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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1222253
This is the work completed this weekend. It includes rebating the rear of the carcase in preparation for the back (at the end of the build), tuning up the dados for the horizontal drawer blades, and building the drawer blades.

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Rebating the side panels of the carcase is pretty straight forward. The rebate is 6mm x 6mm. Planing the full width is unobstructed.

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However, where the upper and lower panels need a rebate, planing through will lead to gaps in the panels as these end in dovetail pins. There would have not been an issue here had I used mitred dovetails, but this was an oversight at the time. Now I have a couple of choices, one being that I add a bead around the read panel, however I do not want additional adornments on the chest.

The decision is made to use a stopped rebate at each end. If completed at this stage it would lead to a weak set of pins. This is where the rebates would end ...

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Instead, they will stop short of the end at this stage, and the remainder chiselled out after the carcase is glued up (glueing up will support the weakened pins) ..

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The ends of the panel are excavated to start and end a saw cut, and then the shoulders are sawn with a azebiki ...

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You do not need to create a chisel wall for the saw teeth if you knife the line with a Japanese cutting gauge or a thickish knife. This opens a wide enough kerf ...

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No guide, just muscle memory...

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A cutting gauge from each side will clean out the rebates ...

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Cleaning up the dados

The strategy for the dados was to make them 20mm with a power router, which was done, and then fit panels to these. The panels were completed with the assistance of a jointer-planer/thicknesser, and this made it easier to dial them close to 20mm. Final surfacing was with handplanes.

Although the dados were made with a brand new 20mm straight bit, they were not as precise as I would have expected. A little tuning was necessary to bring them to width.

The tool of choice here is a side rebate (rabbet) plane. This one is by Veritas. It is in stopped mode to cut to the end of the stopped dado ...

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This was the fit ...

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A total of 40 dados needed to be tuned (that took a few hours!). The drawer blades below are, in fact, for the 24 drawers, and will be cut to fit the compartments.

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The drawer blades

The design of the chest called for vertical dividers. This would create an emphasis on the vertical. Every apothecary chest I have seen used horizontal dividers/drawer blades as the primary construction. It would have been a lot easier to have done so as well since the bow front could be shaped in, and then the curved drawer blades attached to the carcase. This would have been followed with the individual vertical dividers which, while needing to be aligned, would be straight and uncomplicated to align. Starting with the vertical dividers meant that the bowed horizontal drawer blades presented a complication with alignment.

I built another template ...

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This was similar to the plan drawn up at the start. It differed in that it represented the drawer blades plus the area seated into the 3mm deep dados.

Cut to size ...

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The curved ends were removed ...

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... and a second template made to form the bow front of the drawer blades (above and below) ...

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In the meantime the (horizontal) drawer blades were sawn to size. Not that the grain for all runs across the width of the chest. Expansion takes place front-to-back.

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The sections will still require shaping to a bow ...

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I had a chance to use the mitre gauge I built for the Hammer slider ...

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The shaped merbau drawer blades now need to be given their walnut end faces ...

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These are glued with the aid again of blue tape ..

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The templates from before are now used to shape the ends ...

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And the result is a drawer blade ready to fit into the dados ...

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Fitting next ....

Regards from Perth

Derek
By MartinCox
#1222262
Excellent, methodical work. Would the word professional be appropriate? So good to have a detailed working thread where nobody - to date - has made a negative, unhelpful retort perhaps trying to persuade themselves and others that they could do better.
By Saer Llongau
#1222790
Merbau is fun stuff. Years ago I did a refit on a boat and the client wanted a Merbau floor throughout the entire boat. Nothing is straight and square on a boat so the only way to make the floor parts fit quickly was with a jigsaw. I could cut maybe 2 pieces to fit and then I had to switch to a new blade. I've never gone through so many jigsaw blades :lol:
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By thick_mike
#1222848
AndyT wrote:Impressive, challenging work, as ever.
I predict a spike in worldwide sales of azebiki saws. ;)


I’m googling right now!
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1223228
The previous weekend had seen the completion of the drawer blades. There were 24 to make - 6 rows with curved faces.

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The walnut was flushed ...

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... and then were slid along the dados in the carcase ...

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At this point the build came to a grinding halt. The drawer blades ... dados ... were not coplanar ... level ... damn! We are talking a millimetre here-and-there, but the combination looked terrible.

What went wrong?

It was the marking out. I ignored a very simple rule - I failed to use a common reference point. This should have been done with the dividers installed - with the inside base of the carcase as the reference - and not marked outside the carcase.

I could have repaired the dividers, but I decided to scrap the lot and make new ones, and cut new dados.

The carcase was repaired. The dados were filled in ...

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Flushed ...

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None of this would be visible when the new dados were made.

Then I did what I should have done when marking the positions of the dados - made a series of MDF templates, which could be used as left- and right hands ...

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These were used for all dividers, with a line scored by a sharp knife ...

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The power router and guide were used again. Tempting fate, perhaps, but I was convinced that the fault lay with the marking out, and not the cutting of the dados. I was tempted to just do the dados by hand - I do feel more in control with hand tools - but 40 needed to be done in all, and in hard merbau, before the weekend was over.

I am not going to bore you with pictures of the dados being made. It was the exact same as before ... except this time I did not cut on the wrong side of the line with one! :)

Here is the rear of the chest with the drawer blades inserted ...

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And a couple of the front ...

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The dividers and the drawer blades have yet to rebated to fit the stopped dados, nevertheless the shape of the chest is becoming more defined.

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Regards from Perth

Derek
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By AndyT
#1223237
Ouch! That's a hard lesson there. Good to see you bit the bullet and did it right - I would have been tempted to try and adjust things, which would probably have ended up worse.
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By custard
#1223249
Full credit to you Derek, a bodged repair would have been an insult to your skill. Anyone can make a mistake, but it's what you do then that shows if you're a craftsman or not!

Incidentally, earlier on in this build you used a marking gauge to lay out a chamfer or a bevel. Personally I'd recommend a pencil for that particular application. The problem is that once you reach the gauged line you then have to extend the bevel further than you initially intended in order to remove the knife line. With a pencil line you just plane to the line itself and then stop.

Cracking project, looking forward to seeing more.

=D>
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1224140
Well the carcase was finally glued up, everything square as can be ... and I forgot to take a photo of this! :)

However, while planing the outside, I discovered that the black walnut required nothing more advanced than a simple single-blade common angle plane. Many years ago I received a smoother from Steve Knight. This was the first occasion I got to use it.

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Just wonderful to work this wood!

The next step was to complete the vertical dividers. These were inserted and, with some relief, these were square as well. A reward for attention to detail?

The photo below shows the next steps: the stopped dados need to be extended, and the faces of the dividers need to be shaped to match the angles of the carcase.

The dados are marked to 12mm from the edge ...

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... and chiselled and pared away ...

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These were then glued in place (yes, I got that one! :) ) ...

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During the dry fit I had been careful to fit them flush with the rear rebates, and then saw them parallel. This made it easier to ensure that they were glued square (since the fronts could be flush with the lower edge of the carcase, but not the upper edge, which has an overhang) ...

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Time now to install the drawer blades. These were positioned loose, as before ...

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To fit them to the stopped dados, the front was marked out ...

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Below the rebates are marked and knife walls cut ..

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The first saw cut is across the top to establish the face ...

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Then saw diagonally along the vertical line ...

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.. before finishing on the horizontal ...

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This will maximise obtaining a straight saw cut.

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This is the fit once all is done ...

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The drawer blades will remain loose until the drawers are completed, since they still need to be used as a template for each drawer.

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At the rear of the cabinet, the drawer blades are marked for length and sawn flush (in the photo below, half are flush, with half to go) ...

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All done. Each is marked for repositioning ...

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So that is it for this past weekend. The drawers are next. Curved fronts and compound dovetails. How much fun is that! :)

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Regards from Perth

Derek
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By AndyT
#1224159
Derek Cohen wrote:The drawer blades will remain loose until the drawers are completed, since they still need to be used as a template for each drawer.


That's the sort of casual remark which shows real quality and proper planning. =D> =D>
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1224979
This weekend I spent time preparing to build the drawers for the apothecary chest. There are 24 drawers, which makes 48 drawer sides, plus 24 drawer fronts and 24 drawer backs. And then there are 24 drawer bottoms. And slips for the drawers.

All this before building the drawers can begin. I wonder how long this would take if I did it all with hand tools?

I've been reading the posts by Chris Schwarz about the forthcoming publication of John Brown's “Welsh Stick Chairs”. This was a seminal book in the same manner as James Krenov's "A Cabinetmaker's Notebook". I've not read John Brown's book, and I am looking forward to doing so. I have read Jim Krenov many times. It seems to me that they are similar in the way that they value the craft that is woodworking, and the importance of hand tools. However, they differ in the way they view machines. Krenov used his to prepare the way for hand tools. Brown would have nothing to do with them. It seemed he feared that craft would be lost if machines were used ...

"The hand too maker needs the best bench he can make – or afford! You must know your tools, what they are made of, fine adjustments and sharpening angles. Everything must be clean and sharp. Tools talk to the craftsman, and will let you know when they are right. What the machine does by noisy, brute force, you will be able to do with quiet cunning"

"I would not go so far as to say that there are no skills necessary to working machines. It is important to be able to read and interpret complicated instructions. What you end up with is engineering skills – precision engineering in wood".

Link: http://tonykonovaloff.com/?page_id=54

What has this to do with the work I did this weekend? Well, I could relate to the role of engineer. Preparing the wood for the drawers with my machines was the work of a machinist. Would I have rather spent the time doing this by hand? Well, I have done this in the past - I worked almost exclusively with handtools and a few hand power tools for over 25 years before purchasing a tablesaw, jointer, thicknesser/planer, and bandsaw. I began upgrading these over the past 7 years. I would not go back. Machines do not replace handwork.

The question is whether this compromises the work I do?

The drawers have Tasmanian Oak sides and back. The drawer front will be Black Walnut to match the carcase. The oak has become harder to come by in Perth. I prize it because it is all quarter sawn, which is ideal for drawer sides as it is stable. It is light in colour and a good contrast to dark timbers. But I have so little now. Much of it is narrow boards - I grabbed everything that my local Bunnings store had a few years ago when I heard they were no longer going to sell it.

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These boards would be resawn and book-matched to become the drawer sides ...

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Where my jointer-thicknesser/planer excels is that I can cut the boards to short lengths, and still process them. Shorter boards will not lose much waste when flattening ...

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This was at the end of Saturday. Drawer sides taken to 1/4" and stickered. I have had good fortune with this method in the past. The wood is stable and cleaned up with a cabinet scraper. If there is any slight movement, it will be taken out when dovetailed.

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The black walnut is rough sawn. This board is 1" thick and will make all the drawer fronts.

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The tablesaw is new. The slider is magic to rip as well as crosscut. Here is a Frans and Fritz jig used to quickly rip the short lengths into two sections (= two rows of drawer fronts) ...

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This is just raw material. It does not replace the handwork in building the drawers.

I have begun fitting the drawer sides to the drawer blades ...

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There is so much more still to do ... and I have not even made the drawer bottoms or slips.

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Regards from Perth

Derek
Last edited by Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz) on 29 May 2018, 06:09, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By custard
#1225006
Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz) wrote:The tablesaw is new. The slider is magic to rip as well as crosscut. Here is a Frans and Fritz jig used to quickly rip the short lengths into two sections (= two rows of drawer fronts) ...

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That's interesting.

I often use the sliding table to knock off the wane from waney edged boards,
Saw-Rip-Sliding-Table-02.jpg


And I also use the RUWI system for small workpieces,
Saw-RUWI.jpg


But I've never combined the two as you have done. I don't want to interrupt the continuity of this thread, but maybe later you could post separately on your sliding table rip system?

Thanks
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1225031
Hi Custard

There is quite a bit on the Fritz and Franz jig on the Internet these days. Here is one ...

http://www.core77.com/posts/50559/The-F ... ety-Device

That link also contains a few videos.

This is the original video ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqzVglze9Nk

Regards from Perth

Derek
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1225769
Part eight - I think that this is the 7th weekend of the build. The plan is to start building the drawers, or at least have a plan for the drawers. There is not as much time available this weekend as I would have liked.

First, I needed to complete the drawer sides. About one half of the sides prepared were glued from two sections. The joins needed to be smoothed to leave each side appearing seamless.

I started out using a scraper ..

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.. and ended using a smoother, which was quicker. The smoother was set to take extremely fine shavings - which came off like fine hair - as I did not want to remove any more of the 1/4" thickness than absolutely necessary (the boards began a smidgeon over 1/4", and so ended up close to dammit) ..

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The sides were jointed square on two sides ...

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... and then fitted to the cabinet ...

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It took most of Saturday, but finally ...

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Sunday afternoon arrived and I was back in the workshop. The goal here was to see if my devilish plan for dovetailing curved drawer fronts would work. The following is a test, so let me know what you think and whether you can come up with an easier strategy.

Each row of drawers with be made from a single black walnut board, and so the figure will flow without interruption. Actually, the boards used made two rows each, and all the drawer fronts will come from the same original board.

For now I am using a scrap to test the method. Briefly, the drawer front will remain flat until the sides are dovetailed on, and the curve will be added later.

The first task is to fit the drawer front into the drawer opening, and this requires that the sides are mitred. This was done on the table saw ...

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This is the fit into the drawer opening ...

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The curve can be added by sliding out the drawer front and tracing along the drawer blade ...

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That will be shaped later. For now the challenge is two-fold: firstly, the mitres complicate how the dovetails will join the two parts. In the photo below, what will happen if the walnut receives sockets (as in half-blind dovetails), the tails will extend over the drawer front and into the drawer.

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The solution I came up with was to mitre one side of the drawer front, and rebate the other side ...

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I concentrated on the mitred side today as this is the more difficult of the two.

The first step was to mark the width of the drawer side ...

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The second was to use edge planes (these are by LN) to add a mitre that was square with the angled side ...

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The second challenge would be to secure and transfer the tails to the pin board, then to saw and chisel the sockets. Here is the first challenge ...

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Trying to hold the tail board at an angle, and steady so that it did not move while the tails could be traced to the pin board ... well, I needed another set of hands!

I finally came up with a solution, recalling Alan Peters/Rob Cosman's rabbet trick. In this case, I added two layers of blue tape to create a fence ...

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This made it possible to stabilise the parts ...

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Using blue tape to transfer the markings ...

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Sawn ...

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Kerfs deepened at the baseline end with a kerfing chisel ...

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Clearly my chisels were not sharp enough as the walnut was crumbling ...

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It cleaned up enough to pound the drawer side on ..

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What was reassuring was the tight corners.

The "drawer" was slid into the drawer opening ...

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A bit more practicing, and I will be ready for the real thing.

Any thoughts how else this could be done?

Regards from Perth

Derek