.
The matching groove in the other bottom piece.
Matching the two pieces up. I must have wobbled a bit, it's not quite a perfect match. A little planing at the joint brought it flat.
Forming the fillister (end-grain rabbet) in a bottom piece. After sawing down the shoulder, rolling up the wood with the chisel, bevel down. This is fun!
Using a rabbet plane for the edge rabbet.
The rabbet plane flopped 90 degrees to clean up the shoulder.
Final fitting for assembly, with the extension piece in the end dado.
I glued up the dovetails on one end, slid in the bottom panels, glued up the other end, clamped it, and let it dry.
Cleaning up the slightly proud dovetail ends with a block plane. As with the router plane, a slightly skewed, pivoted slicing action is very effective.
Some final light face cleanup with a smoother.
After taking the smoother around the top edge for flat corner transitions, lightly chamfering the top edge, just enough to break the arris.
All that's left is the handle.
Boring the end holes for the handle.
Before I use my new keyhole saw on the handle, it needs sharpening.
Cutting out the handle opening.
A little shaping cleanup with the rasp.
Gently rounding the edges with a scraper.
Chamfering the handle with a block plane.
The final piece after gluing the handle into the dado and 3 coats of combination oil and polyurethane finish.
This project was a great exercise in joinery, everything but laps and mortise-and-tenons. The dovetail spacing is a bit crude, but suitable for such a utilitarian piece. I should have taken another 1/8" off the thickness to make it lighter in weight and appearance.
But assuming it doesn't get stepped on by a thousand-pound animal, my daughter's great-great-grand-daughter will be able to use this for her horse.
The tote in use!