WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Chests of Drawers

Chests of Drawers
by Bill Hylton

Taunton Press: 2002
Paperback, 217 pp., $24.95
ISBN 1-56158-422-3

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     "Plans and instructions for 7 classic chests of drawers." It sounds somewhat limited, doesn't it? Then how about considering instructions for a variety of built-up moldings, techniques such as string inlay, bent lamination, cutting angled dovetails on a bowfront drawer, or routing a drawer lock joint?
     Bill Hylton has done it again, with well thought out instructions for techniques and procedures that apply to all woodworking, not just these seven specific projects. From the Queen Anne chest on frame to the tall chest or Pennsylvania Dutch blanket chest, the author discusses jigs, clamping techniques, efficient router table setups, a simple router mortising jig, and quick methods for shopmade drawer pulls.
     The book not only covers classic solid wood contstruction, but contemporary methods using veneered sheet goods, biscuits and pocket hole joinery. One chest of drawers is presented with loose tenon construction -- eight dozen of them, with 180 mortises. It sounds like a nightmare, but with Hylton's guidance and setups, the project would be managable even by a determined beginner or intermediate woodworker.
     Frame and panel construction, web frames, post and panel, case backs, legs and aprons, drawer supports and face frames, are just some of the details fully explained. Each project is provided with a cut list and measured construction drawings. Hylton calls on the expertise of master craftsmen for the individual projects, and presents them with clear, instructive photos in color and black and white drawings showing construction methods.
     A chapter on general design encourages the reader to alter and adapt these plans. Once the basics are learned from building a project from the plans included, it wouldn't be difficult to design one's own.
     These seven projects may seem challenging, but Hylton leads the reader step by step, with cautions, hints and tips all along the way. This is a very fine skill-building volume, with a full list of sources for procuring accessories, hardware, and general woodworking supplies.

. . . Barb Siddiqui

[EDITOR'S NOTE: For another review of Bill's book by WoodCentral regular, Art Silva, click here.]