Little Tansu Inspired Case #2: Keyed Miters and Drawer Parts

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Blog entry by Dorje posted 02-18-2008 04:10 AM 7953 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Carcase and Dividers Part 2 of Little Tansu Inspired Case series Part 3: Drawers »

I had a little bit of time this afternoon to work on the little caseā€¦

I keyed the miters with walnut:

Glued up the dividers:

and, cut out the all the drawer parts:

I’ve got drawer bottom stock prepared from the first day (in the background of the photo above), so my next step will be to cut the joinery for the drawers. And, since this is supposed to be a quick and dirty project, I’m going to rout the drawers with a drawer lock bit. Like this:

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

16 comments so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3976 days

#1 posted 02-18-2008 05:09 AM

Hey Dorje;

I’m not certain, but I believe you’re supposed to trim off those keys!

Are you using 3/4” stock for the drawers?

Great work so far…


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#2 posted 02-18-2008 05:09 AM

This is coming along nicely. I can’t wait to see the final product. And I still haven’t looked up Tansu yet but I will.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Mark Mazzo's profile

Mark Mazzo

352 posts in 3909 days

#3 posted 02-18-2008 05:16 AM


Looks like it’s taking shape. The walnut will be a nice contrast in the keys. I’ve used that drawer lock bit before…it works well if your stock is flat and true. If not, it can be a bit fussy. The size of your drawers indicates that the stock is probably very true so, you should be set.

Waiting for the next installment!

-- Mark, Webster New York, Visit my website at

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#4 posted 02-18-2008 07:14 AM

Lee – the drawer fronts are 5/8” like the carcase…the sides are 1/2”

Mark – good to know that those bits work well – the stock for the drawers is in nice flat shape, so I’m looking forward to an easy time of it…famous last words?

Scott – look no further – I plan to use pulls similar to the first and third case; I was originally going to cut out holes at the tops of the drawers, but have decided to go with hardware:

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4096 days

#5 posted 02-18-2008 09:45 AM

I am looking forward to the final pictures. I have been wanting to do a tansu style project. I am in love with the style.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#6 posted 02-18-2008 09:59 AM

I’d love to do a large tansu – similar to a built in, but tiny it is for now! I love the similarity found between Shaker and Tansu pieces…simple and beautiful – let the wood do the talking!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4157 days

#7 posted 02-18-2008 01:13 PM

how wonderful
The photo series is excellent

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3792 days

#8 posted 02-18-2008 01:55 PM

Looks good Dorje!

The cool thing about tansu stuff is that, basically, it’s modular. You can always do another chest similar to this one but a bit bigger, and POOF! Then, you can add another, and another, and another until your entire house is filled with tansu chests!

OK, maybe I went a bit overboard, but still…you can definitely build onto this project later, and that’s one of the cool things about tansu. I’m hoping to build a tansu set-up for my living room someday!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3984 days

#9 posted 02-18-2008 04:57 PM

Looking good so far. I have never used one of those router bit before so I am kind of curious how they work

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View SteveL's profile


167 posts in 3764 days

#10 posted 02-18-2008 07:12 PM

Nice keys. I use a Japanese flush-cut saw that has all the teeth set to one side (I’m supposed to have a pair of these, one with the teeth on the left and one with the teeth on the right, but they were out of stock on the right-side-set blade so I have to be ambidextrous with the left set saw.) The advantage is that you don’t scratch or scuff the stock if you are careful with the saw.

Before you cut the end-grain of the drawers with the router, check out the tips and techniques article in this month’s FWW that just came yesterday. There’s a nice little backing board jig there that helps avoid tear out.

Keep the good work coming!

-- SteveL

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3870 days

#11 posted 02-18-2008 08:05 PM

This is looking really good. This will be a nice piece when its finished. I like seeing all the in-between construction pictures.

-- Happy woodworking!

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3871 days

#12 posted 02-18-2008 10:35 PM

This is really looking good. I can hardly wait to see the finished project.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#13 posted 02-19-2008 07:00 AM

Thanks all -

SteveL – I’ll have to peek at the article you mentioned, though I am in the habit of backing up cuts on end grain. Also, I have a little Crown flush cut saw – with no set on either side, and that works well for trimming.

Gary – I played with the bit set up today; phew, I guess I could have used some instructions. After tinkering for a while, I was able to get it dialed in for the drawer joinery. But, ran out of time, so didn’t quite get there! Maybe in a couple/few days…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3811 days

#14 posted 02-19-2008 07:07 AM

This is really looking good. Can’t wait to see it finished.

-- Scott - Chico California

View gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4086 days

#15 posted 02-20-2008 04:55 AM

Lookin good. How did you cut the kerf for the keys?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

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