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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mahogany Curved Blockfront Chest Sides & Bottom Step 2

I had milled up the pine and glued up the bottom.  This is slightly over sized right now.  The front is mahogany.  I have traced the curved pattern for the blockfront on to the mahogany.  I am going to put a large dovetail in the middle of the bottom to attach the two pieces.  Many 18th century pieces have this in the bottom.  This chest at Yale did not but the one at Winterthur does.

Sawing out the dovetail shape

The dovetail fits nice and tight. It will still be glued later.

Cutting out the curves of the blockfront on the bottom piece to prepare for putting a molded edge on it.

Using a router with a cove bit to hog out the majority of the material.

Still need to carve the cove to get the shape that I want on the front.  This is the first piece of molding on the front edge, there is another that is below this.

Getting ready to cut the dovetails by marking them out on the sides and bottom.  I cut a rabbet on the edge 3/32 deep so that the dovetails on the side will be less than 3/4 inches high.  That way the side molding will cover the dovetails completely.

There is a piece on the front edge of the side that has to be removed so that the dovetails will fit.
I also sawed 1/2 inch off of the front edge which I will put back on later to hide the drawer divider dovetails.

Sawing the dovetails on the bottom of the case sides.

Chopping out the pins on the bottom.

Dry fitting the dovetails on the sides and the bottom.

They fit well, so now I am going to make the drawer dividers.  I need 3 of them.  And they will be dovetailed into the sides.

Cutting a 1/2 inch rabbet for the back in the case sides.  You can see I have  already cut 1/8 x 3/4 inch dado in the sides for the drawer runners and dividers.

Bandsawing out the curves on the drawer dividers.

Here are the 3 completed drawer dividers. I used a 1/8 inch beading bit to edges on the pieces. I also used a 1/2 inch rabbeting bit to remove 1/8 inch in the center of each piece.
I glued a piece of soft maple to the back of each piece to help keep them flat and add strength.

Now I need to put a dovetail on each end. Using the router and a 14 degree router bit I cut the dovetail on each side. They are 3/8 inch deep.

Using a two router set up and a jig for the routers to follow. I hog out most of the material with a straight bit and then use a 5/8 14-degree  router bit to make the 3/8 in deep dovetail socket.

It ends up looking like this.  It takes some practise to get it exactly in the middle of the dado groove.
These are about 2  inches long.

Now if I measured correctly, everything should fit together.  Surprise it does!

The 1/2 inch that I cut off will be glued on to the front later to cover the dovetails and create a 1/8 inch space for the cockbeading.

That's all for today. Next up is to make a sliding dovetail to attach the top to the sides.

Here is today's video:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Project Mahogany Curved Blockfront Chest of Drawers - Step 1

I must be stuck on curved blockfront furniture pieces.  I just finished the lowboy that was like that and now I am making a chest of drawers.

I located this piece in a book "American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale",

I also found one documented a Winterthur.  The picture below is the one from Winterthur.   However both were of the same style and size but different wood.

The piece at Yale was made in the Boston area, maker is unknown.  The ball and claw feet have the turned back toe which is common to the Boston area.  

The one at Yale is made from mahogany with a strip to cover the dovetails on the front from the drawer dividers. The one at Winterthur does not hide the dovetails in the front. 

I have not worked with mahogany for quite awhile, for one reason it is quite expensive. I was able to get some nice looking figured mahogany from Irion Lumber, so I think it was worth the price.

The drawer fronts are so curved that you need 2 1/2 inch stock to cut them out much like a bombe chest.

The Yale Furniture Study was nice enough to pull the piece out for me to measure and photograph.
I spent a day there and used a photo to record  the various measurements.

I was able to get the profile of the drawer front.

And examine other construction details.

I made full size drawings, Doug Moulder helped with the molding design and he made a drafting of the full size drawer profile.

From the drawings, I made full size templates of the drawer fronts and drawer dividers as well as the moldings.

I have purchased some 13 inch wide 8/4 mahogany that I plan to resaw to 4/4.  This way I can book match the grain for the pieces that I need.  First I get one side flat with hand planes.  Then I joint one edge on the jointer.  Then I can flatten the other face with my planer.
Now I am ready to resaw.

I have an old 20 inch Delta Bandsaw with 15 inch clearance under the guides. Could probably go 16 inches if I took the top guide off.  I am using a 3/4 inch 4 tpi Sterling blade.  Works well for me.

2 nice pieces.

Resawed all the pieces that I need for the case.

There is a little cupping in a few of the pieces which will mean I have to re-flatten the boards.
Still there is enough thickness to the boards after flattening again.

Below I have glued up the 2 sides and the bottom. They still need to be trimmed to length and width.

This will be the top. I love this grain pattern.

A little more milling to do and then I be able to start the construction of the case.

Here is today's video: