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derekcohen last won the day on June 20

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About derekcohen

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    Journeyman Poster

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  • Location
    Perth, Australia
  • Woodworking Interests
    Building furniture predominantly with handtools

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  1. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    Sorry Tom ... Regards from Perth Derek
  2. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    No. I just white-knuckle it! The issue is that the side of the board is angled, and this makes it difficult to create a support platform. It is more of an issue laterally. The depth can be controlled with a fence I built on the router. So I hold the router very carefully to ensure that it does not drop to one side. Fortunately it is light and small. So far there has not been a mishap (touch wood)! Regards from Perth Derek
  3. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    Published? Do you mean books? If so, no. I have featured in several magazines, such as Fine Woodworking, Popular Woodworking, and the Australian Wood Review, both for furniture and tool building, and have a website. None of this means that much these days. Regards from Perth Derek
  4. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    This is just a taste of what I will be doing for a few more weekends. A bench shot for those that like to see how others work ... Below I have a few shots of the dovetailing (again). These are more to show specific strategies used, rather than dovetailing as a procedure. The drawer fronts are moved a couple of mm past the front of the drawer blades, and marked all round ... In an early post I showed how a bevel was formed on the drawer front to create a square junction with the drawer side. The bevel is seen below the blue tape ... The ends of the drawer front angle, and it is not possible to use a jig to align it with a side. I never do this anyway, and simply use a wide chisel ... It's a bit of a balancing act, but the blue tape acts like a non slip, and the knife only has to make one cutting stroke to sever the layer of tape. This reduces the chance of movement and error ... The kerfs are sawn, and then deepened with a kerfing chisel. Note that the ends of the board are supported by a clamp to prevent splitting ... Rather than chop out the waste, I used a trim router to remove move of it. This saved a lot of time ... When removing the remaining waste, I found that the thinner blades of the Blue Spruce "dovetail" chisels worked best to pare away thin slices to the line.. The Blue Spruce fishtail chisel is my favourite for clearing the corners of sockets ... The completed socket .. I counted on the parts going together off the saw, that is, no fine tuning for a fit. There is just not enough time for correcting the fit. This was the last drawer for the weekend. Much the same as the others. Just pushed together - no clean up ... This was the first row, shown here to get a better view of the design ... This is two rows - of drawers dovetailed on one corner only. And these twelve required an average of 1 hour each to complete ... The next weekend should see the remaining drawers complete this dovetailed end. I am hoping that I shall find a way to speed the time taken for dovetailing, but I am estimating that it will require a further 3 weekends to complete the drawers. Regards from Perth Derek
  5. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    I was in two minds whether to post this, but since the method is a practice, it would be great to get feedback, since the strategy I have come up with is complex. Can you do this another way? Each row has 4 drawers, and these will be shaped to match the bow across the chest. At the start, the drawer fronts are to be left straight. This maintains the reference sides. The ends of each drawer front have been bevelled to match fit the bow of each drawer blade. This is a fitted (practice) drawer front (posted last time) .. The drawer side has been dovetailed to the obtuse angled side (again, details in my previous post: ... The need now is to dovetail the acute angle ... This is where it gets interesting. It you look at the lines drawn on the drawer side, if made coplanar with the drawer front, the dovetails will need to me cut at an angle. That is much too complicated, and likely to be a poor fit. Then, if the baseline is cut square (as usual), the dovetail will end up in the centre of the side (and not extending up from edge of the board). The only way I could come up with for a fit that simplified the tail board was to rebate the pin board, so .... The rebate needs to be as deep as the drawer side (for a flush fit), and square to the side (so the baseline of the tail board fits flush). The first step is to mark the baseline ... On the piece above, you can also see the rebate markings. The rebate is now cut parallel to the side ... Remove some of the waste with a chisel ... Now that rebate needed to be both straight and flat. It needs to be an equal depth along its length. It could have been chiselled, but that is less efficient. A shoulder plane as this would not ensure a square shoulder without extra work to create an absolutely square edge for a tight fit. In the end I came up with this idea to plane it using a LN Edge Plane. A spacer was attached to plane to the 1/4" depth ... The finish was spot on ... Transferring The rear of the tail board, with blue tape used to create a fence ... Tails on pins ... The socket shoulders are deepened to create a socket that undercuts the baseline .. Because the angle was so difficult to chisel, a trimmer router was used to remove most of the waste ... ... before the remainder was removed ... Coming together The fit ... The angle ... This is a rough idea of what it will look like once the drawer front is shaped ... The two sides that must be made for all drawers ... Regards from Perth Derek
  6. How much space do you have? What machines/tools do you consider important and indispensible? What do you build, or would like to build? The footprint of a 14" bandsaw is much the same as a 17". You cannot convert a 14" into a 17" by adding a riser kit (been there, done that). For resawing, the frame needs to be stiff to carry wider blades. Adding a riser just creates a longer noodle. Get the larger saw, but check the blade it can tension. Regards from Perth Derek
  7. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    Those are good questions, Brendon. I have run through the whole build - design and joinery. There are not just the drawers to complete, but the final styling of the carcase, including design and making the knobs, and then the base and its design and construction. I have not touched on the latter, but it promises to be interesting. Regards from Perth Derek
  8. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    Steve, the shooting board is a Stanley #52. It came with a Stanley #51 shooting plane ... The Stanley #51 is the model for the LN #51. I have one ... However, I had tested the Veritas version for Lee Valley in pre-production form, and it came to stay ... There is a full review here: And an article where I restored the Stanley #51/52: a Stanley 5152.html Regards from Perth Derek
  9. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    The rebate is just one more thing to do. The tape is quick and works well enough. Regards from Perth Derek
  10. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    Chestnut, been there and done that. Trust me, your way adds so much more room for error - for example, you have to cut the baseline of the dovetails at an angle (slant). I have done this before. See here: These were bowed and tapered drawers (compound dovetails) for the Lingerie Chest ... Regards from Perth Derek Today was a public holiday in Western Australia (WA Day), and so I managed a few hours in the workshop this afternoon ("arvo", which is afternoon in Australian). The morning was filled with writing bloody reports. Aren't I the lucky one! It was great to escape back to the build. I wanted to show some of the other preliminary tasks that are needed before one can begin dovetailing the drawers. Here are the collective drawer fronts. They have been sized for height ... The original rough sawn board of black walnut was cut into three sections, and each section is enough for two rows. The rows were separated, and will be used sequentially. This is shown above. The original test drawer front served as a template for width .. The plan is to work with one vertical row at a time, since each will have the same width. This will reduce set up time fitting each drawer blank. Here is the template drawer front fitted to the lower most drawer ... All the drawers in this row have the same width. Fitting the drawer front involves (1) sizing the height ... this was done (above), then (2) mitering the sides to fit the drawer opening. Begin by obtaining the angle across the opening ... That was for the first row. This is for the second row. Transfer the angle to a second sliding bevel (to set the blade angle on my table saw) ... Cut the angle on one end, and then set up the table saw for a repeat saw cut ... The first row is done ... A close up of some figure ... I was looking at the effect of the straight drawers fronts against the curved drawer blades. It was interesting ... no, I'm sticking to curved drawers. More next week. Regards from Perth Derek
  11. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    Part eight - I think that this is the 7th weekend of the build. The plan is to start building the drawers, or at least have a plan for the drawers. There is not as much time available this weekend as I would have liked. First, I needed to complete the drawer sides. About one half of the sides prepared were glued from two sections. The joins needed to be smoothed to leave each side appearing seamless. I started out using a scraper .. .. and ended using a smoother, which was quicker. The smoother was set to take extremely fine shavings - which came off like fine hair - as I did not want to remove any more of the 1/4" thickness than absolutely necessary (the boards began a smidgeon over 1/4", and so ended up close to dammit) .. The sides were jointed square on two sides ... ... and then fitted to the cabinet ... It took most of Saturday, but finally ... Sunday afternoon arrived and I was back in the workshop. The goal here was to see if my devilish plan for dovetailing curved drawer fronts would work. The following is a test, so let me know what you think and whether you can come up with an easier strategy. Each row of drawers with be made from a single black walnut board, and so the figure will flow without interruption. Actually, the boards used made two rows each, and all the drawer fronts will come from the same original board. For now I am using a scrap to test the method. Briefly, the drawer front will remain flat until the sides are dovetailed on, and the curve will be added later. The first task is to fit the drawer front into the drawer opening, and this requires that the sides are mitred. This was done on the table saw ... This is the fit into the drawer opening ... The curve can be added by sliding out the drawer front and tracing along the drawer blade ... That will be shaped later. For now the challenge is two-fold: firstly, the mitres complicate how the dovetails will join the two parts. In the photo below, what will happen if the walnut receives sockets (as in half-blind dovetails), the tails will extend over the drawer front and into the drawer. The solution I came up with was to mitre one side of the drawer front, and rebate the other side ... I concentrated on the mitred side today as this is the more difficult of the two. The first step was to mark the width of the drawer side ... The second was to use edge planes (these are by LN) to add a mitre that was square with the angled side ... The second challenge would be to secure and transfer the tails to the pin board, then to saw and chisel the sockets. Here is the first challenge ... Trying to hold the tail board at an angle, and steady so that it did not move while the tails could be traced to the pin board ... well, I needed another set of hands! I finally came up with a solution, recalling Alan Peters/Rob Cosman's rabbet trick. In this case, I added two layers of blue tape to create a fence ... This made it possible to stabilise the parts ... Using blue tape to transfer the markings ... Sawn ... Kerfs deepened at the baseline end with a kerfing chisel ... Clearly my chisels were not sharp enough as the walnut was crumbling ... It cleaned up enough to pound the drawer side on .. What was reassuring was the tight corners. The "drawer" was slid into the drawer opening ... A bit more practicing, and I will be ready for the real thing. Any thoughts how else this could be done? Regards from Perth Derek
  12. derekcohen

    Bowed Drawer and Door Fronts

    Titebond 3 or Liquid Hide Glue would work well. Both have more open time. Regards from Perth Derek
  13. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    Hi Chet No jigs or machines for dovetails. I do ALL joinery by hand only. Regards from Perth Derek My feelings too, Tom. Regards from Perth Derek
  14. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    This weekend I spent time preparing to build the drawers for the apothecary chest. There are 24 drawers, which makes 48 drawer sides, plus 24 drawer fronts and 24 drawer backs. And then there are 24 drawer bottoms. And slips for the drawers. All this before building the drawers can begin. I wonder how long this would take if I did it all with hand tools? I've been reading the posts by Chris Schwarz about the forthcoming publication of John Brown's “Welsh Stick Chairs”. This was a seminal book in the same manner as James Krenov's "A Cabinetmaker's Notebook". I've not read John Brown's book, and I am looking forward to doing so. I have read Jim Krenov many times. It seems to me that they are similar in the way that they value the craft that is woodworking, and the importance of hand tools. However, they differ in the way they view machines. Krenov used his to prepare the way for hand tools. Brown would have nothing to do with them. It seemed he feared that craft would be lost if machines were used ... "The hand too maker needs the best bench he can make – or afford! You must know your tools, what they are made of, fine adjustments and sharpening angles. Everything must be clean and sharp. Tools talk to the craftsman, and will let you know when they are right. What the machine does by noisy, brute force, you will be able to do with quiet cunning" "I would not go so far as to say that there are no skills necessary to working machines. It is important to be able to read and interpret complicated instructions. What you end up with is engineering skills – precision engineering in wood". Link: What has this to do with the work I did this weekend? Well, I could relate to the role of engineer. Preparing the wood for the drawers with my machines was the work of a machinist. Would I have rather spent the time doing this by hand? Well, I have done this in the past - I worked almost exclusively with handtools and a few hand power tools for over 25 years before purchasing a tablesaw, jointer, thicknesser/planer, and bandsaw. I began upgrading these over the past 7 years. I would not go back. Machines do not replace handwork. The question is whether this compromises the work I do? The drawers have Tasmanian Oak sides and back. The drawer front will be Black Walnut to match the carcase. The oak has become harder to come by in Perth. I prize it because it is all quarter sawn, which is ideal for drawer sides as it is stable. It is light in colour and a good contrast to dark timbers. But I have so little now. Much of it is narrow boards - I grabbed everything that my local Bunnings store had a few years ago when I heard they were no longer going to sell it. These boards would be resawn and book-matched to become the drawer sides ... Where my jointer-thicknesser/planer excels is that I can cut the boards to short lengths, and still process them. Shorter boards will not lose much waste when flattening ... This was at the end of Saturday. Drawer sides taken to 1/4" and stickered. I have had good fortune with this method in the past. The wood is stable and cleaned up with a cabinet scraper. If there is any slight movement, it will be taken out when dovetailed. The black walnut is rough sawn. This board is 1" thick and will make all the drawer fronts. The tablesaw is new. The slider is magic to rip as well as crosscut. Here is a Frans and Fritz jig used to quickly rip the short lengths into two sections (= two rows of drawer fronts) ... This is just raw material. It does not replace the handwork in building the drawers. I have begun fitting the drawer sides to the drawer blades ... There is so much more still to do ... and I have not even made the drawer bottoms or slips. Regards from Perth Derek
  15. derekcohen

    Apothecary chest

    Well the carcase was finally glued up, everything square as can be ... and I forgot to take a photo of this! However, while planing the outside, I discovered that the black walnut required nothing more advanced than a simple single-blade common angle plane. Many years ago I received a smoother from Steve Knight. This was the first occasion I got to use it. Just wonderful to work this wood! The next step was to complete the vertical dividers. These were inserted and, with some relief, these were square as well. A reward for attention to detail? The photo below shows the next steps: the stopped dados need to be extended, and the faces of the dividers need to be shaped to match the angles of the carcase. The dados are marked to 12mm from the edge ... ... and chiselled and pared away ... These were then glued in place (yes, I got that one! ) ... During the dry fit I had been careful to fit them flush with the rear rebates, and then saw them parallel. This made it easier to ensure that they were glued square (since the fronts could be flush with the lower edge of the carcase, but not the upper edge, which has an overhang) ... Time now to install the drawer blades. These were positioned loose, as before ... To fit them to the stopped dados, the front was marked out ... Below the rebates are marked and knife walls cut .. The first saw cut is across the top to establish the face ... Then saw diagonally along the vertical line ... .. before finishing on the horizontal ... This will maximise obtaining a straight saw cut. This is the fit once all is done ... The drawer blades will remain loose until the drawers are completed, since they still need to be used as a template for each drawer. At the rear of the cabinet, the drawer blades are marked for length and sawn flush (in the photo below, half are flush, with half to go) ... All done. Each is marked for repositioning ... So that is it for this past weekend. The drawers are next. Curved fronts and compound dovetails. How much fun is that! Regards from Perth Derek