Editor Paul Richardson completes this traditional piece

above and below: Mule chest as started

IN THE FIRST PART of this project, see page 2, the main carcass was completed, and the arched-panel doors were prepared. This leaves what I call the fiddly bits.

Base moulding

First of the fiddly bits, starting at the bottom, are the bracket feet. The bracket foot is one of my favourite period details - as it is fitted slightly proud of the carcass it gives the piece an appearance of sitting firm and square on the floor, without looking as heavy as a solid plinth.

The other nice thing about bracket feet is that they are made from one-inch timber, so if using them, a whole piece can be made from one bought thickness.

Before the feet can be attached, though, a moulding must be added to the base of the carcass to provide both a visual break and an extended ledge for the feet.

The moulding itself is a cove and bead - called a 'classical mould' by router cutter suppliers, though I wish they wouldn't. It is mitred at the corners, and while you are welcome to pin, biscuit or otherwise fix it on, the gluing area is so large that I simply glue and clamp it. The moulding must be flush with the bottom of the carcass.

Bracket feet

Each front foot comprises two shaped parts, mitred together - it is best to cut the mitres before the profile. The two parts are glued together and to the base of the carcass, then glue blocks are added inside the foot and to the carcass. Traditionally, Scotch glue was used for this due to its fast grab, meaning above and below: Mule chest as started

below left: Anatomy of front bracket foot...

below right: ... and the back that clamps were not needed, and I still use it unless the glue pot is cold, in which case I use a fast-setting PVA such as Franklins' Wood Moulding Glue. With either adhesive the parts are rubbed into position, held briefly while the glue grabs, then left to dry.

Pin the joint if you feel moved to do so; any slight openness of the rhitre can be dealt with by lightly hammering the oak along the join.

The back feet are even easier - one shaped piece, one plain piece butted to it, and glue blocks along the inside of the joins.

"The back feet are even easier - one shaped piece, one plain piece butted to it, and glue blocks along the inside of the joins"

Drawers

Next fiddly bits are the drawers. The openings are almost ready for them, but require kickers to be fitted to the outer runners. These are prepared to slightly less than the width of the internal measurement of the side facings, and glued in position.

The drawers themselves are the usual dovetailed affairs; you should have saved some highly figured oak for the fronts, and plain but quartered stuff for the sides and back.

RIGHT: Bracket feet proud of carcass partially supported by cove and bead face moulding

ABOVE! Drawer apperture prepared with kicker and stop

With a chest of this kind thin, fine drawer sides look wrong and are not called for, so they are finished thick enough to be grooved for the bottoms.

Cut the fronts just too wide - by a millimetre, or a full thirty-second of an inch - to fit in the openings, then mark out and cut the sides' dovetails on the bandsaw. These are then transferred to the fronts and backs with a marking knife.

Cut the sockets for the tails fractionally deeper than the sides' thickness - more so in the backs - then glue-up, hammering the pins over to pinch the dovetails closed.

After cleaning up the sides, the drawers should be a near-fit. Adjust as necessary, then fit the bottoms, which slide into their grooves from the back and are screwed, through a slot, up into the drawer back.

Drawer stops can now be fitted; allow the drawers to sit inside the carcass front a little, as this will accentuate their edges - we aren't making a smooth, modern piece here, remember, so every element should be clearly defined.

POLISHING

When all the hardware is fitted satisfactorily, off it comes so that the chest can be polished.

The colour of this chest was to match other oak pieces in the clients' house, although it was not to be distressed, thankfully. I'd like to tell you how it was done, but can't, as due to time pressures the polishing was carried out by a friend ofTechnical Editor Alan Goodsell, called Ben, and he won't tell me!

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