• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

chest of drawers WIP

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Sheffield Tony

Ghost of the disenchanted
Joined
2 Aug 2012
Messages
2,078
Reaction score
89
Location
Bedfordshire
Interesting to see thoughts on hand work methods that could be done quickly. There was some study of hand cut dovetails in Mortise and Tenon which showed overcut half blind dovetails, which I see you haven't gone for, although I think you mentioned it in the past.

To hand saw the tails at a reasonably consistent angle, would it be easier to clamp the board at an angle in the vice and saw straight down one side of each tail, adjust the board angle and do the other side of the tails ? It is easier for most folk to judge a vertical cut than a consistent angle. Accepting that the consistency is mostly aesthetic.
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
12,028
Reaction score
514
Location
Bristol

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
Sheffield Tony":11l5mf18 said:
Interesting to see thoughts on hand work methods that could be done quickly. There was some study of hand cut dovetails in Mortise and Tenon which showed overcut half blind dovetails, which I see you haven't gone for, although I think you mentioned it in the past.
They are all overcut very slightly, or supposed to be. It only needs a 0.5mm past the line to make cleaning out the corners easy. On old work it's often highly visible with saw cuts well past the line - DTs weren't intended to be looked at and admired!
To hand saw the tails at a reasonably consistent angle, would it be easier to clamp the board at an angle in the vice and saw straight down one side of each tail, adjust the board angle and do the other side of the tails ? It is easier for most folk to judge a vertical cut than a consistent angle. Accepting that the consistency is mostly aesthetic.
No prob eyeballing after a few goes. I haven't checked back with a protractor but they look good enough for me. Luckily I don't particularly accept that consistency is aesthetic!
 

xy mosian

Established Member
Joined
21 Feb 2009
Messages
2,910
Reaction score
42
Location
West Yorkshire
AndyT":3oh0jebi said:
That review on Core77 of Joel Moskvich's class on dovetails is worth a look. In my opinion, Joel's someone worth paying attention to - he's interested in old ways of working and the efficiency of hand tool working.

For his own, briefer account, have a look at his own blog here

https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/sto ... ling+Skill

and here

https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/sto ... ving+Waste

I recommend subscribing to his blog in your RSS feed reader of choice.

I like Joel's thoughts about slim pins. However I notice that he is using vertical saw cuts to help with waste clearance between tails. I do not remember if I was taught this, in the '60s, but I have always angled saw cuts across the waste to leave a small triangle to be chiselled out. I do not cut many dovetails but cuts made in that seem to help.
xy
 

MikeG.

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,158
Reaction score
672
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
Jacob":38l4hvxl said:
......... DTs weren't intended to be looked at and admired!........

Generally true, but not universally true. Not all furniture was "country" furniture.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
xy mosian":352igucr said:
....
I like Joel's thoughts about slim pins. However I notice that he is using vertical saw cuts to help with waste clearance between tails......
Yes definitely.
Freehand single kerf DTs (so called "London pattern" for no good reason) probably the easiest and fastest. You don't bother marking up for pin holes at all but just do single vertical cut first, as near as you can judge the right spacing, then start the cuts for the bevels with the saw in the top of the kerf already there. Over cut the line by a fraction and the waste pops out with just one mallet/chisel stroke each side. Though you then have a bigger socket to excavate.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
MikeG.":3zu6gah7 said:
Jacob":3zu6gah7 said:
......... DTs weren't intended to be looked at and admired!........

Generally true, but not universally true. Not all furniture was "country" furniture.
Technique the same but just more careful.
I always thing "country" furniture is a misnomer - they made cheaper furniture in the towns too. Sheraton, Hepplewhite, Chippendale were all country furniture makers until they moved to London where the money was, and "fine" furniture was made all over the place
 

MikeG.

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,158
Reaction score
672
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
Jacob":prdsbwbg said:
MikeG.":prdsbwbg said:
Jacob":prdsbwbg said:
......... DTs weren't intended to be looked at and admired!........

Generally true, but not universally true. Not all furniture was "country" furniture.
Technique the same but just more careful.
I always thing "country" furniture is a misnomer - they made cheaper furniture in the towns too. Sheraton, Hepplewhite, Chippendale were all country furniture makers until they moved to London where the money was, and "fine" furniture was made all over the place

Indeed. "Country" was a category, rather than a location.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
MikeG.":1oaee3q0 said:
Jacob":1oaee3q0 said:
MikeG.":1oaee3q0 said:
.......
Generally true, but not universally true. Not all furniture was "country" furniture.
Technique the same but just more careful.
I always thing "country" furniture is a misnomer - they made cheaper furniture in the towns too. Sheraton, Hepplewhite, Chippendale were all country furniture makers until they moved to London where the money was, and "fine" furniture was made all over the place

Indeed. "Country" was a category, rather than a location.
To be honest I'm more interested in "country" than the posh stuff. It's all made to a budget, high or low, but the low end stuff is often ingenious in the way corners are cut (or not!) and has more in common with the modern movement - plain, simple, utilitarian, optimum use of materials etc
 

MikeG.

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,158
Reaction score
672
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
Jacob":18ojtamd said:
........To be honest I'm more interested in "country" than the posh stuff. It's all made to a budget, high or low, but the low end stuff is often ingenious in the way corners are cut (or not!) and has more in common with the modern movement - plain, simple, utilitarian, optimum use of materials etc

Yep. Me too. Tells you more about social history than the fancy stuff ever does. In the same way I am much more interested in country cottages, farms, ancient industrial buildings, and agricultural outbuildings than I am in stately homes.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
MikeG.":1i3igxyd said:
Jacob":1i3igxyd said:
........To be honest I'm more interested in "country" than the posh stuff. It's all made to a budget, high or low, but the low end stuff is often ingenious in the way corners are cut (or not!) and has more in common with the modern movement - plain, simple, utilitarian, optimum use of materials etc

Yep. Me too. Tells you more about social history than the fancy stuff ever does. In the same way I am much more interested in country cottages, farms, ancient industrial buildings, and agricultural outbuildings than I am in stately homes.
And you can see what they've been up to - pit saw or adze marks on the backs of boards, over cut and irregular DTs where they've been in a hurry, faint plane marks even on the best faces, gauge and pencil marks, all interesting stuff!
And repairs - my favourite are the very surgical bits of wrought iron formed into purpose made brackets etc around breaks. Sometimes finely feathered off so you would hardly notice they were there.
 

toolsntat

Yep, I collect tools and tat
Joined
8 Dec 2007
Messages
2,135
Reaction score
343
Location
Leicestershire England
For speed without finess the use of extended saw kerfs could be considered as in this study of John Head's workshop circa 1735/1736. It does look very unsightly but the aim was to give a strong efficient joint without interference to the look of the drawer front. Unless the drawer was pulled out it would largely go unnoticed.
https://cstorb.wordpress.com/2018/10/22 ... h-drawers/
Cheers Andy
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
Interesting free DT shapes. I've seen over cuts but never as much as that! Either way, pin holes or sockets, it makes it easier to remove waste.
Nailed on bottoms a good idea too. No messing about and plenty of surface area to wear. I've got an old Welsh table with an oak drawer made like that but nailed all round - no DTs at all. It's stronger - the weight of the contents is taken direct to the runners and not via a tapered edge narrowly inserted into a slot or slip.
I do like stuff like that it's like a breath of fresh air compared to some over fussy and over perfect work.
 

Sheffield Tony

Ghost of the disenchanted
Joined
2 Aug 2012
Messages
2,078
Reaction score
89
Location
Bedfordshire
toolsntat":2zbuz6lt said:
For speed without finess the use of extended saw kerfs could be considered as in this study of John Head's workshop circa 1735/1736. It does look very unsightly but the aim was to give a strong efficient joint without interference to the look of the drawer front. Unless the drawer was pulled out it would largely go unnoticed.
https://cstorb.wordpress.com/2018/10/22 ... h-drawers/

That is what I was meaning by overcut half blind dovetails in my earlier post. I thought Jacob might try that way. It is ugly though.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
Sheffield Tony":35u2m5u4 said:
toolsntat":35u2m5u4 said:
For speed without finess the use of extended saw kerfs could be considered as in this study of John Head's workshop circa 1735/1736. It does look very unsightly but the aim was to give a strong efficient joint without interference to the look of the drawer front. Unless the drawer was pulled out it would largely go unnoticed.
https://cstorb.wordpress.com/2018/10/22 ... h-drawers/

That is what I was meaning by overcut half blind dovetails in my earlier post. I thought Jacob might try that way. It is ugly though.
Once the drawer is full of underpants and T shirts you wouldn't notice. Do you look at the sides of the drawer every time you open one? :lol:
 

memzey

Established Member
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
1,753
Reaction score
13
Location
St. Albans
Any progress to share on this one Jacob? Would be good to see how it’s coming together.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
Been away for a fortnight. Back to the workshop shortly.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
Getting speedier! Believe it or not!
Missed a lot out - it's more work doing forum than the actual woodwork! Hoping to get it all on my new website one day so it's good practice.
Target is “to be as fast as possible and consistently just good enough”. This means there is scope for improvement - in fact it should come automatically with practice.
Pins holes all cut freehand. No need for angle markers, bevel etc. Could be spaced out with dividers if you want to be very neat. No need for coping saw - as you chisel any waste jammed in the hole you just poke out when the cut is through. Larger holes leave a bigger waste piece sticking out - tap it back in and it falls out. Marking up for pin holes requires some thought - the lowest tail needs to cover the slot in the front piece but the details are different at the back, which ends on top of the bottom board and is usually cut shorter than the sides so it doesn’t get snagged if the drawer is pulled right out.
DTs freehand but all other marking out must be spot on. Face and edge marks so that you get the pieces orientated the right way around.
Shoulder lines with cutting gauge as all across the grain. Two needed as fronts are usually thicker than backs. Just yer ordinary wooden ones - a pleasure to use and often dirt cheap on eBay. The line must be fairly deep so that you can actually just drop your chisel in (and feel it) for the last chisel cut. This ensures a clean cut visible edge in a straight line, even if the face of the cut is undercut or has spelched out - as it does with soft pine.

Transferring marks:
Bright light needed.
Line up edge of end board in vice with nice piece of MDF or anything:
dtgap0.jpg

THEN - the magic trick - shift the MDF back a touch to show a dark shadow line:
dtgap1.jpg

Then lay side board on (make sure it’s the right one and right way around - check the marks). and adjust to make the shadow line just disappear.
dtgap.jpg

dtready.jpg

Then mark with a little squared off craft knife - just pressed in - no scoring/slicing etc. Can be done with the side piece just held down with hand pressure, but the slightest twitch and you are off line, so I devised an extremely simple hold down - a coach bolt through the bench top and a short beam with a slot to slide on to the bolt. The longer/heavier the beam the greater the holding power, or just add a weight at the end. I save lead scraps and melt them in empty baked bean tins for general purpose weights.
dtholdfast.jpg

dtholdfast1.jpg

Holding set-up takes seconds and means you can tap the marking chisel/knife with a light hammer for a clear mark, without it dislodging the holding set-up.
The beam can be left in place or slid off the bolt.

dtknife.jpg

The marks! Now to be sawn freehand but keeping just to the side of the mark
dtmarks.jpg

Going OK so far and large numbers of DTs are becoming much less of a tedious challenge.
Target - all 150 or so DTs in one day. Should be possible
dttools.jpg

dttools1.jpg

PS am particular pleased with the hold down. Short of having something pneumatic with a push button I can't imagine anything simpler or easier to use. It's a bit like a shave horse holding but works just by weight. Could have a cord and pedal for more pressure on other jobs?
PPS the little hammer is for the marker and also for micro adjusting the boards' positions when held in the vice and hold down.
NB ALL the saw cuts must to be over the line by a gnats - it makes it much easier to chisel out the waste. If you are careful it can be invisible
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
Instead of hogging Derek's thread I've moved this lot here instead:
...... The clamping method could not be easier.
Easier clamping method below
The most important quality in any work - especially as we get older - is not just working to the lines ... it is being able to see the bloody lines! This is a big factor for me here. The reason I can rout so close to the lines is that the method is geared towards visibility. Any bloody fool can work to a line ... but us old farts cannot always tell where they are! :)
Well yes. I need to get close up, without specs, even varifocals not good enough. Luckily I've got good near sight in one eye.

Fact of life - this simple chisel chop is near impossible until the piece is firmly held down, then it's quite easy. Holding vertically in a vice wouldn't do it it'd be too springy - it has to be held down to something solid.
IMG_2906%20copy.JPG

IMG_2907%20copy.JPG

Sharpening has to be done every few minutes. Leave it too long and it takes much longer. Oil stone, oil, magnet to remove swarf, 3m diapad to freshen stone, strop for a bit of a polish, oily rag
IMG_2908%20copy.JPG

Chopping board. MDF. Stop fixed underneath to bear against back beam of bench
IMG_2909%20copy.JPG

Movable stop on top (drill more holes for change of position)
IMG_2910%20copy.JPG

The whole set up. Work piece in place. Big enough to hold the whole side of a chest o drawers so you could do all the DTs on one end in one sitting. Clamp beam slots (removable) on to bolt through bench at right hand end, weighted at left hand end by two bean tins with lead scraps melted in, and a piece of string.
Quick release is the little piece of wood under the beam. Turn it vertical and it lifts the beam and you can take out the workpiece. Turn it back and it returns to the same setting. Change setting by turning the nut - fingers if not loaded, spanner otherwise.
IMG_2911%20copy.JPG
IMG_2912%20copy.JPG

IMG_2913%20copy.JPG

IMG_2914%20copy.JPG

Vice is still free. Used here to mark up worpiece direct i.e. not from drawer side pin holes as this is just a demo. The ideal tool - a very thin chisel end craft knife. Little tap with hammer. Thin enough to go into single kerf tiny pinholes. Two cutting gauges - stay set throughout the job.
IMG_2916%20copy.JPG

Scribing lines
IMG_2917%20copy.JPG

First cut - just a tap in the line to deepen it. Good reason for this - you want the waste to drop out neatly from the line on this first cut then you don't have to touch it again. The rest of the waste will follow pretty well but you can clean it up if necessary without having to rework to the line itself.
IMG_2919%20copy.JPG

IMG_2920%20copy.JPG

IMG_2922%20copy.JPG

IMG_2925%20copy.JPG


PS - these 4 photos above were my eureka moment on how to cut DT sockets. :lol:
NB just like cutting mortices which I already knew. :roll:

Then clean out corners with 10 and 4mm bevel edge chisels
IMG_2926%20copy.JPG

IMG_2928%20copy.JPG

Tidy up
IMG_2929%20copy.JPG

At this point you can trial fit the side piece - no need to remove the workpiece yet, adjustments made in situ. One I did earlier:
IMG_2897%20copy.JPG

Release workpiece with quick flip of the wrist
IMG_2930%20copy.JPG

IMG_2931%20copy.JPG

The whole set up
IMG_2932%20copy.JPG

IMG_2933%20copy.JPG

With seat and lamp
IMG_2921%20copy.JPG

PS just noticed I forgot to do any saw cuts. Didn't miss them! Learn something new every day!
The chisel was a little nub end of a 1" firmer. Firmer better for wedging out the waste, like a mortice chisel. Bevel edge only for when you need to get into corners.
Short chisel handy if you are working from a sitting position. If too difficult (Jarrah?) a narrower chisel would be better - a mortice chisel even.
PPS for me the point of this set up is that it is easier and faster than my other ad hoc earlier set ups. This means you have more time to achieve perfection if that's what you want, though 'just good enough' is good enough for me as a rule.
You could use a router by setting the clamp beam at the right spacing to guide the router. I might try that next time, especially for multiple blind DTs along a chest side, but I wanted to get up to speed with hand tools only.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,142
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Derbyshire
Forgot to say - a major point of the beam clamp thing is that you could hold down and do the sides of a chest like these below, in one bash - one clamping set up, turn once end to end but otherwise all started and finished in one sitting. Coud G clamp instead of weights as the quick release not needed so much - quite a long time spent doing one edge at a time.
NB I didn't do these with it as I hadn't invented it at that point!
Would also be perfect for routing with the edge of the clamp as straightedge guide for the router.
IMG_2466a.JPG
 
Top