Cutting and fitting dovetail joinery for drawer sides and backs. All except the lowest drawer (#6 in the Buhl system). I messed that up in so many ways. Mixed up front and back. Did not allow proper spacing for bottom groove. Which itself was cut wrong. Matched my notes, but not my intent. Had to repair those, which will not show. Gonna finish the upper five drawers, then determine if I can salvage #6, or go back to milling fresh stock.
Working with Sugar Pine was interesting. Easy to cut, easy to scratch and dent. Pleasant smell when working. A very soft wood, so it was easy to work with chisels (and saws), but surprisingly, the cut quality was improved with the chisels freshened up [Shapton stones]. Lesson learned.
Next up will be milling the drawer fronts and cutting half-blind dovetails. Challenges aplenty as the drawer openings are not proper rectangles. Stay tuned for that thrilling adventure.
With the case mostly completed, it is time to begin drawer construction. I milled the Sugar Pine to a thin 9/16 inch thick for sides and backs. This was done incrementally over a few days in hopes that any wood stability issues would be solvable without too much pain.The old-growth Mahogany fronts will be milled to about 7/8 inch thick. The material was too wide for my 6-inch jointer so I used my LN #7 on one surface to create a stable platform for using the power planer to flatten the opposite side and then the other. This lovely figured material proved too gnarly and tear out prone for that tool, so I used the drum sander instead. Five of the six pieces seemed to go fine, but one has nasty twist. Not sure if my initial work was inadequate or movement since then created the issue. At any rate, I decided to halt that process well-shy of my target thickness and will evaluate options tomorrow.
Sides and backs were cut to final dimensions and a groove routed in the sides at the router table. Grooves are 1/4 inch wide and 1/4 inch deep. Next up, mark and cut tails (for blind dovetailed fronts and full for backs).
The case is glued up and ready for a few detailing tasks as the mood strikes. Which means I can now take “final” drawer measurements with confidence.
I am using a new-to-me material for drawer sides and backs, Sugar Pine. I cut to rough size and took it down to about 11/16 inch thick on the power planer. All seems stable, but I’ll leave it for a few days then take it down to about 1/2 inch final thickness (for sides and backs). Eighteen pieces.
I had ordered two boards for the drawer fronts and a thicker board for the show top from Rich Petty of Greener Lumber, LLC. Somehow I miscalculated material required. So last week I ordered one more 9 inch x 6 foot 4×4 board. It is not from the same log, but hopefully the color will match. Figure looks like a reasonable fit. The additional board arrived today, so I marked material for the fronts, rough cut about 1/4 inch over on height and 2-3 inches longer than final. These boards will require a fair amount of work to achieve flat and square. Will let them sit for several days before going further.
I have begun the gradual process of gluing up the dresser case. Did side assemblies yesterday and several more stages today. I am doing this in small increments where possible to keep things relatively sane. First (today) the front web frame elements and apron (lower) were glued and clamped to case side assemblies.
After a bit of time to set up, the web frame sides (runners) tenons were glued into front element mortises. Also did the top row vertical divider at this time. Was able to glue and clamp one piece at a time. Nice.
Then came the rear web frame pieces. Their sliding dovetails were glued into sockets at rear of case. Side runner tenons fit into mortises, but are not glued and are positioned with a gap for wood movement. Initially, I pushed the rear pieces into the sockets flush with the rabbets cut in side assemblies. Opppps! Not appropriate. Have to go in further to fit into the upcoming grooves in the middle (rear) support. If my panic decision (glue is setting up) is appropriate, using the middle support groove gave me proper inset. See image below.
Six ship-lapped slats of vertical grain cedar make up the dresser’s back (along with a fixed center support). These slats will be held in place with brass-plated screws placed to allow for lateral wood movement.
Ship laps were milled at the router table to fit the dry assembled dresser. Counter sunk pilot holes were drilled into the slats. I will wait to drill pilot holes in horizontal elements until after glue up in case there is some shifting or adjustments required.