The Wood Whisperer Guild (subscription-based) produces three or four projects a year which include extensive plans and step-by-step videos released weekly over a couple of months. Host and producer, Marc Spagnuolo, has a style of presentation which I find a most enjoyable way to deepen my understanding of tools, techniques and process.
The Roubo Workbench is the only Guild Build that I’ve created, but I have been a member since day one. In most projects Marc offers suggestions for other approaches and options for personalizing the design.
My talented friend, woodworker and blogger, Marilyn Guthrie, made a brave post showing a proposed new logo and asking for comments. Having dabbled in typography and the design world for many years, I added my two cents. She received numerous other constructive criticisms, suggestions and encouragements.
After seeing her round two version, I decided to return to her initial attempt and make some refinements. She liked it and it is now the official logo.
You may wish to subscribe to her blog if you enjoy examples of hand tools in operation, presented in an inspiring manner. I am a sucker for good photography and people indulging in their creative passions. I am a fan.
I am creating centered drawer guides for this project. The objective is to lessen racking potential with the (mostly) wide drawers, as well use the opportunity to try a new approach.
There are two types of one-inch wide guides: for two full-shelves (fixed horizontal shelf and case bottom) and for three web frames. The upper web frame will support two narrower upper drawers. Guides for fixed shelves will be 1/4 inch proud set in 1/8 dadoes. These guides will be glued into the front portion of the dado and allowed to float beyond that allowing for wood movement.
The web frame guides (4 of these) are fixed into the front frame member and allowed to float at the rear.
Material was milled for the drawer web frames. Mahogany for the front frame rails. They have tenons into mortises on side assemblies. Rear rails and side runners are poplar. They use sliding dovetails into sockets in the side assemblies. The side pieces have tenons to fit into front and rear rails. They will be glued to front pieces and left to float in rear rails. Side runners also have stopped “tongues” that ride in side dadoes for a bit of support. No glue on these.
The top web frame also has a middle runner that is used for the two side-by-side top drawers. This uses the same mortise and tenon joinery, but without the tongues.
Mortises were cut at the router table and the tenons at the table saw using a dado stack. These were intentionally left slightly oversized in thickness, then were fine tuned using a shoulder plane for a snug fit.
Once the joinery was completed the frame components were placed into the side assemblies to verify fit. In the images you can see a small gap intentionally left at the rear mortise and tenon for wood movement.
The top row vertical divider will be cut after a dry assembly is made to verify location and dimensions. That divider will use a sliding dovetail.
Jumping ahead with this post. Primary case components have been created so it is time to see how things fit together. Going through this process made it very clear that I will have multiple opportunities to mess up when using glue. I am marking the pieces as clearly as I can and will continually remind myself to look at those marks.
I have not cut the Back Vertical Support (middle) and Vertical Divider (top row of drawers) yet. I wanted to take measurements from the case rather than count on my cut list (as if I had one). Then I will cut to size and create the joinery. Mortise and tenons for Back Support and short sliding dovetails for the Vertical Divider.
I’ve posted some images of the case coming together. I only used clamps for specific places required to take the measurements mentioned above. Once Back Support is in place I will finalize my strategy for the back panels. I feel more confident working from this trial assembly than sketches or plans.
I still have not decided on shaping for front apron and bottom of sides. Had thought of a subtle curve running full length. Also have to decide on any leg treatments.
Side assemblies are dry assembled to create mortises for drawer web frames. Front stiles will have mortise and tenons. I had planned to use exposed sliding dovetails, but along the way I decided to have a small reveal between the legs and set back for frames and drawer fronts. So mortise and tenons it will be. Back stiles will use sliding dovetails which will be hidden by the back element. Sides drawer runners (rails) will M&T into front (glued) and to rear stiles (no glue to allow case to expand/contract). These have stopped shallow dadoes (1/4 inch) into the side assemblies.
The upper web frame also has a center runner to provide support for the two side by side narrow drawers. This will be similarly use mortise and tenon into front and back stiles.
I created a taller auxiliary fence for the router table because of the tall panels that will run vertically past the dovetail bit. Making it out of one piece also helps to keep the panels flush during the routing operation. Feather boards are also used before and after the bit.
These cuts were done in small increments until I had a sufficiently tight fit. The micro-fence adjustment feature of the Woodpecker’s router table was much appreciated this task.
Stop cuts (of the sliding dovetails) were made with back saw and chisel.
With the sliding dovetails ready we did a dry assembly of the sides, case top, bottom and horizontal divider. It is beginning to look like a case.
The case bottom will be attached to the side assemblies using stopped, sliding dovetails. One of the horizontal dividers will be a full shelf and similarly attached. The bottom shelf will be fronted by an apron attached to the legs with mortise and tenon and glued to the shelf. Which means that no mahogany is necessary on that work piece. The horizontal divider has a three inch strip of mahogany for the show edge but no back mahogany edge as that will be behind the case back (design of which is still being pondered).
The router jig shown is from Marc Adam’s timely FWW #282 article. A dado is routed with a 3/8 inch straight bit just shy of full depth (1/2 inch) in two passes. After the four dadoes are cut, the jig is reversed, aligned and the sliding dovetails cut in one pass with a 14 degree dovetail router bit to 1/2 inch deep.
Next the two panels of poplar are glued up and milled to approximately 3/4 thick with edges of mahogany where appropriate. These panels will have sliding dovetails cut to fit the case side dovetail slots.
The case top is attached to the side assemblies with half blind dovetails. I began by marking and cutting the tail board (case top). Generally, I would have made the tails much wider than the pins, but as I am working without much in the way of plans, my brain got twisted around just a bit. Structurally they should be just fine, but they do look somewhat odd and it is more difficult to keep track of the tails and pins.
In the past, I’ve used a router or drill press to hog out waste on the half blind tail boards (sides) to establish a nice reference surface. I did get out the router and began to set it up, but was not comfortable that I could see my boundaries well. I realized I’d be much more comfortable using the saw, chisels and mallet. Fun stuff.
Next up will be a stopped sliding dovetail to attach the case bottom to the sides. I will use the nasty router for that operation.
A driveway designer and woodworker sharing thoughts, experiences and impressions of the journey.