Quite a few years ago I thought I was ready to build real complex period furniture. So I picked one of the more challenging pieces a Bombe Chest with ball and claw feet. Boy was I in for a surprise. I thought making the case was the tough part but that turned out to be easy compared to the drawers.
I obtained a set of plans from Craig W. Bentzley. They were excellent. You can get them too by contacting him at email@example.com.
I was not doing videos in those days so all I have are still pictures. I will be posting them here if you want to follow along with the build.
A fine piece of furniture like this needs to be made from mahogany. One thing that makes this piece so expensive is most of it is built from 12/4 stock. Drawer fronts, sides and feet. So I contacted Irion Lumber for pricing. It turns out that the mahogany would have been about $1800 then. Imagine what it would cost today.
I was not all that confident in my skills then and I did not have a spare $1800. to produce fire wood. I decided to build the piece with Poplar. Yes, the lowly poplar wood, probably the cheapest of the hardwoods. Even at that, the poplar cost about $400 for the 12/4 stock.
Here it is, three 10 foot pieces of poplar. It had good grain and color. The three pieces were about 15, 12 and 8 inches wide. There is a little more than necessary but I thought I might make a couple of mistakes.
I started with carcass sides, thinking that this would be the hardest part. I flattened with hand planes and squared up the stock of two pieces 20 inches wide by about 24 inches tall. I had to glue up two pieces each to get the width since my widest stock was one 15 inches.
Then I made a template with cardboard of the shape of the side of the bombe chest. I traced the shape on the side.
Now I was ready to hog out the inside and outside of the two bulbous sides.
You can see the pattern traced on the side of the panel. I used my radial arm saw with a 3/4" dado blade to hog out the material in steps. I raised and lowered the saw to follow the line leaving about 1/16" off of the line in each pass. It it difficult to see the steps in this picture. You can see them a little better below. I have to do this on both sides of the chest.
I will continue soon with next steps in the bombe chest build. Hope you enjoy the journey.