Building a Dr. White's Chest #3: Case Construction and Glue-Up

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 05-02-2013 12:18 PM 2680 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Multiple Mortise and Tenon Joints Part 3 of Building a Dr. White's Chest series Part 4: Face Frame »

Design Considerations

Watch this video to explore design considerations. Solid wood case construction must take into account wood movement. Wood expands and contracts across the grain and does not along the length of the grain. When wood is glued across grain over a long span, it will split when it contracts. NOTE: The drawer frames and the back are all pre-assembled. The back is a mortise and tenon frame which contains six floating solid-wood panels.

Clamping rehearsal without drawer frames.

Floating panel back assembly squared up the case.


Watch this video to view my clamping configuration. Gluing up a case this large requires a lot of clamps. This is typically a situation where I wish I had more clamps. If I had more clamps across the back edge, I could have closed the rabbet joint more consistently on the back edge. However, that’s being pretty picky. NOTE: I assembled the case in a vertical position which allowed the best clamp access. I made a mistake by resting the whole assembly on a foam mat. This allowed a bit of inaccuracy where the back lined up with the lower left corner and the mat obscured my view of this issue.

What’s Next?

In the next blog entry, we’ll explore face frame construction and glue-up.

-- Mark, Minnesota

4 comments so far

View lysdexic's profile


5255 posts in 2647 days

#1 posted 05-03-2013 03:41 AM

Great videos. Thanks for taking us along.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2094 days

#2 posted 05-03-2013 04:05 AM

Thanks! There are many techniques to consider in case construction and I thought it would be helpful to share some of them. It’s less time consuming to set up a video camera and talk through it versus writing a small book!

Real-time progress = I hung the doors last night. I’m turning knobs, fine tuning the door installation, and possibly starting to mill the drawer wood tomorrow. I bought a new pad for my ancient Fein sander (predecessor to the Multi-Master) and my new 5” Mirka CEROS sander arrives tomorrow. That should make sanding this “monster” a lot less unpleasant…

-- Mark, Minnesota

View cpine's profile


98 posts in 1880 days

#3 posted 05-06-2013 03:35 AM

that is absolutely gorgeous! This will be a rock solid, wonderful custom heirloom! Would love to see more when you are done!

-- Chris Pine

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2094 days

#4 posted 05-06-2013 02:31 PM

Thanks Chris. You’re right that it is real solid. Progress will slow over the next two weeks with some traveling, but I should put this case in service by the end of May.

-- Mark, Minnesota

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