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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bombe Chest - Second Installment

Well thanks for all of the encouragement to continue the bombe chest build.  We left off with hogging out the material to make the bulbous sides.

No one made a comment about the modification to the radial arm saw.

The cabinet side was about 20 inches wide and the radial arm did not have enough travel for the blade to reach the end of the work piece.

So I had to add about 4 1/2 inches to the radial arm, which was made from cast iron.


I took a piece of white oak and made an extension exactly like the track that the saw ran on.  Long 1/4 inch bolts holds it in place with tapped and threaded holes in the end of the arm.  The little piece of metal on the end stopped the saw from running off the end.

Now the dado would run clear to the end of the table which was necessary to cut the cabinet sides.

Once the initial step cuts were made in the sides, it was time to start to clean up the steps and smooth both side to the lines of the pattern which were traced on the sides.

The ends will be cut off later but for now they help square up the side panel.  Also there is a support piece I left in the underside that will be chopped out later.   You can see how much material has been hogged out by looking at the ends.  Imagine wasting all that expensive mahogany just to get this shape.  I suppose you could veneer the popular if you wanted a show wood.

One way to do it in the 18th century before power tools, they would saw kerfs across the board about 1 inch apart and then chop out the material with a chisel.

Here I am using a Stanley #40 scrub plane which has been reconditioned.  New blade and brass leaver cap.  The leaver cap doesn't have a leaver just a threaded brass knob.
The blade has a curve to it which cuts a shallow depression.  But it takes a lot of material off quickly.
You can see above that the steps are getting knocked off the top of the bulge.  The lines created by the saw kerfs help my eye maintain the shape horizontally.

Another View of the progress

 All Scrubbed!  Now I still have to get it smoothed and to the line.  There is about 1/32 inch to go for the most part at this point to get the material to the line.  I still have to do the other side first.

Here I am working on the inside curve.  I have knocked off the center support and now scrubbing the steps off.   The Stanley #40 did a great job and made quick work of shaping the sides.

All Scrubbed front and back.  You can see the Stanley #40 laying there on its' side on the bench,  I think it is tired and needs a rest.

One done, now I have to do the other side.   Back to the scrub plane.   I think my arm hurts at this point.   

We will work on getting it smoothed out in the next installment.




  1. What a marvelous adaptation on the radial arm saw. You have me glued to my computer with this build, David.

  2. The modification of the radial arm saw was completely ingenious. I am sorry that I didn't immediately launch a comment on that stroke of inspiration ... but that oaken extension has been in my mind ever since I first saw it.

    1. Chris, Thanks for your comment. It was the only thing I could think of to complete the project at the time.