Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Drawers for the Miniature Slant Front Desk

After the casework and drawer dividers, the drawers came next. Two main features of these drawers include ash inlay on the drawer face surrounded by cockbeaded edges. The cockbeaded edges give depth to the drawer. Walnut was used for the face and ash for the secondary wood. The drawers were fashioned with hand cut half-blind dovetails for the front and through dovetails for the back.The half pins on the end are extra thick since a rabbet will be need to run through them for the cockbeading. The drawers were then fitted to their respective locations. Because these were made during the peak of summer humidity, I opted for a snug fit.

The grooves for the rectangular ash inlay were created using Veritas inlay tools with thin strips of ash fitted into the grooves. The ash was readily available, but definitely not as consistently white and bright as wood from a holly tree.

For the cockbeading, the top and bottom of the drawer face needed to have a rabbet the full width of the face. The goal is to make a rabbet at a consistent depth using a moving fillister plane, but there was nowhere for the depth stop to reference off of. Therefore, the inner 1/5 or so was not initially rabbetted so that it could serve as a guide for the depth stop. This thin strip was then taken down with a shoulder plane to be flush with the initial rabbet.

To preserve the dovetails, the rabbets for the sides are about half the width of the face. The nicker with the moving fillister plane was deployed to prevent splintering across the grain. To further ensure no fraying on these cross grain cuts, once the nicks were made, the shoulders were cut with an extra fine crosscut dovetail saw.

To create the applied bead for the drawer face perimeter, a walnut strip the thickness of the rabbet is first cut to size. I experimented with two methods to create a bead on the edge. First, a bead can be created on the face of a thicker piece of wood, which can then be cut with a saw. Alternatively, the strip can be cut first.  The strip can then be run through a Stanley 55 plane mounted upside down in a vise containing a bead profile. Both methods were relatively efficient and accurate. This second method is similar to using a scratch stock.

The applied cockbeaded pieces are mitered together to create a frame around the drawer face. The top and bottom strips are glued first. The smaller side pieces are then fitted in.  This way, if you mess up, you only lose a small side piece. It helps to use a shooting board to creep up on the correct width. 

 One mistake that I made when making these beaded edges was that I made the miter for the top and bottom strips the full width of its strip. Instead, the miter should have only been the thickness of the thinner side pieces. This left a small gap on the rear corners of the strips that I filled in with small wood wedges... pretty hard to tell the difference in the final product. Another way to prevent the gap would be to make the top and bottom strips as thin as the side strips. The downside would be that a line or gap might be visible on the top edge.

Next time, the secret compartments.