Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Apothecary chest - part eight

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Part eight - I think that this is the 7th weekend of the build. The plan is to start building the drawers, or at least have a plan for the drawers. There is not as much time available this weekend as I would have liked.

First, I needed to complete the drawer sides. About one half of the sides prepared were glued from two sections. The joins needed to be smoothed to leave each side appearing seamless.

I started out using a scraper ..

.. and ended using a smoother, which was quicker. The smoother was set to take extremely fine shavings - which came off like fine hair - as I did not want to remove any more of the 1/4" thickness than absolutely necessary (the boards began a smidgeon over 1/4", and so ended up close to dammit) ..

The sides were jointed square on two sides ...

... and then fitted to the cabinet ...

It took most of Saturday, but finally ...

Sunday afternoon arrived and I was back in the workshop. The goal here was to see if my devilish plan for dovetailing curved drawer fronts would work. The following is a test, so let me know what you think and whether you can come up with an easier strategy.

Each row of drawers with be made from a single black walnut board, and so the figure will flow without interruption. Actually, the boards used made two rows each, and all the drawer fronts will come from the same original board.

For now I am using a scrap to test the method. Briefly, the drawer front will remain flat until the sides are dovetailed on, and the curve will be added later.

The first task is to fit the drawer front into the drawer opening, and this requires that the sides are mitred. This was done on the table saw ...

This is the fit into the drawer opening ...

The curve can be added by sliding out the drawer front and tracing along the drawer blade ...

That will be shaped later. For now the challenge is two-fold: firstly, the mitres complicate how the dovetails will join the two parts. In the photo below, what will happen if the walnut receives sockets (as in half-blind dovetails), the tails will extend over the drawer front and into the drawer.

The solution I came up with was to mitre one side of the drawer front, and rebate the other side ...

I concentrated on the mitred side today as this is the more difficult of the two.

The first step was to mark the width of the drawer side ...

The second was to use edge planes (these are by LN) to add a mitre that was square with the angled side ...

The second challenge would be to secure and transfer the tails to the pin board, then to saw and chisel the sockets. Here is the first challenge ...

Trying to hold the tail board at an angle, and steady so that it did not move while the tails could be traced to the pin board ... well, I needed another set of hands!

I finally came up with a solution, recalling Alan Peters/Rob Cosman's rabbet trick. In this case, I added two layers of blue tape to create a fence ...

This made it possible to stabilise the parts ...

Using blue tape to transfer the markings ...

Sawn ...

Kerfs deepened at the baseline end with a kerfing chisel ...

Clearly my chisels were not sharp enough as the walnut was crumbling ...

It cleaned up enough to pound the drawer side on ..

What was reassuring was the tight corners.

The "drawer" was slid into the drawer opening ...

A bit more practicing, and I will be ready for the real thing.

Any thoughts how else this could be done?

Regards from Perth

Derek

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