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Pyramid symbols orient box parts. "8" identifies drawer as second from top left in chest.

the bottom panel-the panel is screwed to the bottom edge of this board during assembly. This construction method makes it easier to assemble and to square up the drawer boxes, and also allows the drawer bottom to be easily repaired or replaced if necessary.

With all the parts cut and milled, dry-assemble each drawer to ensure that the joints are tight with all the parts of the box sitting square and flat. Now glue and clamp the box together, sliding in the bottom panel and screwing it in place. When the box is dry, remove it from the clamps and sand the joints flush. Then, with a straight-fluted bit set up 011 the router table, cut the slots for the drawer guides in either side of the drawer. To ensure that the drawers will hang level in the case you must locate the slots precisely. To this end always index the bottom of each drawer to the router table's fence. Finally, rout a bead for decoration along the top edge of each drawer face.

Assembling the box

Now comes the challenge—putting all the parts together before the glue dries. Before you attempt this, do a dry run. In addition to checking the fit of joints, a dry run lets you practice the assembly sequence. On this box, join the bottom board to the two end panels around the back panel and slide in the front rail from the top. Then slide the partition assembly in from the back until it engages in the groove in the back of the front rail. Finish by sliding the rear rail down from the top until it sits over the back of the top partition and fits tightly to the top of the back panel.

Next, temporarily install the still oversized ¡id by marking for and cutting the hinge mortises and installing the hinges. Then, with the lid closed, trace the shape of the top of the case to the underside of the three overhanging edges. After trimming the lid to size, use a dowel-center marker to mark the two holes for the locking mechanism actuators. Finally, remove the lid and rout in the decorative edge profile.

With the box now permanently assembled, the time has come to final-fit the removable front panel and to install and adjust the drawers. Plane the edges of the panel to form an even gap line between the panel and the case. Then, installing the locking mechanism into the front rail, press down on the pin to mark the center of the holes to be drilled in the top edge of the panel (in which the bushing for the lock pin will be installed). You can make your own

¡mechanism as Winter did (see the drawing at right), or you can obtain one through mail-order sources.

Center the drawers in their openings by adding paper shims beneath the tongues of the guides to bring them out slightly. If the drawers stick, carefully plane down the face of the guides. As a final touch, use spray adhesive to attach . lie felt to the inside bottom of the ers (and to the bottom of the upper tool well).

Applying carving and banding ing decorative features to your

)x not only enhances the look of piece, but also makes the box your Inspired by the magnificent oak of his home state, Winter decided carve a pair of oak leaves around the escutcheon. To add more visual st to the front of the chest, he a decorative banding across the faces.

Winter prepared for the relief carving with the help of the real thing, pying two oak leaves and then the size of the image to suit the : the box. After gluing the ropies in place around the lock eon with white glue, he then set

Panel Lock Mechanism

Top guide (front rail)

.350-dia. by Ve-in. thick pressed-on disc

.350-dia. by Ve-in. thick pressed-on disc

Bottom guide and receiver, %-in. dia.

Lock pin (front rail)

Bottom guide (front rail)

Receiver (front panel)

Bottom guide and receiver, %-in. dia.

to work to carve the relief. I Ie began by using a knife to cut in the outline of the leaves to the desired depth. Then he cleaned out the waste between the lines with a variety of small carving chisels.

Not satisfied with commercial bandings, Winter decided to make his own from leftover pieces of pecan. To create a color contrast, he blended light-

colored sapwood with the much darker heartwood. After routing grooves in the face of the drawer fronts and the front rail, he applied glue and pressed the banding into the grooves, being caref ul to start and end the banding so the patterns would be symmetrical from drawer to drawer.

in. dia

#6 countersunk

Top guide (front rail)


Actuator (lid)

Actuator (lid)

#6 countersunk in. dia

A Chest with Full-

Karen Robertson's mechanic's-style box in yollow cedar features full-extension drawers, frame-and-panel sides, a leather writing surface and ebony feet and pulls. Photo by Charley Robinson.

Extension Drawers

I.ikc David Winter, Karen Robertson had to build three boxes before she got to keep one for herself—the first two went as presents to family members. Designed primarily to hold her collection of drafting instruments and precision layout tools, Robertson's yellow cedar machinist''s-tvpe box has some unusual features: a drop-down lid with a leather-covered writing surface, a shop-made ebony latch system, and full-extension drawer slides made entirely from wood. To personalize and decorate the chest, Robertson, of Saanichton, British Columbia, Canada, inlaid a floral pattern into the top of the lid.

Not finding latch hardware that was either small enough or of high enough quality to use on her chest, Robertson decided to design a system of her own. After all, she had inherited from her grandfather a 20-lb. block of ebony, a perfect material for making durable and beautiful hardware. After making a few-full-scale mockups of the latch and catch, she came up with the system shown in the drawing on the facing page.

Robertson turned the knobs on a small lathe and then shaped the latch with chisels and small files (the tapered profile allows the latch to clear the mortise in the front rail as the lid is lifted up). Measuring carefully from a full-scale rendering, Robertson marked and predrilled the holes for the knob and the pivot pin. Next, she cut the tapered mortise in the lid and the straight mortise in the front rail by drilling out most of the waste and then cleaning up with a chisel. She cut the elongated opening for the knob in the face of the top rail using a router template. Finally, Robertson drilled pilot holes for both the pivot pin and the lock pin from the

Ball-point pen spring

Ebony latch


Vs-in. lock pin through from inside

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