Schmit Family
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23 October 2007 9:46 pm

Chest of Drawers

After more than five years, the chest of drawers is complete and moved to our bedroom. Photos of the final product have been added to the Chest of Drawers photo album. The chest is based on Dr. White's Chest featured in Thos. Moser's How to Build Shaker Furniture. The project was a bit beyond my abilities. The plans in Moser's book consist of three pages that contain one photo and six sketches. I'm more accustomed to detailed, measured drawings and step-by-step instructions.

Regardless, I figured it out as I went along and opted for the more traditional approaches to construction. The back of the chest isn't plywood but rather secondary wood splined together to allow for expansion and contraction. In fact, the only plywood in the chest are the bottoms of the drawers and the dust panels in the lowest drawer frame. I could have made raised panels for these, but then this project would have taken ten years and weighed an extra ton. In addition to using a little plywood, I also bought the pulls rather than turning my own. All joints in the drawer panels are pinned and the drawers are dovetailed. The face frame is joined with dovetails or lap joints and is attached to the case with finishing nails. The mortise and tenon doors contain raised panels cut on the table saw. The sides and back of each drawer are constructed from aromatic cedar; a technique borrowed from Restoration Hardware's furniture. One advantage of taking five years to finish a project is that, when the project is finished, the yellow pine has already begun to yellow. I enhanced the color and added some projection with an application of boiled linseed oil. The linseed oil should provide some protection while allowing the yellow pine to continue to yellow with age.

I used practically every tool in my shop to construct the chest. Some tools, I used for the first time on this project. I was particularly impressed with the Akeda DC16 Dovetail Jig which I used for all the dovetails on the drawers. On the other end of the spectrum, I was very impressed with the Veritas low-angle block plane which made fitting the drawers a joy. I really wish I had a planer and joiner to square the stock before assembling the side panels and top. They are on the wish list for the next project.

What is the next project? I have no idea. Whatever it is, it will be smaller, lighter, cheaper than the chest of drawers and come with detailed instructions. Actually, I do have three more shelves for the family room sitting unfinished in the basement. No worries, they have only been there for a year and a half so far.

Posted by geoff at 21:46 in /woodworking