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Building a Dr. White's Chest #1: My Interpretation of Thos. Moser's Design

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 04-30-2013 01:09 PM 2138 reads 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Building a Dr. White's Chest series Part 2: Multiple Mortise and Tenon Joints »

What to Expect

This blog series will highlight some of the techniques I use in solid wood case construction. My previous blog, about building the New Gloucester rocker, covered nearly every step in photographs with an occasional video. This blog will not detail every step along the way, but will rather explore key details of case construction using primarily videos. The videos are “rough takes” since I’m not going to spend the extra time to edit them. In those situations where my wife wasn’t available to film, you’ll see me walking over to the camera to stop filming. This may be rough, but the information is hopefully good.

Intro Video

Watch this video that introduces my blog about building the Dr. White’s chest. I look forward to sharing this blog series with you!

Wedding Gift

I’m giving my daughter her late mother’s wardrobe, which I built in 1990, as a wedding gift. I’m building the Dr. White’s chest as a replacement for my wife. This put me on a time constraint and necessitated a less time-consuming video approach to this blog. The original plan was to build the Dr. White’s chest for my daughter. In fact, she picked out the design. As I was looking at the interior of the old wardrobe to refresh my memory about drawer frame construction, I realized that my daughter might want her mother’s wardrobe. I offered it to her and she made the switch to the heirloom. This was “win-win” as my wife is heavily engaged in the construction of Dr. White’s chest.

Design

Thos. Moser designs wonderful furniture. Follow this link to view Moser’s design of the Dr. White’s chest on his web site. His 1985 book, Measured Shop Drawings of for American Furniture, provides many useful details for construction. His 2011 book, How to Build Shaker Furniture: The Complete Updated and Improved Classic , removes the instructions for the hidden compartment. How’s that for complete, updated, and improved? To be fair, it wouldn’t be a secret compartment if the construction plans were readily available in a book in this digital age…

I’m not slavishly following Moser’s design. Rather, I’m adapting it to my own tastes and needs. I’d rather have storage space than a hidden compartment, so I made the center stile narrower. I don’t care for bull-nose trim on such a large case piece, so I opted for a more proportional cove molding. I also modified the base by cutting feet into the side rather than just into the front. This gives the case a more dynamic look as it rests on the floor. Other design changes include things you can’t see such as using multiple mortise and tenon joints for the bottom of the cupboard section and the very bottom of the case.

What’s Next?

In the next blog entry, we’ll explore multiple mortise and tenon joints.

-- Mark, Minnesota



8 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

1831 posts in 857 days


#1 posted 04-30-2013 05:01 PM

Nice video, GREAT cabinet. Solid cherry, must weigh a ton. I use cherry a lot, don’t worry about the side color match, it’ll all darken with time anyway. Going to look really great in a few years. I like your design changes on the two top front doors, didn’t see the Moser example, but it sounds like the doors are too narrow.
Thanks for the video.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View DustyMark's profile

DustyMark

271 posts in 736 days


#2 posted 04-30-2013 06:38 PM

Thanks, I love this design and it’s great to personalize it. The case consumed quite the load of solid wood from Steve Wall and does weigh a ton. I’m glad my wife lifts weights! She has no problem lifting one end of the case as we flip it for various cuts and glue-up. It’s neat to watch how cherry changes color with exposure to UV rays over time. Our bedroom is on the north side of the house, so it will take a while.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6651 posts in 2646 days


#3 posted 04-30-2013 06:41 PM

That looks real good.

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4871 posts in 1289 days


#4 posted 04-30-2013 06:41 PM

Sweet! This is going to be a fun blog series.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Bigrock's profile

Bigrock

239 posts in 1628 days


#5 posted 05-01-2013 02:39 AM

I just showed the cabinet to the boss and also the store bought one. The lines of the cabinet are very nice and she liked what you changed. The Stiles don’t look so heavy. Nice construction also.
The question is where is the secret compartment? My guess is in the top or in the middle between the doors.
Thank you for sharing.

View DustyMark's profile

DustyMark

271 posts in 736 days


#6 posted 05-01-2013 03:25 AM

Thanks. The compartment is behind the center stile. You have to take the shelf out to open it. Pretty clever design, but not real convenient.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4871 posts in 1289 days


#7 posted 05-01-2013 03:42 AM

I agree with cutting the feet into the side.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View DustyMark's profile

DustyMark

271 posts in 736 days


#8 posted 05-01-2013 04:33 AM

It’s a subtle change, but an improvement on such a tall case piece. I left the sides solid on my seven-drawer dresser and am okay with the look at that height. The decision was made easier as this is the same style that I used on the wardrobe I built in 1990.

-- Mark, Minnesota

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