The bombe chest is a Boston piece, so the ball and claw design should follow the Boston design. This Boston foot is noted by the fact that the side two toes are swept back as opposed to the Philadelphia which are straight up and down.
The poplar was relatively soft making it easy to carve but poplar does not hold the detail as well as mahogany or cherry.
Cutting them out on the bandsaw is the same as cutting out any cabriolet leg but smaller. The turns are tight. And cleaning up the bandsaw marks is more difficult because of the short length.
I made five feet and picked the four best of the lot.
Here you can see me working on the fourth one. The brown one in the back of the picture is a plaster cast to help me view the finish foot. I have a number of these plaster casts, Philadelphia, Boston and Newport. I find them very helpful in visualizing the final foot.
I bandsawed the knee blocks which help transition the feet to the sides and bandsawed a small pattern which hangs down from the center of the chest.
Now it is time to assemble the base molding and glue in the feet.
I had ordered the locks and brass pulls which took a long time to be delivered, so I finished the case first. I'll get into the hardware later.
The Finishing Process
I sanded everything to 220 grit. Then I raised the grain with warm water applied with a rag. When it was dry I sanded with 320 grit.
Now I was ready to apply the water based dye. I used Lockwood's dark antique mahogany. I applied the dye with a spray gun. I do not have fancy spray equipment, just an old compressor and a Devilbiss Finishline HVLP gun which I paid about $150 ten years ago. Not sure what they go for now. I also have a Harbor Freight $40 gun which works about the same.
I use a dry spray technique which has a lot of air and not a lot of fluid. This takes about three sometimes four passes to get the color you want. But it does allow you to even out the darker and lighter parts of the wood. This is important with poplar since it has these green patches.
See below the dark patch in the poplar and then the finished look.
It is also difficult to get the dye color finish even because of the bow, there is end grain as the flat part of the side transitions to bow.
After the dye spray dried, I rubbed it out with 0000 steel wool, this removes any fuzzies that the water dye creates.
Then I applied Waterlox Original Sealer Tung Oil finish with a rag. It takes about six to seven coats to build up the finish. I sand between coats with 400 sand paper or 0000 steel wool.
Last, I apply a paste wax and buff to the shine that I want. That is the finishing process I use most often.
I still had to put the locks and pulls on the drawers. I mortised the locks into the rear of each drawer, Since the drawers are serpentine I had to bend the locks slightly of make them fit properly into each drawer.
The same was true for the drawer pulls and eschutcheon plates, each had to be bent to match the curves. While they were not severely bent, there was work to do on each one.
Above is a picture while I was bending and fitting the hardware. Once the hardware was installed, I removed it and repeated the finishing process on the drawers that I have detailed above.
This is the finished chest but it has not been rubbed out with wax yet. I dyed the dovetail pins on the drawer fronts dark with a small brush and put blue tape on the tails to keep the dye off of them. This created the contract between the sides and the fronts.
I need to mention that the back and the drawer bottoms where made from 1/4 inch birch plywood. Not very traditional but I worked just fine.
So now the chest is complete. It took me about 200 hours to build the chest and another 50 hours to do the finishing. It was a very rewarding experience and I may build another someday out of cherry or mahogany.