Front Elevation


Leave edge of top divider square;

crown edges of other dividers.

Make secret drawer front 1 in. thick.


Building this box is a good exercise in 18th-century cabinet construction. The carcase and drawers are dovetailed together, while the dividers are-joined by shallow dadoes. The box sits on a base frame with ogee bracket feet. And the door overhangs the hinge side of the cabinet but is inset on the lock side, a design feature typical of this genre.

I used 16-in.-wide cherry boards for the primary wood, choosing carefully for grain and color. The 16-in. width made it possible to fashion all the drawer fronts from one board for a unified appearance. The secondary wood is yellow poplar, and I used walnut for the secret drawer front and the sliding dovetailed key that engages the sliding back. (Sec Fig. 3.)

One final note: It's important to follow the order of construction detailed here, since many steps depend on what precedes them.

Author marks end of divider by ¡»luring it into the d:ulo mid using an awl to aorilie the cut.

Making the Carcase

I began construction with the carcase, which has side-s, sub-top and bottom joined by half-blind dovetails. First I glued a strip of cherry to the poplar bottom and notched the edging as shown in the detail in Fig. 1. Then 1 cut the rabbet in the cabinet's lock side and grooved the sub-top and sides to accommodate the back. I cut the dovetails next, then routed the stopped dadoes for the dividers.

I used a scratch stock to cut the decorative bead that runs along the edge of the lock side. (For more on scratch stocks, see aw «22 and *32.) Then I cut the dovetailed recess in the bottom for the sliding key that holds up the back. (Sec Fig. 1.) After that, 1 glued the case together.



drawer and pull key forward. out from back of cabinet.

Making the Dividers

Willi the basic carcase parts now finished, I turned to the drawer dividers». The dividers arc made from poplar with cherry edging. (See Fig. 4.) The edging on the top divider needs to stay square, since it acts as a d<x>r stop when installed in the cahinct. I crowned the other edgings slightly with a block plane and sandpaper.

Next. I notched the front comers of the dividers and laid out and cut the shallow dadoes that join these parts. (Sec detail in Fig. 4.) I made these dadoes with a router plane, first scoring the edges with a sharp knife. You need to cut these joints carefully because there's just a flimsy web of material in. thick) between some of the dadoes.

I made the "V" cuts in two steps, first sawing the center of the V by hand to the depth of the dadoes, then paring toward the saw cut from each side with a sharp chisel. Next I scribed the ends of the dividers to fit the V's. (See photo, opposite page.) Alter scribing, I handsawed the shoulders and pared the angles with a chisel.

Once the joinery on the dividers was done, I spread glue in all the dadoes and slid the dividers into the case from the back. It s best to use glue sparingly, since squeeze-out will lie difficult to clean up.

To complete the basic box, I made the top fascia and attached it to the case with glue and nails. (See Fig. 1.)

All the nails are cut nails resembling those found on 18th-century furniture (available from Tremont Nail Co., Box 111, Warcham, MA 02571, 508-295-0038). I used two varieties: clout nails to attach the base frame to the cabinet, and headless brads everywhere else. You could substitute finish and box nails, but I like the authenticity of cut nails and I'm fond of the rectangular patch the brad leaves when it's countersunk and puttied.

I n make tin* profile on llie fret, author uses a wo(nlon convex molding planr (with a Vi-in.-ratlin* ruttcr) to create tlii' hollow and a block plane to slia|H> the convex part.

I n make tin* profile on llie fret, author uses a wo(nlon convex molding planr (with a Vi-in.-ratlin* ruttcr) to create tlii' hollow and a block plane to slia|H> the convex part.

Making the Base Frame and Feet

With the carcase and drawer dividers completed, I could make the base frame that supports the cabinet. (See Fig. 1.) This is a five-piece frame: three cherry show pieces on the front and sides, and two support pieces of poplar in the back.

ITic show pieces arc profiled on their outer edges and mitcrcd at the comers, with ltx>se tenons at die miters for reinforcement. I notched the back of the side pieces to allow clearance for the cabinet hack to drop down, and 1 joined the poplar back picccs to the sides with mortise-and-tcnon joints. (See Fig. 1.)

To allow for wood movement between the frame and the cabinet, I spread glue on just the front frame piece and nailed it to the carcase bottom first, then I spread glue on all the tenons and attached the remaining frame picccs to the cabinct with nails.

Next I made the bracket feet. The show faces at the front and sides are made from cherry and have ogee profiles and scrollwork. The pans that face the back are made from poplar. I started making the show pieces by shaping the ogee profile on a blank with hand planes. (See photo.) An alternative would be to cove the piece on the tablesaw and use a round-over hit to rout the convex profile. (See aw *25.)

After cutting the profile, I mitcrcd the front feet and cut grooves for the reinforcing splines. Next I cut the dadoes in the rear cherry pieces for the poplar parts. (See detail in Fig. 1.) Then I used a jig saw to cut the scrollwork on the cherry f<x>t parts, glued all the foot halves together, and attached them to the base molding with glue and nails.

For reinforcement, I glued support

CahiiH't (uitli hack rcinov«'«!) show» won't drawer anil «l«>v«>-taile«l k«*v that hold« up hack.

Glue tenons only at hinge side.

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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