OK, The French Veneer (at last) #6: Drawers, Dowels, and Dovetails

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by shipwright posted 10-28-2014 03:32 AM 2444 reads 2 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Drawer Front Marquetry Assembly Part 6 of OK, The French Veneer (at last) series Part 7: Messing With a Master »

Well all the colour decisions have been made and the flowers are glued in. The next job is to build a jewellery box to glue them onto. I have decided on Baltic Birch plywood for the carcase because it is very important that the top and bottom do not warp. With no ends on the carcase itself the outer reaches of both are supported only on the back and inner edges.The bottom, back, and top are dovetailed and the dividers are in dados. I veneered both sides of the bottom and dividers but won’t do the inside of the top until I can apply the top marquetry at the same time. The veneer is Walnut and , like the drawers, will be ebonized.

The drawers are solid Walnut with three corners dovetailed and the fourth attached to the hinge barrel.

In the first photo above and in the next one I am using a sawing jig that I made from David Barron’s design.
In the article I used he suggested 7/8” magnets and I made the mistake of reading “Rare Earth” between the lines. The jig didn’t work as well for me as I had hoped, partly because the magnets were WAY too strong and partly because my somewhat arthritic thumbs are not. In the subsequent photos below I have switched to the Veritas jig which works exactly the same except that the magnets aren’t as strong and the screw clamp does the holding. My dovetails are better and my thumbs are much happier.

The hinge pins must be a very close tolerance to keep the drawers from drooping when open and resting on each other when closed. I know lots of people work with precision measuring tools and many are better turners than I am but I have always been a “measure from the work” kind of guy so this is how I achieved the necessary close tolerance. (The wood is Queen Ebony and I’m not expecting it to swell up at all.)

I cut a square of 3/4” plywood and drilled a 1/8” hole in the middle.

Then I made a 1/2” hole half way through centering on the 1/8” hole.

I roughed out a shaft and turned one end to 1/2”, gauged with a 1/2” wrench, cut off the oversize end …

.... and fitted it in the block, now mounted on the live center. This allowed me to fit a cut off segment of one of my actual hinge barrels onto the shaft and move it along as I reduced the shaft.

Doing it this way I was able to remove the dowel from the lathe and check for fit in the actual barrels and still return it to the lathe if it was too tight.

When I was satisfied, I applied a little wax.

Here’s a rough assembly. It still knocks apart and that’s a good thing because it has to travel to Az. at the end of the week. There is minimal play in the hinges and no noticeable droop despite the appearance in the last photo. The apparent droop there is “wide angle droop”. It corresponds to the apparent arc in the perfectly flat top. :-)

That’s all for now. My next entry will be from sunny Az. where I will be getting on with the rest of the marquetry.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

23 comments so far

View JADobson's profile


1100 posts in 2165 days

#1 posted 10-28-2014 03:36 AM

Paul, I am really excited to see how this turns out. Looks like a fantastic project.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10153 posts in 4106 days

#2 posted 10-28-2014 03:46 AM

Very VERY nice…

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18312 posts in 3730 days

#3 posted 10-28-2014 04:11 AM

Wow, U R moving right along on this. I was wondering if you’d have to give up
AZ to keep on keeping on with this, but the cat is out of the bag now ;-) Have a safe trip.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3357 days

#4 posted 10-28-2014 04:14 AM

ok paul here is the deal, sometime this winter, you and your sweety drive to alabama, and you give me one on one classes for 5 days, i will feed you some of the best cooking i can muster, ill grill you steaks, bake you your favorite pies, cakes, you will have free anything and everything…..i shall build your romantic fires for the night….resting in the lovley weather of the life in the country in the south, peach cobblers….waffles and eggs, pancakes and eggs, real french toast…LOL…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View tomd's profile


2160 posts in 3824 days

#5 posted 10-28-2014 04:47 AM

Very nice case build, looks real good. By sweety I think he means your chevy.

-- Tom D

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1044 posts in 2366 days

#6 posted 10-28-2014 08:55 AM

It’s looking good!

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3388 days

#7 posted 10-28-2014 09:04 AM

I love the box case and the barrel hinge set-up Paul. I’m sure that if a jewel thief breaks into your house he will take the jewelry box too. I would caution you about taking Bob’s hospitality down there in Alabama with all that good food. He plans to fatten you up so you won’t be able to leave because you will be to large to fit into your car and then he will keep you until he learns all your woodworking secrets. That could take quite a long time.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Sodabowski's profile


2374 posts in 2887 days

#8 posted 10-28-2014 09:46 AM

My oh my, Paul. This is taking shape really fast!

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View SPalm's profile


5321 posts in 3936 days

#9 posted 10-28-2014 11:38 AM

This is so awesome. I am at a loss for words.

Have a safe trip,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20759 posts in 3159 days

#10 posted 10-28-2014 12:30 PM

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the process steps. I love to see how thing are designed and made like that!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View prometej065's profile


335 posts in 3737 days

#11 posted 10-28-2014 01:37 PM

Dear friend Paul to perfection leads your project!


View JoeMcGlynn's profile


219 posts in 2408 days

#12 posted 10-28-2014 01:43 PM

Paul—just fantastic. I can’t wait to see the marquetry added to the case, this is going to be stunning.

Is the black on the marquetry panels ebonized walnut or gaboon ebony? I thought it was the latter, so I’m assuming that the ebonized walnut is to avoid the crazy expensive real ebony everywhere else?

-- Blog:

View shipwright's profile


8006 posts in 2852 days

#13 posted 10-28-2014 02:49 PM

Thanks all.

Bob, I was all set to take you up until Mike put me onto your fiendish plan. ........ good try though. :-)

Joe, you are exactly right. The Gaboon Ebony veneer is just too precious to be using anywhere except the marquetry. Ebonized walnut will match it very well. It isn’t just about the expense either. There is only so much Gaboon Ebony to be had and I don’t believe it should be squandered.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Ocelot's profile


2006 posts in 2692 days

#14 posted 10-28-2014 02:58 PM


If you fall for Bob’s plan, I’ll drive down and wash dishes for him while he feeds you up – and look on from the corner stool and sweep the sawdust and chips in the shop!


View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2539 days

#15 posted 10-28-2014 05:36 PM

That is looking so cool.

-- Brian Timmons -

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics