Construction Procedures

Now let's go through the building of the upper and lower cases of the standing chest, then discuss the building and fitting of the doors and drawers. Next comes the construction of the trestle, which encloses the lower utility cabinet and supports the upper cabinet. Finally comes a discussion of the design and fit of the upper-cabinet tool supports. But be forewarned: Before attempting to build a complex project such as this one, I highly recommend that you create a full-scale rendering from the scaled drawings, as discussed on pp. 72-75. The time it takes you to generate this drawing will be more than repaid with greater overall accuracy and easier layout and measuring. Overall construction details for this cabinet are shown in the drawing on the facing page.

Building the case

Begin by edge-gluing straight-grained, warp-free stock for the sides, top, floor and interior partitions of both cases. Be sure to leave the parts '/§ in. long so you can trim them to their finished dimension after you've joined them. (The pins and tails of the dovetailed box components, and the through tenons of the horizontal partitions, will thus protrude Vie in.) Please take note: Wait to cut and join the parts of the lower utility case until after you have assembled the

The stopped dovetail grooves in the case side are routed with the aid of a shopmade fixture. Photo by Greg Radley.

Cut the tenon cheeks with a back-saw (far left), then remove the waste between tenons with a bandsaw (below left).Chisel the outside tenon shoulders square (left), and from the tenons, lay out the mortises (below). Photos by Greg Radley.

trestle. The inside dimensions of the trestle (into which this case must fit), may turn out differently after the final trimming of the trestle frame's joints than the dimensions—even in the full-scale rendering-might suggest.

Lay out and hand-cut the dovetails. Radley suggests cutting the tails first, and then using these as a template to lay out the pins. As long as you are careful to make the tail cuts perpendicular to the face of the board, this method produces quick and accurate results. After cutting and testing the fit of the dovetails, rabbet the edges (Radley uses a router) to receive the 3A -in. plywood back panel. Stop the rabbet before it exits the ends of the boards; you can cut the corners square with a chisel.

Now, on the two sides, top and two horizontal partitions of the upper case, lay out the position of the dovetail grooves. (If you made a full-scale rendering, you can hold a stick to the drawing, tick off the locations, carry the stick to the component, and transfer the layout lines from the stick to the stock.) Cut these grooves with a router guided by a shop-made fixture (see the photo on p. 103). Note that the cross support on the jig acts as a stop for the router—and thus for the groove. Cut the matching sliding dovetails on the ends of the horizontal and vertical partitions. Radley does this on the router table.

Create a '/&■ in. deep shoulder to a length equal to the depth of the case sides (plus '/is in.) at the ends of the two main horizontal partitions.Then layout the cutlines of the through tenons. Cut the tenons out with a backsaw followed by a bandsaw. Use a chisel to trim the tenon shoulders. Now lay out the mortises to the outside of the case side by holding the cut tenons directly to the case sides and marking their outlines. Cut the mortises out by roughing the hole with a drill bit and then chiseling to the lines from the outside.

Now comes the magic moment: Dry-fit the entire upper-case assembly together, checking to be sure that all the joints are snug as the case sits flat and square. Make any necessary adjustments with a chisel or file. When satisified, disassemble the case, cut kerfs for the wedges in the ends of the through tenons

Saw kerfs in the : trough tenons for wedges (left). Then assemble the case and glue in the wedges (below). Photos by Greg Radley.

'see the photo at top), and reassemble the case with glue. Install the back panel :nto the rabbet—Radley uses '/»-in. square mahogany pegs driven into squared '/»-in. holes. Drive wedges into the through tenons to hold the panel in place (see the photo above) and then trim the protruding portion flush with the outside of the case. Also trim the protruding through dovetails flush.

Follow the same procedure for the lower case unit after putting together the trestle as detailed on p. 106. There will not be any dovetail grooves or through mortises to deal with here. However, don't forget to dry-assemble the case to test it in the trestle, or to predrill holes along the case sides for the shelf clips to support the adjustable shelves. Apply your choice of finish to the cases after final assembly. (Radley used penetrating oil, followed by wax.) Be sure the finish is completely dry before assembling the case to the trestle.

Building the doors

Make the panels for the doors by first edge-gluing a panel of solid mahogany to size. Then apply a shop-made '/32-in. thick veneer of ash to both sides with either a vacuum press or a weighted panel. (If you choose to use commercial veneer, which is thinner, you can use contact cement and rollers to apply it to the mahogany substrate.) When the veneer is dry, square up the panel and shape the profile on the router table— this exposes the underlying mahogany.

Select the straightest stock for the door frames, then cut the pieces to rough length. Mill the rabbets for the raised panel, and then cut the pieces to exact length (plus V* in. for the upper door components). Make the through-dovetail joints for the upper door frames and the stepped rabbet for the lower door frames. Try the joints dry with the panel installed in its rabbet. If the fit looks good, proceed to glue-up. Be sure to keep glue out of the panel rabbet—you want the panel to float with changes in ambient moisture levels. To keep the panel centered, Radley inserted a Vi6-in. peg through the top and bottom rails at the centerline of the panel. Apply the finish.

Building the drawers

Cut all the parts to size—the sides and back from '/2-in. thick stock and the fronts from 3/«-in. stock (see the drawing on p. 106). Make the faces oversize for now. Note that the '/-»-in. plywood bottom panels are cut 'A in. longer than the drawer sides. This allows the back of the panel to act as a drawer stop. Apply veneer to the faces and then, when the glue is dry, cut the faces to their final dimensions, being sure to maintain the alignment of the veneer grain across all the fronts. Cut the finger pull as shown in the drawing on p. 106.

Lay out and cut the tails on the sides, half-blind in the front (see the photo on p. 106) and through in the back. (Radley cut only two tails in the back corners to speed the process.) Use the cut tails to lay out the pins in the ends and faces. Cut the groove for the bottom panel on the table saw or rout it using a slotting bit.

Dry-fit each box before gluing it up. Be sure the boxes sit square and flat before setting them aside to dry. Finally, smooth the sides of the drawers, apply the finish, and then fit them into their compartments in the case. Make center guides for the two larger drawers to help keep them from binding. Wax the guides with a candle stub.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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