Charles Neil lowboy build-along, #11
When I left you, back in installment # 8, I had just finished cutting out and installing the scroll board. The next step is to mill out the drawer dividers. First, make sure that both sides of the scroll board measure an equal distance, down from the top of the legs. After clamping the scroll board where it belongs, I then cut out a scrap piece of MDF, to be used as a spacer and clamp it in place.
Now I’m ready to check out where the lower divider goes and check my measurements.
After laying out for dual tenons on each side of the bottom tenon, I cut them out on the band saw, using the same clean-up procedure as with the scroll board tenons.
After some trial fits, I have the lower divider in place.
Next, I work on the short dividers that go between the scroll board and the lower divider. While the lower divider is in place, I measure and mark where the small dividers go.
This marks where the router will cut. Now I place marks alongside each side of the cut on the scrape board
I clamp the stock to the scrap and router the divider out. A point to make here, is that I actually do this in two steps, first with a straight router bit
This helps keep the stock in place with two lighter cuts, rather than one heavy cut and with one router bit, it also will reduce the possibility of serious tear out. Now our center divider has the dovetails routed in the proper place. Now it’s time to cut out some small stock and get ready to mill the upright short dividers.
I replace the router tables’ fence and make a sort of sled to carry the short stock and then cut the male part of the dovetail joint.
My set-up took some time to get close enough to do a trial fit on a scrap I had cut just for fitting purposes. It took even longer to get close enough to actually get the dovetail to start to fit into the female part. After probably 3 hours I decided that my fence and make-shift jig was not accurate enough to get a tight fit, but not too tight, so I cut the dovetail as close as I could with my router set- up and hand fit the two dovetails. It took a total of 4 ½ hours for two dovetails. I’ve never had such a battle, cutting and fitting dovetails before. The dovetails are sized in the center divider and ready to be put back in the case for a test fit. I check the fit and now draw a line were the bottom section of the short vertical dividers will be trimmed,
and finish up on the band saw, cutting out the half-lap area, similar to how I started cutting out the scroll board. After some test fits and adjustments with the rasp and chisel, they’re in place with a tight, but not too tight fit. It’s good to note that wood swells to a degree and if you make the sliding dove tail joint too tight, you may break the center divider. It also helps to use hide glue, because it is slipperier then yellow glue. Now, on to the top divider. It is connected by placing dovetails on the divider and cutting them into the top of the legs. I start by drawing out a 14 degree dovetail on the top divider that has already been cut on the router table and at the same time, I routered the center divider. After marking both sides,
I go back to the band saw and cut both sides out
. Uh-oh! I fit the top divider and what’s this?...A 3/16 gap between the divider and the leg; the one I just cut out. Oh, dang. Oh well, I’ll just make another one. This part isn’t that hard. But oh-no, there’s no extra mahogany. But wait, I think I bought some off of e-Bay a couple years ago. I’m moving this pile of wood around and there… that looks like mahogany. Is it long enough? Yes, oh but, is it thick enough? Oh wow, it is!
Why not just go buy some? Because it’s Sunday and the nearest wood dealer is 120 miles, round trip. Okay, I’ve got the material and go through the steps: I joint it, cut it to size, draw out the dove tail and then off to the band saw. Half way through the band sawing, I realize that I didn’t router out three sides, like I had the orginal. I’ll just do that afterwards. WRONG! The second piece blows up. Alright, I’ll make another, now that I have the material. I won’t go into any more detail, but I’m on #4 and now it finally fits. I finally take the #4 top divider and draw with a sharp pencil around the dovetail
and also use a sharp chisel to imprint the top lines,
mark the thickness to establish the depth of the area on the leg to be removed.
After making sure my area to be cleaned out is well marked, I now take my dovetail saw and cut down the side lines of the area to be removed.
All that’s left to do is carefully chiseling out the remaining waste and fitting the dovetail and of course, repeating the same operation on the other side of the top divider.
Next time I will be cutting out the side scroll work and hopefully get started on the knee block.
Remember, the techniques I’ve gathered are from Charles Neil’s subscription online webisode.
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-- W James Brokenbourgh Custom furniture maker http://artisticwoodstudio.com/