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By AndyT
#950957
I've now made a bit more progress.
I clamped the rails together and marked off the critical 11 1/2" measurement on all of them together:

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then knifed round the lengths on all the pieces, avoiding stray holes

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It's easy to forget just how long this sort of operation takes, but with some music or the afternoon play on the radio, the time passes nicely.

To space out the 3 1/4" between rails I clamped the two sides together and used dividers:

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partly because it's an easy method and partly because I think dividers are such nice tools. This pair can't be very old - they are marked with a maker's name - but they do have plenty of what I think must be hand-filed shaping.

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However, things slowed down a bit when I realised that one of my side boards had split a bit:

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Fortunately it was quite easy to work some glue into the crack and clamp it up, and by the next day it was ok to carry on.

After more marking out, doing my best to get the critical lines square to the front, I could start on the little mortices for the rails.

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With mortices like this, which are wide and short rather than narrow and long, a 'pig sticker' chisel would be no good; but a sash chisel is just right. (In fact, any bench chisel would do, and in practice I used several smaller ones as well.)

This shows one of the rail ends marked ready to cut the tenon, which will be individually fitted to its own mortice

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and here I have a row of completed mortices, ready to start on the housings:

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I hope you can all stand the blistering pace - this post alone is the result of several days work!
Last edited by AndyT on 29 Jul 2017, 11:03, edited 1 time in total.
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By bugbear
#950966
AndyT wrote:

... partly because I think dividers are such nice tools. This pair can't be very old - they are marked with a maker's name - but they do have plenty of what I think must be hand-filed shaping.

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However, things slowed down a bit when I realised that one of my side boards had split a bit:


I (too) love stuff with that kind of shaping, and have "some".

Edit; googling finds:

http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/George_Plumpton

http://www.datamp.org/patents/displayPa ... p?id=36474

BugBear
User avatar
By AndyT
#950970
Thanks BB, maybe they are older than I thought. You probably spotted that they have a little crack - it seems to make no difference to their working so I have not tried any glue...
User avatar
By AndyT
#952510
I have now cut some of the housings for the drawer runners.

The first step was to knife along the top line of where each one will go - a line which neatly runs into the top of each mortice. I want to make the runners a reasonably snug fit into the housings, so rather than mark them all at a measured width, I next chose and marked each piece of oak that would become a runner and cut a stub tenon on to one end.

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With the rails in place in their mortices, I could place each runner into the groove at the back of the rail, and mark the line for the lower edge of the runner with a knife cut.

I could then define the lines properly in the usual way. Cut down with a broad chisel, then in at an angle towards the first cut. Remove the little slivers of wood. Then cut along in the guiding groove, cutting down 1/8" deep.

First time round, I used this Disston tenon saw, which was ok but a bit wobbly;

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I found it easier to use this narrow bladed dovetail saw instead, with my hand down closer to the wood, so switched to that. Although it's filed rip, it cuts very cleanly.

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The mortices provide enough space for the end of the saw to work in.

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Then it's just a case of chiselling out the bulk. First step is to make a little slope at the edge so your cuts can start part way up the slope. Then my preferred way to remove quite thick curls of wood is with a long chisel, bevel up, with the long face/back (whichever you prefer to call it) resting on the horizontal surface.

An ordinary bench chisel will only do this for a few inches of course, and I don't actually have a long paring chisel narrow enough for this job. However I do have a rather smart mortice chisel which is nice and long:

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It's by "Zyto" which was a brand name of Tyzack, the London tool dealers with a long complicated family tree and was a very welcome present from a generous forum member! =D>

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But even that chisel runs out of length after a bit, so it's time to turn bevel down and make light controlled taps on the end of the handle. I find these old Marples splitproof chisels very comfortable if knocking with the heel of the hand. A home-made mallet is fine too.

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After that you can use whatever you like to neaten up the levels. I settled into a pattern of using the little Stanley 271 router for most of it

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followed up by this rather lovely wooden router to set the final depth. It takes plough plane irons like the "granny's tooth" pattern, but is more stable, being that much longer.

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After a few more relaxing hours, this was the result:

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A full set of mortices, housings, rails and runners for the left hand side. The top level will be a bit different, as it will have lap dovetails instead of mortices and rebates instead of housings. That will come later.

First, I need to repeat this session on the other side of the carcase, which I shall probably do off-camera!
Last edited by AndyT on 29 Jul 2017, 11:03, edited 1 time in total.
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By Sheffield Tony
#952572
This project doesn't seem so slow at all (by my standards at least !). That's good progress. I find the saw cuts for housings like that harder than I expected, the long cut leaves nowhere for the sawdust to go,. Any guide block gets in the way, and a moments carelessness can easily leave a mess.

Has your router plane always been a router, or was it a coffin smoother in a former life? I have been using a Stanley 71, it has a bit of an "agricultural" feel to it, and took a bit of fettling to make it clamp the cutter tolerably. Still it seems to leave light scratching on the workpiece, even though the base feels smooth. Would it be a terrible thing to modify an old woodie ...
By Cheshirechappie
#952749
I'm enjoying this one. Really good use of recovered timber.

I'm sure you know this dodge, Andy, but just thought I'd mention that it's worth making the back of the carcase a teensy bit wider than the front - about a bare 1/16" or so. That can make drawer fitting much easier - if by some mischance the carcase ends up wider at the front than the back, there's no way to fit the drawers without a nasty gap between drawer fronts and carcase sides. It seemed timely to mention it now as you're getting to that stage of carcase construction.
User avatar
By AndyT
#952770
Thanks all!

Tony, I think it was made as a router plane, though it has no maker's name. I've seen them illustrated as a standard item somewhere, though they are not common. However, it would be easy to modify a small smoother. You would need to make a long shallow groove down the bed, wide enough for a plough iron and a bit shallower than they are thick, but that would be feasible. I'll take some more photos of it dismantled, when I have finished the housings on the other side.

CC; thanks for the reminder, I'll have a go, but frankly I'll need some compensating errors to work in my favour here! The level of precision routinely achieved on things like Victorian desks and wardrobe drawers is really impressive. I'll be pleased if my drawers open and shut :wink:
User avatar
By AndyT
#954323
Before working on the housings on the other side of the carcase I decided to have a go at the runners and rails at the top. These have to be a bit different, as you can't do a mortice and tenon joint right on the edge. The usual way is to use lap dovetails.

So here's the top front rail being marked out. I've already marked the internal measurement - the standard 11½" - and am marking the dovetail with a little marker I made. It's ebony - from an old piano key - and brass, riveted together.

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The classic technique is to have the work projecting above the edge of the bench by the depth of a plane, then move the plane to the back while you mark out the position. So I had a go, also being careful to check for square

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Cutting this out needs sawcuts to either side and then chiselling in the middle. I didn't take many photos of this - I'm sure it will be familiar stuff - but would just comment that it would be nice to see a few demos online or in books that aren't just on diddy little bits of wood. For the first one, I tried holding the work vertical in the vice and kneeling on the floor to make the cuts. For others I held it flat on the bench and sawed down. I probably got the best results when I sat on the work, so I was facing into the room and sawing out from the edge of the bench.

I'm not sure what the real cause was - let's say I should have chalked the dark wood first so I could see the line I was aiming at, or I should have gone out and bought some blue masking tape like Derek Cohen uses - but I didn't. :oops: The result of this was that my first lap dovetail on this project was embarrasingly dodgy; skilled readers can look away now, or go and look at some of Bern's beautiful little markers to take the taste away:

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As you can guess, this was rather wobbly and was not going to make a nice strong cabinet!

I could have made a new rail with a wider dovetail, but I decided that I would take the easy way out, and told myself that sometimes people like to see how lazy woodworkers get out of their mistakes... so I looked around for a sliver of suitable wood to glue into the hole to make it smaller.

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How to hold it in place while the glue sets? I do recommend that, if you find yourself cutting lots of little wedges, you keep a box of them handy. These were actually from sawtooth strips as height adjustment on a bookcase years ago, but do often come in useful for odd things.

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A few of these will neatly fill up a gap like this and allow just enough wedging action to hold the mend in place:

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When the glue has set you can trim back into the new wood and get a proper snug fit:

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This is now a working, effective joint. Considering that it will be entirely invisible to everyone except for some future woodworm (and they are probably blind anyway) that's good enough for me! :lol:
Last edited by AndyT on 29 Jul 2017, 11:04, edited 1 time in total.
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By Sheffield Tony
#954558
That's reassuring. I'm working towards being a better cabinet maker by working around lots of mistakes :D

The lapped dovetails. I've just been doing some of those and found sawing the pins right first time a bit tricky. I remembered an article in Fine Woodworking I think, where he stacked all his drawer fronts together, with each one stepped back from the one below a bit. That way the whole set can be clamped down once, while - dispensing with the saw altogether - you hack out the waste with a chisel, then pare down to your gauge lines. I found this to be quick and accurate. Worth considering anyway.
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By AndyT
#954893
Ok tool spotters, here we go with the housings on the other side. Somehow I seem to have acquired a new-to-me ¼" paring chisel from Bristol Design.

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No visible maker's name but it's a nice slender thing. Do I really need one to make long housings? Obviously not, but it's nice to have and experiment with. It's clearly not a tool to whack with a mallet. Indeed, it's flexible enough that I could use it to reach over and cut at the far end, flexing the tool down enough to make it cut while still holding the handle. Not easy to photograph with one hand on the camera, but something like this:

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If these were through housings, it would all be much easier. You can use a dado plane for them, or a rebate plane if you have one narrow enough. This one is French, I think, judging from the shape of the wedge and the fact that it came with a box of planes that were marked by a French maker.

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I reckon the size marking looks French too, even though it's not in SI units:

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It's just about usable for a few inches, but doesn't really help on this job.

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So here is the left hand side of the cabinet, with the mortices and the housings cut.

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It really is a different photo from the one I showed you a few weeks ago - that was the right hand side:

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Obviously different!

More soon - thanks for watching! :)
Last edited by AndyT on 29 Jul 2017, 11:04, edited 1 time in total.