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Sunday, November 22, 2015

19th Century Clerks Desk - Building the Desk - Step 4

Using  the full size drawing that I made earlier, I was able to pick up the dimensions for the desk case.
I mill the stock to 3/4 inch and cut the pieces to size.

I marked out the slope of the desk lid which turned out to be 15 degrees.  The top and lid will overhang the sides by 3/8 of an inch.  The front and back will be dovetailed together.  I will make a sliding dovetail to hold on the narrow top piece.

First I am going to cut the sliding dovetail along the top.  Then cut the slope on the sides.

I set up the router table with a dovetail bit to cut a 1/2 inch high dovetail along the top edge. Since cutting the slope will remove the top material I can go past the beginning of the slope with the dovetail, since it is waste.

Cutting the first half of the dovetail is simple.  But I want to cut the other side of the dovetail from the opposite direction in the router table. This saves a second setup with the router bit.  This is dangerous since the router bit wants to pull the work out of your hand.  So I use a stop block to help control the cut.  It is still difficult.

Next to cut the 15 degree slope on to the sides.  I set up my radial arm saw to cut most of it.  Still have to use a hand saw to finish the cut.  Later I decided to make the sliding dovetail a stopped dovetail so I could have used the saw to cut it all since I removed 1/2 inch from the front of the dovetail.

You can see I clamped the wood to the fence to hold it in place, I don't like to get my hands anywhere near the saw blade.

Now I need to layout the dovetails for the front and back.  I pick an arbitrary size and number leaving enough material on the top and bottom.  I will put a groove in the case for the bottom to slip into.  As you can see I like tails first.

Chopping out the tails first.

Sawing the pins next,  always saw on the waste side of the line and leave most of the line when sawing the pins, then chop them out and fit them together.  If you are careful they should just slide together.

Here it is fit together sitting on the frame. Piece of waist molding in place to see how it will look. You can see the sliding dovetail for the small top piece.

I cut a dovetail on the underside of the top piece and slid it on from the front.  I had decided to make it a stopped dovetail so you can not see it from the front of the desk.  Although the lid will cover it when it is closed.

Next I need to put a groove along the bottom to hold in the bottom of the desk.  I will use 1/2 stock glued up to make the bottom panel.

This will complete the desk case construction once the bottom panel is in.  Then I will begin to make the desk lid with bread board ends.

Here is today's video:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

19th Century Clerks Desk - Making the Drawer and Cock Beading - Step 3

Before making the drawer, I wanted to add the pegs to the joints.  This is somewhat decorative and somewhat structural.  I compress the joints with clamps and then drill 1/4 inch holes in the joints.   I add a little glue to the pegs and pound them in with a hammer.  I have some 1/4 inch dowels made from the maple that were made some time ago.  I cut them to 1 1/4 inch pegs.  I measured where I wanted the pegs and made sure that the side pegs did not hit the front pegs.

After the glue dried I cut of the excess with my flush cut saw and then used a paring chisel to get them flush.  Then I sanded the area to clean it up.   They look pretty good.

Next I glued and nailed in the drawer runners and kicker, I used my 19th century nail gun. Glue alone probably would have been enough but a couple of nails is for insurance.

I laid out the drawer using the cutout from the apron and some half inch stock for the sides and back.
The drawer will be 18 inches square.

I laid out the dovetails on the sides, leaving myself enough room for the bottom of the drawer to slip into a grove that I need to cut on the inside.    The size and slope of the dovetails is arbitrary.

I saw the dovetails on the lines and then chop them out with my chisels.

After dry fitting the dovetails, I glue up the drawer.  The bottom is made from 3/8 pine that I glued up to make it large enough to fit the bottom grove.  I beveled the bottom so it fit into the grove.

While the glue was drying, I made the cock beading.  I put a small bead on the edge of the stock using the same router bit that I used to put the bead on the bottom of the apron.
Then I ripped off that piece on the table saw and repeated the process until I had three pieces.  Then I sanded it to get rid of the burn marks.  This cock beading is slightly less that 3/16 of an inch thick.

After the glue dried on the drawer, I made a rabbet 3/16 deep by 3/4 inch all the way around the drawer front.  This made room for the cock beading.  You can see the cut back below.

Now I need to miter the cock beading around the drawer.  It is only necessary to miter the very end of the cock beading.  You then lap the ends which do not show.  This is the small miter that you cut with a chisel.  It takes a little practice but it is not too hard.

The next piece has a small miter to match it and then the remainder behind it is removed so it fits.

Here all the miters are completed and held together with tape.  Now I heat up the Old Brown Glue and glue the cock beading on after removing the tape.

I clean up the glue by sanding and a little hand planing on the sides.

Now for the test fit.  Slid right in, but I need to add the drawer stops yet.

I think it is a great little feature to add to the drawer.  I does take a bit of work though.  And since I cut out the center of the apron and used it for the drawer front the grain of the drawer front matches the apron.

Here is today's video:

Friday, November 6, 2015

19th Century Clerks Desk - Stretchers and Glue up - Step 2

After making the base frame in the last post, I started to make the lower leg stretchers.  These are 1 inch square stock.
Because of the taper of the legs the shoulder of the tenon will have to be at an angle.  I scribe a line from underneath the legs to get the shoulder of the tenon.  The tenon is 3/4 inch long by 3/8 inch thick.  

The tenons and shoulders fit, now I have to chop out the mortises.

I use a drill with a 3/8 bit and drill two holes to start to make the mortise.

Then all I have to do is pare out the waste with a chisel.

I give it a wack with my dead blow hammer and it fits.  Now to do 3 more.

I put tenons on the center stretcher and then put mortises in the side stretchers.

Now I am going to cut out the drawer front from the front apron.  I want to save the material that I cut out for the drawer front so the grain will match.

I use my scroll saw and drill a 3/32 hole in the corner and then cut out the drawer front free hand on the scroll saw.
This worked pretty well, but I have to clean up the opening and the drawer front.  I plan on putting cock beading around the drawer front so it's current size in not a problem.

Here is how it looks after I cleaned up the opening and the drawer front.  Looking good.

Next I need to make the frame to hold the drawer runners and kicker for the drawer.  I use a 1 inch frame along the front and back.  I mortise two drawer runners front to back into the frame.  The runners are 2 inch wide.  Now I need to add vertical runners to hold the drawer left to right.

I glued in the vertical runners to create a channel for drawer.  I added a kicker on the top.

All that remains is to sand the pieces to 180 grit and glue up the frame.
I have used the Old Brown Hide Glue to glue it up. and of course lots of clamps.

In the video I say that next I will start on the desk portion but now I think I will make the drawer next and get  that out of the way.

So here is today's video:

Monday, November 2, 2015

19th Century Clerks Desk - New Project

I have decided to leave the 18th century for awhile and build a piece from the 19th Century.  Although I suppose they did have clerks desks in the 18th century, this one is of my own design which I put together from a number of pieces that I found on the internet.
I did not want to make a large piece that would take up a lot of room, I want something that could be used as a decorative piece for an entrance hall way.

Below are three of the pictures that I found on the internet.  The lower one is too large but I like the design.  The upper left is too small and the upper right is just about right to my eye.

What I have done is select design features from each of these pieces.  I made a full size drawing of the proposed piece.

Then I made a very rough mock up of the proposed dimensions.  I like the height and depth but not the width.  So, I am going to make it narrower.  It will be in two pieces.  A desk on frame construction.

Now that I have a plan and dimensions, I can start.  I am going to use some curly (tiger) maple that I have from a previous project.  I have just four boards remaining, so I hope I have enough.  But this is some beautiful maple.  I did not have any 8/4 for the legs, so I purchased a board from Byler's in Middlefield Ohio.  I hope it matches the sides.

I start with making the legs.  I am going to taper the legs on 2 sides.  This is a common way to do tapered legs.  Federal Period pieces often have the legs tapered on 4 sides but that would not look good on this piece.

Here is the leg stock milled to 2 inches square.  I need to cut it to 32 1/2 inches in length before do the tapers.  The apron of the frame is 4 3/4 inches and will have one drawer.  So the taper begins below the 4 3/4 inches.

I have a tapering jig for 2 sided tapers I made some years ago.  It is just a matter of adjusting the slope and length of the taper for this project.  The blade starts it cut 4 3/4 from  the top and tapers to 1 1/8 inch at  the bottom.

Then I turn it to cut the taper on the adjacent edge.  The curly maple is difficult to cut even on a table saw so it  leaves quite a bit of burn marks.  I will have to plane this off later.

Once the legs are cut, I milled some 3/4 inch stock to 4 3/4 inch wide and put a 1 inch tenon 3/8 inch thick on the ends of each of the pieces.  The piece of stock laying to the left is a board that I have with a 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch mortise cut as a jig for testing my tenon thickness.  I usually cut them a little thick and plane them to size after the mortises are cut.    I will put a peg in the joint later when it is glued up.  

Now I need to cut the mortises in the top of the legs.  I use my hollow chisel mortiser since I have it.  I could cut them by hand or drill and chop them out but this is quicker for me.

After I make the mortises, I lay out the aprons and number the tops and the mortises in the legs.  

Then I clean out the mortises and fit each tenon by planing it to fit the opening.

I like a good snug fit, if I use yellow glue the tenon will swell as soon the the glue goes on, if i fit it too tight I won't be able to get the tenon in once I apply the glue.  If I use hide glue it does not swell as much so I can leave them tighter to start with.

Once I have planed all the tenons, it is time to try a dry fit of all the pieces.  Here is the result.  There is still a lot of work to do on the frame.  I need a drawer opening and drawer runners.  There are also stretchers to be added between the legs.  But it looks good so far. 

Next I want to clean up the burn marks on the legs.  I tried to do it with a hand plane but of the two that I tried they both tore the grain.  I do not have any high angle planes which probably would have helped or may be I just need to really sharpen my plane  blades better. 

I decided to use a cabinet scraper which worked well and did not tear the grain.

All cleaned up and ready for the next steps.  I am going to add the lower stretchers.

Here is today's video: