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Shaker chest of drawers. Done! *PIC*

Virgil Johnson
This is my version of a Shaker chest of drawers found in Robert Sondays book Shaker Style Wood Projects. The piece in the article was built by Kelly Mehler. It is made from cherry with poplar drawer sides.I used 1/4" MDF plywood for the drawer bottoms and back. It measures 52 3/4" H x 38" wide x 18" deep.

Doubtful I'll live long enough to see the wood in top darken enough to match the two drawer bottoms. The wood for the bottom drawers had been in a barn in Paris KY for over 25 years when I bought it around 1991. The wood in the top drawers is really not as light as the pics show.

I was able to use lots of my shop "furniture" during the various operations. Low saw horses, Moxon vise and wood angle plates.

The 4 long drawers are book matched and the top 4 were cut from a single board. The material for the base sides was cut from the same boards as the 2 bottom drawers. To make full use of the wood I was able to position the piece so that I sawed out the knots (see sketch) near the ends while making the decorative curves of the base sides. I liked the 9" tall base as it should be easier to clean under than several peices I have that I have built that have 4" bases. I wonder if ease of cleaning was part of the original design intent?

The drawers stops use a thick piece of leather on the front to dampen the clunk of the drawer closing.

Flush drawers...Whew..The drawers were first fitted to where they were ever so slightly proud of the case opening. Next they were shimmed in place and sanded flush with a belt sander. Final sanding past 120g was with a random orbit sander to 220g. This "simple" belt sanding operation turned out to be very tricky as the weight of the belt sander alone was enough to bow the bottom drawer fronts due to the 36" span. During sanding I slipped a 24" combination square blade between the gap of the rear frame and butted it against the inside of the drawer fronts to support them.Had I not supported the drawer fronts the frame fronts would have been sanded away as the drawer fronts pushed inward.

The piece is finished with 2 coats (at this point) of Tried and True varnish oil. This was my first time using the T&T finish and I found it fairly easy to use after reading several articles about it on the web. Some praising it some not. The main thing is not to apply it too thick and make sure it is rubbed in fully and no oil left pooled on the surface.

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