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Tom’s Dresser – Joinery, Part Two

Side assembly with more joinery
Side assembly with more joinery

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.

Next up: web frame construction

Tom’s Dresser: Sliding Dovetails, part 2

Beginning to look like a case
Beginning to look like a case

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.

Tom’s Dresser: Sliding Dovetails, part 1

Sliding dovetail routed
Sliding dovetail routed

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.

 

Tom’s Dresser – Joinery, part one

Fitting the case top to side panel.
Fitting the case top to side panel.

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.

Tom’s Dresser – Newly Arrived Mahogany

Belize river-salvaged, old-growth Mahogany
Belize river-salvaged, old-growth Mahogany

Received three boards of Belize river-salvaged, old-growth Mahogany from Greener Lumber, LLC. Love the authentic swamp smell. The 1-3/8 x 9 inch board will be for the Top and the two 1-1/8 x 9 inch boards will yield Drawer Fronts. All boards are from log 282. Big thank you to Rich Petty for helping me select these.

I won’t be using this material for a while. Having the actual boards will allow me to plan exact drawer heights and thus the location of  horizontal divider (full shelf) and web frames with confidence.

Relief Carving

Oxalis xOmel from photograph
Oxalis xOmel from photograph

In late 2013 I began to play with relief carving through Mary May’s wonderful online lessons. I do not foresee adding carvings to my furniture designs, however it is fun and adds depth to understanding cutting tools and techniques.

When the rains (hopefully) and short daylight hours of winter hit the driveway workshop, carving is an activity I can enjoy in my office where I have a small bench.

Mary has well over 100 projects with a new project added each week ranging from simple exercises to very complex. I bounced around the lessons, selecting those that were visually compelling or laid a foundation for those that caught my eye.

Here are some images from those early lessons and a few that were of my own conception.

 

 

Tom’s Dresser – Side Assemblies

Side assemblies
Side assemblies

Side panels are attached to legs to form the dresser sides. Interior surfaces are flush to accommodate drawer web frames. There is an approximate 1/8 inch reveal on outer surfaces [from legs to side panels]. Lots of long grain surface, so three floating tenons are mostly to aid alignment during glue up.

Today I did a dry fit and began to plan and mark up joinery for case top and bottom to the side assemblies. I’ll be using half blind dovetails for top and stopped sliding dovetail at the base to create the base.

Tom’s Dresser project begins

I’ve begun to build a dresser of Mahogany and Poplar. The sad aspect is that it shall live in a small, dark closet unseen by its adoring public or even very often by my own eyes. I haven’t built a case piece in a while so I will be savoring this process. Which is one way of saying, “I’ll be moving slowly.”

Mahogany from Hardwood To Go
Mahogany from Hardwood To Go

I sourced some nice Mahogany from Shannon Roger’s Hardwood To Go; three 5/4 by 8 inch wide boards along with two 12/4 [3 x 3] Leg Blanks.

I also ordered old-growth, Belize river-salvaged Mahogany from Greener Lumber LLC to be used for drawer fronts and the top. Those three boards are all from log 282. I have used material from Rich (owner/operator) on a number of fun projects.

Poplar for interior components was sourced from Tom at Soboba Hardwoods [15 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara], my favorite local dealer.