|Project by Bob A in NJ||posted 1705 days ago||4377 views||3 times favorited||31 comments|
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted but now you can see why, here are my latest two projects. This is the Queen Anne Highboy from The New Yankee Workshop. After making the cherry lowboy last year, I figured this was the next big challenge. The next post is the matching Lowboy.
I started building these on Jan 2, 2009 and just finishing now. This project, along with the matching lowboy, took about 160 hours to complete. ~100 hours for the highboy and ~60 for the lowboy. That’s a lot of nights and weekends in the shop but that’s my favorite place anyway.
The plans and video from Norm are very good. The first time I viewed the video, I was thinking, “Wow, that is a ton of work!” After building it, I’d say, “Wow, that was a ton of work!” Actually it was a lot of fun.
This is made primarily with solid walnut except the sides of the top case which are walnut plywood donated by my buddy Winfield. The drawer fronts are solid walnut and the rest of the drawers are poplar. The drawer construction is through-dovetails with the fronts are screwed on. The hardware is from Horton Brasses.
If you view the video on highboy construction on The American Woodshop website with Scott Philips, he makes a statement that “You can do it, it’s just bunch of small steps that any woodworker can do”. I tend to agree with him. The only tricky parts were the carvings on the drawer fronts and the gooseneck moldings. Neither were as difficult as I expected. I did one practice piece then made the three drawers and the plith, in the middle of the broken arch pediment. These were made with Flexcut gouges and their new mini scrapers. (No Carvewright system needed)
The cabriole legs are easy to do although when I first started making these they looked intimidating. I’ve made 12 of these now. All you need is a template, a bandsaw a rasp and an orbital sander and you can make one in an hour. Try a practice one, some evening for fun. Norm uses pre-made legs with ball and claw feet. I’ve tried carving a few of these but that’s another level of woodworking skills altogether. Maybe someday….
The goose neck moldings are definitely the hardest part of the project but I did take a short cut here. In Norm’s video, he used 3 different router cutters and/or a table saw, with a lot of hand carving to make a beaded cove molding. I used a Freud 3 ½” panel cutter bit instead. That cutter is really scary when spinning so I used hold-downs to keep my hands away from the cutter. I’m just not that confident I could make the hand cut beads as well as he did. I was also concerned about cutting the two miters joints “dead nuts” on the two ends of the goose neck molding but the laser line on the miter box made it easy.
The bonnet top is actually simple also. In Norm’s version, for the curved top, he used a veneer glued to artist’s canvas. In this version, I used some 3/8” wiggle plywood sent to me by fellow Lumberjock Lee Jesberger. Thanks again Lee!
The rest of the project is pretty much a bunch of boxes and as long as you have a dovetail jig, (I have a Leigh) it’s just a bunch of repetitive cuts. I’m still in awe our forefathers made projects like these without power tools but I’m a firm believer if they had electricity, they would be using table saws, routers and sanders as well.
The finish is a Varathane walnut gel stain to help blend the few pieces of sapwood in the project. Then 12 coats of Sherwin Williams catalyzed lacquer applied with a Earlex HVLP sprayer. Then a coat of Johnson’s paste wax.
This project is a real exercise in patience and just completing one or two process steps per session but like I said, I think most guys can do this. Honestly, I was getting some project fatique towards the end but the results are definitely worth it.
Special thanks to Matt Garcia in Houston for GaryK for their good examples of the same project. Matt and I were communicating during the construction process for tips and techniques.
What’s next? Some easy lathe projects like some bowls and pens for the balance of the summer. I want to do some projects that can be completed in an evening or two after this one before tackling another big project.
Hope you like the results.
Bob A July 14, 2009
-- Bob A in NJ