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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Chipman Oxbow Chests Plans Bottom & Molding Step 1

Well here we go again.  I have a client who wants two of these John Chipman Oxbow Chests.  The original pair are in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the US State Department.  I hope to go see them in the next few weeks.

I have obtained the overall dimensions from documentation. I converted the pictures to PDF's This allows me to convert the pictures to line drawings with software and then scale them up to actual size.


By doing this I am able to figure out the drawer sizes, thickness of the sides, size of the feet and drawer dividers.  Pretty much the whole chest.  I don't have a side view picture but I made a drawing based on what I know.

After making the drawings, my next step is to make templates and a story stick for the chests.
The story stick lays out the drawers and divider separation.  The other templates layout the curved drawer fronts and bottom molding.



Typical of Boston and Salem chests of that period (1760-1785) the craftsman made a large dovetail in the base molding to attach it to the bottom of the chest.

I started by milling some eastern white pine to make the bottom to 7/8 inch. The case is 36 inches wide and 21 1/4 inches deep.


You can see by the template how the base molding is made and attached to the bottom.

I made a practise piece out of soft maple, I did not want to waste the expensive mahogany if I made a mistake.
The base molding is 1 5/8 inches thick by 4 3/4 inches deep and 38 inches wide.



The molding pattern is a roman ogee with at 1/2 inch radius. I'll have to carve the blocking line in the curves to make it crisp.


Looks good, so now I can make it out to mahogany.
This mahogany I purchased from Irion Lumber.  Mostly 8/4 figured mahogany. I hand planed one side so I could see the figure and decide which pieces I want to use for which parts of the chest.


I will need the sides right after I make the base molding so I resawed four pieces of 8/4 to make the sides after book matching and gluing up the panels.





To make the molding I traced the template on to a piece of mahogany 1 5/8 inches thick by 4 3/4 x 39

Then I band sawed the oxbow curve on the front and cleaned it up with a spoke shave.


Then I used the roman ogee bit to make the profile on the front of the molding.


Next I need to saw the back of the molding to start to make the dovetail.  These cuts need to be straight and accurate because they will be glued to the bottom board.  I use a stop cut on the table saw and then finish the cuts with a hand saw.


Using a hand saw here to cut out the dovetails on the back.


Using a hand saw here to cut out the matching dovetail on the bottom. I had traced the pattern from the dovetail on the front molding.


If you are careful with your sawing it should fit right in. This one looks good


The side molding is made of two pieces.  The molding extends one inch from the side and the same 1 5/ 8 inches high.  There is a 3/4 inch piece 3 inches wide that slides under the bottom. The molding has 1/4 inch mortise which the 1/4 inch tenon on the 3 inch piece fits into. This allows for the miter on the end and a straight edge to go into the front molding.


The bottom will have a dado of an 1/8 inch deep to lower the dovetail line on the side to 3/4 inch so the side molding will hide them.


So that is it for now. The next step is to cut the dado in the bottom and layout and cut the dovetails for the sides and bottom.


Here is today's video: