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Building a Dr. White's Chest

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Blog series by DustyMark updated 08-09-2013 12:58 AM 12 parts 17743 reads 22 comments total

Part 1: My Interpretation of Thos. Moser's Design

04-30-2013 01:09 PM by DustyMark | 8 comments »

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 situati...

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Part 2: Multiple Mortise and Tenon Joints

05-01-2013 12:58 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Multiple Mortise and Tenon Joints I’ve owned a Leigh dovetail jig since the early 90’s. I started with the 12” model that I used for drawer construction. I switched to the 24” model so that I could join the top of a case to the sides with a through dovetail joint. I bought the M2 multiple mortise and tenon attachment for the 24” D3 jig prior to building a book case that was to hold a tremendous amount of books. I wanted more glue surface and strength than a rabbet joint could pro...

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Part 3: Case Construction and Glue-Up

05-02-2013 12:18 PM by DustyMark | 4 comments »

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 withou...

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Part 4: Face Frame

05-03-2013 12:55 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Complicated Face Frame The Dr. White’s chest is a combination wardrobe/chest of drawers and has a complicated face frame. There are eight mortise and tenon joints, ten dovetail joints, and one half-lap joint in the frame. I cut the dovetail joints with my Leigh dovetail jig. Watch this video to see how I cut the female portion of the face frame dovetail joints. I cut the male portion of the joint using the same jig in the vertical mode and the bit set at the same depth. NOTE: Chip out...

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Part 5: Case Legs

05-04-2013 12:28 PM by DustyMark | 3 comments »

Case Legs Watch this video to view the leg construction and track my progress on the face frame. I like legs that are cut in two planes on a tall case like Dr. White’s chest. This gives the legs a more fully formed look. I used a wider lower rail with a mortise and tenon joint at the base of the face frame rather than a narrow piece with a dovetail joint. Our vacuum floor attachment will still reach under the face of the case to suck up dust balls! The sides of the original Dr. Whit...

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Part 6: Trim

05-05-2013 12:20 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

TrimChests and wardrobes benefit greatly from the added visual detail of trim applied at the top of the case. Watch this video to see how I cut the cove for the trim on my Dr. White’s chest. Trim after application and prior to final sanding. Out-of-focus shot of the temporary fence set-up I used to make the cove cut. Be sure that your clamps have a good hold. Often, the areas under or near the edge of the table saw are difficult to attain a good clamp hold. NOTE: Years ago,...

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Part 7: Raised Panel Doors

05-06-2013 11:24 AM by DustyMark | 2 comments »

Raised Panel DoorsBuilding a set of raised panel doors might seem like a daunting process. However, it’s simply a sequence of steps that, granted, use most of the tools in a serious hobbyist’s wood shop. Wood movement is an issue here since the panel grain runs perpendicular to the grain of the top and bottom rails of the door frame. Watch this video to see how to build a raised panel door in one 25-minute video. This blog entry also includes links to eight individual videos that highligh...

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Part 8: Hanging Doors

05-07-2013 12:01 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Mortising the HingesHanging doors involves a mixture of precise work and some trial and error. The first step is to choose a hinge and then mortise the case frame to receive the hinge. A common approach for hinge placement is to locate the top of the upper hinge even with the bottom of the upper rail and locate the bottom of the lower hinge even with the top of the lower rail of the door frame. I should have thought ahead and routed these mortises before assembling the case. However, I fo...

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Part 9: Turning Knobs

05-12-2013 09:37 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

I like to turn the knobs on the cases I build. Dr. White’s chest has a total of twelve knobs. I’m not a skilled turner, but that hasn’t stopped me from building a lot of furniture with turned parts. Turning a batch of knobs that is “identical” could drive a turner to another hobby. However, it’s not too difficult to turn out a batch that matches “close enough.” Remember, this is a handmade project and hand-turned knobs scream craftsmanship. Watch this video to see how I turn out the kno...

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Part 10: Building Dovetailed Drawers

06-05-2013 12:00 PM by DustyMark | 2 comments »

Dovetailed DrawersThere are many functional means of building drawers that will stand the test of time. I believe a fine case piece, such as the Dr. White’s Chest, warrants drawers assembled with dovetail joints. Watch this video to see my detailed description of building drawers with half-blind dovetail joints using the Leigh dovetail jig. This photo shows the drawers at the dry assembly stage. The joints are tight enough to handle the drawers prior to glue up. The end grain...

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Part 11: Sanding and Fitting the Drawers

08-03-2013 03:47 PM by DustyMark | 3 comments »

Sanding the DrawersI’m at the dreaded sanding stage of this large cabinet project. Watch this video to view some of the tools and methods I use to sand the drawers. The tools pictured in the photo above, from left to right, are the scraping plane blade, card scraper, Veritas sanding block, Fein Multi-Master sander, and the Mirka CEROS sander. The scrapers do a good job of removing excess glue and, when properly sharpened, can leave a surface so smooth that no sanding is needed. The ...

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Part 12: Applying Finish

08-09-2013 12:58 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Final Blog Series VideoWatch this video to view my finishing techniques on the Dr. White’s chest. This has been a fun project to build. I took my time through the finishing process since I no longer had a deadline. I’m pleased with the way the finish turned out and as I type this, Mary is loading her clothes into the chest. Finish Choices I used shellac on most of the interior surfaces. It’s easy to apply and goes relatively odor free quickly. I applied three co...

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