Author Topic: Apothecary chest  (Read 4762 times)

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Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 170
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Re: Apothecary chest
« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2018, 09:43 AM »
I was in two minds whether to post this, but since the method is a practice, it would be great to get feedback, since the strategy I have come up with is complex. Can you do this another way?

Each row has 4 drawers, and these will be shaped to match the bow across the chest.

At the start, the drawer fronts are to be left straight. This maintains the reference sides. The ends of each drawer front have been bevelled to match fit the bow of each drawer blade.

This is a fitted (practice) drawer front (posted last time) ..

The drawer side has been dovetailed to the obtuse angled side (again, details in my previous post:  ...

The need now is to dovetail the acute angle ...

This is where it gets interesting. It you look at the lines drawn on the drawer side, if made coplanar with the drawer front, the dovetails will need to me cut at an angle. That is much too complicated, and likely to be a poor fit.

Then, if the baseline is cut square (as usual), the dovetail will end up in the centre of the side (and not extending up from edge of the board).

The only way I could come up with for a fit that simplified the tail board was to rebate the pin board, so ....

The rebate needs to be as deep as the drawer side (for a flush fit), and square to the side (so the baseline of the tail board fits flush).

The first step is to mark the baseline ...

On the piece above, you can also see the rebate markings.

The rebate is now cut parallel to the side ...

Remove some of the waste with a chisel ...

Now that rebate needed to be both straight and flat. It needs to be an equal depth along its length.

It could have been chiselled, but that is less efficient. A shoulder plane as this would not ensure a square shoulder without extra work to create an absolutely square edge for a tight fit. In the end I came up with this idea to plane it using a LN Edge Plane.

A spacer was attached to plane to the 1/4" depth ...

The finish was spot on ...


The rear of the tail board, with blue tape used to create a fence ...

Tails on pins ...

The socket shoulders are deepened to create a socket that undercuts the baseline ..

Because the angle was so difficult to chisel, a trimmer router was used to remove most of the waste ...

... before the remainder was removed ...

Coming together

The fit ...

The angle ...

This is a rough idea of what it will look like once the drawer front is shaped ...

The two sides that must be made for all drawers ...

Regards from Perth


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Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2399
Re: Apothecary chest
« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2018, 03:51 PM »
Fantastic update, Derek!

I think what you have outlined will work.  It's tedious, but I can't think of another way to easily deal with the complexity of the curve and dovetails.

Are you thinking you'll bandsaw or plane the curve into the front?  You might consider a 'carrier' to let you place the drawer fronts in an arc cutting jig if you are going to use the bandsaw.  This might get you 'close' to the final curve with minimal planing needed.

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 170
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Re: Apothecary chest
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2018, 01:55 AM »
Thanks Neil.

I will use the drawer blade as a template to mark out the front curve, then bandsaw the waste and finish either/both with rasps and a smoother. The inside curve can then be marked from the outside, and waste removed in a similar way.

Regards from Perth


Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 725
Re: Apothecary chest
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2018, 12:24 PM »
I like the approach.  I might be tempted to clamp on a little more bearing surface for the trim router.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 4473
Re: Apothecary chest
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2018, 10:02 AM »
Nice stuff... [big grin] ...I like the rebate idea. The curves on the drawer fronts will be really interesting. [tongue]

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 170
    • In The Woodshop
Beginning the drawers
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2018, 11:20 AM »
This is just a taste of what I will be doing for a few more weekends.

A bench shot for those that like to see how others work ...

Below I have a few shots of the dovetailing (again). These are more to show specific strategies used, rather than dovetailing as a procedure.

The drawer fronts are moved a couple of mm past the front of the drawer blades, and marked all round ...

In an early post I showed how a bevel was formed on the drawer front to create a square junction with the drawer side. The bevel is seen below the blue tape ...

The ends of the drawer front angle, and it is not possible to use a jig to align it with a side. I never do this anyway, and simply use a wide chisel ...

It's a bit of a balancing act, but the blue tape acts like a non slip, and the knife only has to make one cutting stroke to sever the layer of tape. This reduces the chance of movement and error ...

The kerfs are sawn, and then deepened with a kerfing chisel. Note that the ends of the board are supported by a clamp to prevent splitting ...

Rather than chop out the waste, I used a trim router to remove move of it. This saved a lot of time ...

When removing the remaining waste, I found that the thinner blades of the Blue Spruce "dovetail" chisels worked best to pare away thin slices to the line..

The Blue Spruce fishtail chisel is my favourite for clearing the corners of sockets ...

The completed socket ..

I counted on the parts going together off the saw, that is, no fine tuning for a fit. There is just not enough time for correcting the fit. This was the last drawer for the weekend. Much the same as the others. Just pushed together - no clean up ...

This was the first row, shown here to get a better view of the design ...

This is two rows - of drawers dovetailed on one corner only. And these twelve required an average of 1 hour each to complete ...

The next weekend should see the remaining drawers complete this dovetailed end. I am hoping that I shall find a way to speed the time taken for dovetailing, but I am estimating that it will require a further 3 weekends to complete the drawers.

Regards from Perth

« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 11:30 AM by derekcohen »

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2399
Re: Apothecary chest
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2018, 01:14 PM »
This is an heirloom quality piece, Derek.  No need to rush it.  I hope you are sharing the progress with your wife, since it's a gift for her!

Did you make the kerfing chisel?  I've never seen one before, but wow, what a great idea.

Thanks for sharing the progress with us!


Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 170
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Apothecary chest
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2018, 01:21 PM »
Hi Neil

Thanks. The kerfing chisel was something I came up with several years ago. The details are here:

Regards from Perth