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Aurora Night Stand - Darrell Peart design #1: Aurora Night Stand

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Blog entry by Mike_D_S posted 04-06-2016 02:58 AM 1036 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Aurora Night Stand - Darrell Peart design series Part 2: - making the drawer pull »

I really love the Greene and Greene style (and more importantly, so does the LOML). I saw Darrell Peart’s Aurora Night Stand on LJ a while back and searched out the magazine article and saved it for later when I thought my skills might be up to it.

I finally decided a few months ago to give it a try and picked up some Mahogany and a small ebony block. Here are a few pics of the in progress project and then a couple of shots of the table 99% done. I ran out of ebony, so I haven’t finished the pull for the drawer yet.

Table is African Mahogany with Ebony accents, finished with Lacquer. I more or less followed the plans with a few minor variances (I used 1/4 inch plugs for all the leg holes for example) and mahogany dowels, but more or less it’s to plan.

The finish is the recommended General Finishes dye stain mix 7 parts orange and 4 parts medium brown. I really love the color.

I’m about 90% happy with it, there are some joints that could be a bit tighter and a few places where I would do things a bit different, especially with making the ebony plugs and accents. But while I see all the places it could be better, my wife and everybody that’s seen it says it looks great, so I think I’ll just go with that.

I’ll post it into my projects once I get the pull done.

Thanks for looking,
Mike

A couple of in progress shots.

Here’s a couple with the dye stain on them.

Now a couple of shots of the mostly finished item. Not the best pics, but only lacking the pull.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......



9 comments so far

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2631 posts in 2569 days


#1 posted 04-06-2016 03:46 AM

Gorgeous! I love this, and Darrel’s work, as well. Someday…

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

922 posts in 1772 days


#2 posted 04-06-2016 08:11 AM

Looks the business. I’ll have to find the magazine article.
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Darrell Peart's profile

Darrell Peart

339 posts in 3048 days


#3 posted 04-06-2016 03:19 PM

Looking good!

-- Darrell Peart - Seattle - www.furnituremaker.com - author G&G Design Elements for the Workshop

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

185 posts in 1674 days


#4 posted 04-06-2016 06:16 PM

Thanks Darrell for the comment and also for sharing the plan. I’ve got your books and your website is basically a giant list of ‘man I wish I could do that…’ for me.

I do have one question about the plan, when doing the shelf, on my build in order to have the small gap between the stretchers, I ended up having to notch the shelf corners to fit the legs. I wasn’t sure whether I simple messed up a bit on my measuring and fit work or if this was required. It doesn’t say specifically in the plan (I think), so I wasn’t sure if I just screwed up or it’s just sort of an obvious need when you get to that point?

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us!

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Darrell Peart's profile

Darrell Peart

339 posts in 3048 days


#5 posted 04-06-2016 06:54 PM

It could have been an older version of the nightstand in the article – but I usually do notch the shelf to fit around the legs.

I do have one question about the plan, when doing the shelf, on my build in order to have the small gap between the stretchers, I ended up having to notch the shelf corners to fit the legs. I wasn t sure whether I simple messed up a bit on my measuring and fit work or if this was required. It doesn t say specifically in the plan (I think), so I wasn t sure if I just screwed up or it s just sort of an obvious need when you get to that point?

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us!

- MikeDS


-- Darrell Peart - Seattle - www.furnituremaker.com - author G&G Design Elements for the Workshop

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

185 posts in 1674 days


#6 posted 04-06-2016 08:56 PM

Thanks. I tend to be semi-strict about following exact dimensions. But its well within my ability to “customize” on the fly on some measurements only to realize later that I created an entire cascade of changes. If I cut the first piece 1/16” off, I sometimes just decide to go with it rather than recut the piece.

So it would not have surprised my if I just had my stretchers too far out on the legs.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5042 posts in 2607 days


#7 posted 04-06-2016 11:53 PM

Dang—wish you’d started this blog at the beginning—making the patterns!

I have all the mahogany to get this project going, but am having difficulty getting a handle on the patterns. They seem pretty difficult to lay out properly, and you need them to make the templates, to cut/smooth the project parts.

Anyway, they look like they’re coming along nicely, and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished project!

-- Dean

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

185 posts in 1674 days


#8 posted 04-07-2016 02:24 AM

Dean,

I don’t have pics of the process, but I can walk through the steps I followed, and I will add a few pics of one change I made that I thought was helpful.

Step 1: You need a fairly big area to cut the initial curve patterns. I set up a couple of sawhorses with a piece of ply as a work surface, I don’t really have a workbench, so I use this kind of setup a lot. Also, in case I “missed” with the router, no harm no foul.

Step 2: I made a custom arc cutting jig specifically for this project as I don’t have circle cutting jig big enough for the large radius arcs needed. I started with a piece of 1/2 ply about 8” wide and at least 44ish inches long (basically you need the length to be the longest arc to cut + a few inches for the center pin + 1/2 your router base diameter. I used my router base plate as a template to drill some mounting holes, then used a countersink in those hole to deepen them enough to use the screws from my router base plate to mount the router base to the plywood.

Step 3: Put the bit in the router you are going to use to cut the patterns (I used a 1/2” straight bit). Then put the router in the base and plunge the router (or rotate it down in a fixed base) slowly allowing the bit to cut through the plywood. This gives you a good physical reference point for the inner and outer cutting points for the router.

Step 4: Remove the router motor from the base and flip the arc jig over. Now the is the time to lay out the arc radii (radiuses, radians, radar, whatever….). A key point here for me that isn’t obvious initially is that since you want to use the patterns as guides for your router bit when cutting the templates, some of the patterns need to use the outside of the arc (top of the lower drawer rail and top of the faux rails) and some of the patterns need the inside of the arcs (bottom of the lower drawer rail and bottom of the aprons).

If you’re having trouble visualizing this, it may be helpful to sketch some sample arcs on a piece of paper, cut them out with scissors and then think about how you would put it on the rectangle template blanks to get the shape needed.

When laying out the arc radius to the center, you have to be careful which side of the bit you will be actually cutting to. So for the outside arcs, you will measure the radius to the near side of the hole you cut. For the inside arcs, you will measure to the outside of the hole. For each arc, make a mark at the proper distance for the center of the arc to the cutting edge. They don’t have to be in a line or necessarily close together, just make sure you are trying to measure from the edge of the hole (near or far edge) more or less at a right angle to the line from the center mark to the bit hole. Make sure you write next to each mark which radius it is.

Step 5: At each of the arc centers you marked, drill a 1/8” hole for a screw to go through. The screw will act as the center pivot. I wrote the radius on the other side of the ply after drilling each hole to easily know which one was which.

Step 6: Get a piece of 1/4” MDF 2’x4’ and clamp it down to your work surface. Take your arc jig, and pick one of the outside radius’s. Put the arc jig down on the MDF sheet so the bit will be on the MDF at all points on the jig. Then drill the screw through the hole for the arc you are cutting into the MDF. Mount the router motor with your bit and you are ready to cut your first arc pattern.

Step 7: Lower the router bit to take a light cut and make a pass. Now is a good time to measure from the screw to the cut to double check the arc radius. Keep making passes until you have cut completely through the MDF. discard the waste side and you now have your first arc pattern. Write the arc radius close to the edge so you can easily identify it. Unscrew the pivot screw.

Step 8: Move the arc jig back from the edge 2 or 3 inches and put the screw into the other outside arc hole and screw it into the MDF. Cut the next arc using light passes until all the way through. The waste piece will have your first arc on the outside, so put it aside. Write the arc radius close to the new edge and unscrew jig.

Step 9: Now it’s time to shift to the inside arcs. Move the jig back 3 or 3 inches and put the screw into one of the inside arc holes and into the MDF. When you cut this time, the keeper arc is actually the outside of the cut, so you want to make sure that the “waste” piece isn’t moving around and spoiling the outside arc. So do a quick plunge a few inches from the edge of the MDF at each end of the arc. Then take light passes between these two holes to cut the arc pattern. Once you get the arc cut all the way through, you can go ahead and rout the side all the way or just cut them with a hand saw to free up the outside piece. At this point, the “waste” piece has the outside arc you cut previously on one side and the inside arc you just cut on the other side. Write the radius for the inside arc on the pattern and set it aside.

Step 10: Repeat step 9 for the next inside arc. For this piece, the only arc that matters is the inside one. At this point, you now have all four of the radius patterns cut. Now it is time to layout the actual templates.

For the template layouts, there is no shortcut, you just have to measure carefully and I basically followed the plan. It’s a little finicky, and I used the exact measurements from the plan, but I’m not sure it’s worth getting too worked up about it. Remember that Darrell’s plan is intended to give you a lower drawer rail with an even offset along the length of the rail including the cloud lifts. Being careful is important, but if you make the mark at 2 25/64 instead of 2 26/64, I wouldn’t get too worked up about it. I can tell you a few of my points are a bit off and you can’t really tell (also I’m not getting paid for this). I found it useful to take a screen capture of the PDF page with all the template measurements and enlarge that and print it bigger to make it easier to read.

Once you get the templates marked using the measurements and arc patterns, cut close to the line to get rid of most of the waste. To rout the templates I broke down and bought a big pattern cutting bit like the one shown in the article and put that in my router table. To make things stable, I put the arc patterns one at a time on the 3/4 MDF template blanks and screwed them to the blanks. Then I routed each arc over the appropriate portion and used my spindle sander to finish the cloud lifts.

The next challenge is the matching offset pattern for the bottom of the drawer front. It took me a few read throughs to get a clear idea of what to do, but essentially you are using a 1/4” bit to cut the guide pattern which is offset by 1/4” obviously. Since you want only a 1/16” offset, the guide bushing and bit recommended in the article cuts a pattern 3/16” offset from the guide pattern. The resulting pattern is effectively 1/16” offset from the original pattern.

I had a little trouble as I used a 1/4 flush cut bit like a laminate trimmer type without a bearing. Since I was taking it slow, I actually had a little burn in on the 3/4” template when cutting the guide pattern with the 1/4” bit. Luckily for me the burn in was close to the edge and not in the critical part, so my template wasn’t ruined and I was able to salvage the guide pattern as well. In hindsight, I should have realized the heat from the trimmer bit bearing surface was not going to be kind to the MDF. If I was doing it again, I would cut a template blank from 1/2 ply and then rout a throw away template to use when cutting the guide template for the drawer front. The ply should stand up the 1/4 trimmer bit better. Of course if you have a 1/4” but with an actual bearing you could skip this.

Once you have the drawer front pattern, then cut that template and away you go.

One thing I did do that differed from the pics in the article was when I router the bottom of the lower drawer rail. The pic shows it being held in place with nails. If you were careful cutting your pieces, the shoulder to shoulder length for the lower drawer rail at the tenons is the same as the registration block. The lower drawer rail corners go at the end of the template, so I cut two small wooden blocks, clamped the rail down and the slid the blocks until they touched the tenon and captured the shoulder. I screwed them to the template and used a piece of wood under the clamps on top of the registration block and the rail to lock it down. Though it took more time and might be overkill for one piece, I liked the stability it gave and it’s easily reusable if I want to do another one later.

Last note is that all my hold down clamps are from harbor freight. These are one of those discount jewels at HF. they work great and at $5 each are way cheaper than most of the other options.

This is a little long winded, but hopefully it helps.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5042 posts in 2607 days


#9 posted 04-07-2016 03:29 AM

Holy crap, Mike—this is awesome!! (And I usually never use that word…..!)

I’m going to give this a good study, and then put it to good use. I have the magazine, with Darrell’s template instructions, but since it’s a magazine article, it’s necessarily short on details.

So, between your and Darrell’s instructions, I should be able to make the templates. If I have questions, I’ll ask, if that’s ok.

Thanks again!

-- Dean

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