With the 4 joints cut, fitted, and tested there is only one more thing to do before glue-up. Notches need to be cut in the front of the shelf and the bottom to allow the latches to slide in place behind the front. This is really easy to do by hand – no jigs or routers required.
I’m only showing the shelf here, but the bottom is the same except that notch does not go all the way though the board. It is just as easy, just mark both boards while they are clamped together to ensure the notches are aligned. Once the location of the notch is marked, saw the sides.
Next follow the saw with a wide chisel and remove the wood that is in the way of the latch. You can use a mallet, or just work slowly using hand pressure in soft wood like this. I used a mallet then followed that by hand to finish the job.
With the notches cut it’s time to glue-uo the case. I like to do everything possible before I open the glue and that includes marking the location of every nail with my brad awl. I really like that awl. It makes locating a hole much easier and more precise. Try one sometime. Don’t want to buy one? Sharpen something metal to a square, pointy tip and give it a try. The hole created does not need to be deep, it just needs to be deep enough to start the drill tip.
Don’t be afraid to use a saw bench (or bucket) to elevate yourself to a comfortable working height when assembling a case. Stepping up is easier than lowering the case to the floor (I think).
This is the easy part. Glue the case up and check for square. Once you have it close pre-drill the nail holes (one at a time) and hammer in the nails. I only nailed the shelf to the sides (no nails required in the dovetailed bottom). After the nails are in check again for square. Push on the “long” diagonal until you are happy with it. Now wait for the glue to dry before tackling the next steps.