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Monday, February 16, 2015

Bombe Chest - Third Installment

At this point I as still shaping the sides of the chest.  Having used the scrub plane to remove all of the steps from the dado blade, it is time to smooth the surface with a Stanley/Victor  #20 compass plane. This plane is common to ship and boat builders because it can conform to both convex and concave wood surfaces.


I purchased mine on ebay many years ago.  Most of the nickel is still there and the rest of the plane was in good shape.  Of course sharpening the blade is most important.

In the above picture you can see the line scribed on the side from the template.  I need to plane the entire side to the line.

The screw and knob in the middle of the plane allow for adjusting the sole of the plane to fit the contour of the side.


This plane did the heavy lifting in smoothing the sides and bringing the thickness to the final dimension.

As I mentioned I had made templates and jigs to assist with build process.


 These are the side profile templates.  The thin one in the middle is 1/8 in. tempered masonite.  The two wood blocks match the curve on the inside and outside of the case.  They can be pushed along the sides to see that shape conforms from the front to back.


Here is one side almost completed.  The plane of course can not cut all the way to the end since the end blocks are in the way so I used a spokeshave to get close to the end.  

Later I will use a card scraper of smooth out the surface.


One side done. Outside.


This is the inside of the same piece.  I spent as much time on the inside at this point,   probably should not have but I wanted the drawers to slide smoothly against the inside.

There are different styles of bombe chests.  Some do not have curved insides. On those the inside is left flat except for the drawer front.  These are much easier to build since you do not have to shape the drawer sides to match the curved sides.  But I chose to go the whole 9 yards and curve the insides which means later you will see me shaping the drawer sides to fit the case sides.



The next step was to cut out the front curve on each side of the case.  Notice that the curve on the front of the case matches the curve on the side of the case.  So the same template can be used to trace this curve on each side.  Cut it out with a bow saw, jig saw or coping saw.  Leave a little extra and clean it up with a spokeshave. Also, I cut off the top and bottom blocks at this point using a hand saw and table saw.  Make sure they are square.




Next I glued up a panel for the bottom 7/8 in. thick. I laid out the dovetails, cut them and chopped them out.  I am a tails first man.  Then I matched the tails on the bottom to the sides of the chest and traced marks for the pins with a marking knife and pencil.  I use a pencil so that I can the knife line.



Here are the pins laid out.  Notice that I am using one of my blocks to support the chest side in the vise.  This help keep it perpendicular. 


Here I am using both of my curved support blocks to hold the side while I chop out the pins.
Once dovetails were chopped out and fit the two sides where ready to be attached to the bottom.
However, the top needed to be made next.  

I selected two nice looking pieces of 4/4,  milled them to 7/8" and glued them up.  While I was waiting for the glue to dry, I used a dovetail router bit to apply a dovetail shape on only one side of each of the sides.  By only putting the dovetail on one side of the panel allows it to slide more easily into the top.  

Once the top panel glue was dry, I used a dovetail router bit to put a matching one sided dovetail groove in the under side of the top board. This is a stopped groove that does not go all the way through the top.  You do not see the dovetail groove in the front.  I think it stops 3/4 inch from the front.  This half dovetail groove allowed the top to slip on to the two sides without too much trouble.




Once I had dry fit the sides to the top. The carcass is complete but I can not glue it up yet.   

Next is the drawer blades, dovetails and grooves for the drawer runners need to be put into the sides.

I tackle that in the next post.

Regards,
David