This dovetail chest starts out just as you'd expect: gluing up oversized panels. There isnt anything unusual or difficult about these five %"-thick panels. The important thing is that they are flat and all the same thickness. This will make it much easier when it comes time to cut the dovetails.
After the panels are glued up, the next step is to cut the front/back (A) and end (B) panels to finished size, see the drawing at right. (The bottom will be cut to size later.) I began by simply ripping each of these panels to width. But when crosscut-ting, the long panels require some extra support. To do this, I added along auxiliary fence to the miter gauge. Thisway, ifsmuch easier to get the panels square.
DOVETAILS. After the panels are cut to size, work can begin on the dovetails. The dovetails are laid out on center, see Fig. 1. This allows for 3" tails and W pins.
Actually, not all the pins are Vi\ The top one is a little wider (1M). But the extra width is covered by some molding added later, see Fig. 2 and the drawing on the next page.
Note: In the article beginning on page 24, there are step-by-step instructions for cutting dovetails by hand.
GROOVES. When the dovetails are complete, there are some grooves to cut in the panels before you can assemble the case.
All case panels are glued up from 3A"-thick stock
The first groove, near the top, is for the tray supports. It's 3/s" wide and cut in the front and back panels only, see Fig. 3.1 centered these grooves in one of the pin openings. This way the pins on the ends willhide the grooves when the case is assembled.
The other groove is for the bottom of the chest, see Fig. 4. It's W wide and cut in all four pieces. This groove cuts through a tail, so it'll be visible from the outside when the case is first assembled. But don't worry about this. Later, the groove will get covered
All case panels are glued up from 3A"-thick stock by the molding at the bottom of the case.
BOTTOM. Now it's time to begin work on the bottom panel. But to do this, first you need to dry assemble the case. Then vou can measure the case opening for the final size of the bottom, see drawing above.
Because the bottom is a solid wood panel and not plywood, it needs enough room to expand and contractwith changes in humidity. To allow forthis movement, I cutthe bottom (C) W smaller than the opening, see Fig. 4a. (Mine was 15Vfe"x35W.)
$ CASE ASSEMBLY. After the bottom panel is ready, you can glue the case together, see Fig. 5. (But don't use glue on the bottom.) This takes quite a bit of time, so I used white glue. It gives you a little more time to work.
While i he glue is drying, cuttwo %"-wide tray supports (D) to fit in the grooves inside the case, see Fig. 3. This time, I wanted the glue to set up fast, so I used yellow glue. That way, I didn t have to worry about using clamps. Applying a little hand pressure for a minute or two was all it took.
At this point, the case is essentially complete. But if there are pins or tails protruding, you'll need to sand them flush with the sides of the case, see the Shop Tip at right. Once that's done, all that's left is to add the base and some trim molding around the top and bottom, see the drawing below.
BASE. I like the wide, thick base molding I've seen on some older chests, and I wanted the base on this chest to look the same. So instead of using 3/4"-thick stock, I cut the base pieces from 1 Vi6"-thick stock.
The base front/back (E) and base ends (F) are first cut to rough length from 3"-wide blanks. Next, cut a decorative chamfer along the top edge, see Fig. 6.1 did this on the table saw with the blade angled 15°. Then to complete the base, miter the pieces to length and glue them to the case.
TRIM MOLDING. The next pieces to add are some strips of trim molding, see drawing below. Some of this trim will sit on top orthe base molding. The rest will end up flush with the top of the case.
To make the trim front/back (G) and trim ends (H), start with blanks that are V2" thick and 2" wide, see Fig. 7. Rout a cove along two edges using a VS"cove bit. Then two :i/4"-wide (tall) trim pieces can be ripped from each blank. Miter the pieces to length and glue them in place. (The cove profiles should face each other.) Here again, don't
Shop Tip: When using a belt it's easy to round over a corner. To prevent this, clamp a scrap piece across the end.
worry about attaching the molding with clamps. A little hand pressure works fine.
Finally, to prevent chipping the edge if the chest ever gets dragged across the floor, rout a Vfc" chamfer on the bottom edges of the case and molding, see Fig. 8.
Rout chamfer around * bottom edges of case
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