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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lock and Load

The further into the chest of drawers project I get, the more I realize how much the stepped front complicates construction.  From a design perspective, it didn't seem like this build would be dramatically different than a standard chest, but boy was I wrong.  In this episode, I go through the process of fitting the lower drawer blades, or dividers.  Normally, you would just need one blade between each drawer, but the steps in the front face required me to double these up.  My choice of sliding dovetails also created an additional complication in both positioning the dovetails, and also marking the sockets from the tails.  But with a little creativity, and perhaps luck, I managed to complete the task without any major issues.




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12 comments:

Shannon said...

Rob, very cool joint juxtaposition, but I'm still a bit confused why it was necessary (other than cool looking). Why not place your frame divider in line with the top of the step? You would only have 1 divider then and the runner would extend back from that divider. Make the divider wider if necessary so that the runner/blade connection is hidden behind the drawer front. Make sense? Why did you go this route out of curiosity?

Rob Bois said...

Shannon, it's a very good question. From a functional and structural perspective, I could have just used one divider flush with the top of each step and had the drawer run along that. Normally, the entire divider top is concealed beneath the drawer so any scratches or wear marks (and wax) are never seen. However, in this case even when the drawer is closed, I would have 5/8" of the top of that divider exposed and visible. I toyed with the idea of elevating the drawer runners 1/8" or so to keep the drawer bottoms off that divider, but was afraid it could still see some wear, especially using butternut which is particularly soft. So in the final design, the top of the upper drawer blade is concealed when the drawer is closed. Hopefully that makes sense (I'll go over that in the blog once I fit the drawers).

Vic Hubbard said...

Some head scratchin' on this one. That will last for generations.

Ken Koch said...

I like the dovetail on each divider, but couldn't you have done a single sided dovetail on each divider? Dovetail the top of the vertical divider and the front of the horizontal divider? That would allow the tight connection of the two dividers all the way through from end to end. It seems that little dovetail nub (on the bottom of the vertical and inside of the horizontal) is a minute detail that distracts from the flow of the joinery.

Rob Bois said...

Ken that's an interesting idea and frankly one I hadn't considered. If nothing else it would have made it a lot easier to cut the joints.

Bruce Somers said...

Rob,another nice job. Now, I have to ask. Did you consider using a shouldered, inset DT (like the face, upper divider) on the lower divider? I think it would have carried that joinery detail through and looked really good too.

Rob Bois said...

Bruce that actually would have been my preference too but the grain orientation wouldn't allow it. The top shoulder would leave very little material and it would have been weakest along the grain. By dovetailing down into the end grain my small shoulder is strengthened rather than weakened by the grain. This joinery was quite the brain teaser for me.

pmelchman said...

Rob,

I don't want to get off topic.... but, it looks like your work bench you built a while back has a few battle scars!!! How has the work bench holding up for you? Any ideas on what you would do differently?

regards,

patrick

Rob Bois said...

A few people have asked about the workbench recently, and honestly I have yet to come up with much if anything I would have done differently. I did shrink my bench from 8' to 6', but still used the 24" span between screws on the Veritas twin screw. With the shorter bench, I probably should have gone with the 16" but that's a fairly minor detail.

Jeff Branch said...

Nice job with the dovetails. This is an interesting project to follow.

Charlie said...

Great job on the joinery, Rob.
I was reading Schwarz blog entry just now and saw an interesting
photo here
http://www.roseantiquetools.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/1939disstoncoverpage.jpg
Check out the chest in the background.
Take care and keep up the good work
Charlie

Rob Bois said...

Charlie, that's fantastic thanks for posting that link. I had yet to find any other example of a stepped front chest, so this is really interesting. It looks like that design went with single drawer dividers, and the runners are just slightly elevated to keep the drawer bottoms off the tops of the dividers. Knowing now how much more work the double dividers are I think I would have gone that route.