Principal Dimensions In Mm


Every maker has a personal preference for marking knives. Because they are cheap and no sharpening is involved, I favour the type of utility knife which is fitted with snap-off blades.

The routing was accomplished with a Festo 900E. I find its one-handled design quick to set up and, when used with the FS 800 guide rail system, extremely versatile, often avoiding having to set up complicated fences and jigs.

DeWalt's guide rail system, which complements their complete range of routers, works in a similar fashion.

BELOW: Door components, splines and inlay almost ready for gluing up


BELOW: Door components, splines and inlay almost ready for gluing up

,T< • -------' • -Bl above: Final dry-fit inlay almost complete

80° drawer front above: Final dry-fit inlay almost complete

Wrestling with r

With a nod to David Savage, Mike Cowie makes an Arts and Crafts-inspired chest of drawers

MIKE COWIE turned to cabinetmaking after redundancy. He took a City and Guilds furniture-making course, aligning this with a great deal of additional, unpaid, work to achieve a reasonable standard. He says he sometimes doubts his sanity in entering such a fickle profession, but relishes the challenge of trying to meet his own standards. Currently working from a converted garage, he is aiming towards a dedicated workshop/showroom.

right! Pale sycamore sides understate the size of this chest of drawers and add subtlety below: Detail of English cherry coving separating plinth and carcass

AN ADVANTAGE of self-employment - which admittedly can mean some lean times - is that personal preference can be exercised in the choice of a particular piece to be made under the guise of a display item or simply to improve quality.

This chest of drawers was inspired by one made by David Savage in sycamore and English cherry.

Timber, design

Initially the whole was to be constructed from sycamore (Acer pseudoplantanus), a wood which I feel is terribly undervalued -though mercifully cheap! I felt, however, that too much of it in such a large piece would probably have looked too bland, and I would have opted for American cherry (Primus serotina) as a contrast for the drawer fronts had this timber been available in very wide section.

Instead I substituted its English cousin (Primus avium), using this wood for the first time. On first impressions this seemed a little subdued due to the flashes of green within, though on finishing with oil the colours radiated out.

The length of sycamore on hand determined the overall height, and a quick sketch offered a pleasing width that, below: Detail of English cherry coving separating plinth and carcass jll'"|Ul(

ectangles though not quite in concert with the Golden Section, see panel, was pleasing nonetheless. Rules are made to be broken!

I decided to give the chest an Arts and Crafts look by virtue of dovetailed sides with through mortice and tenon bearer rails; and while this looks good, and has drawn many positive comments, it was a bit of a devil to put together, see below.


I cut the sycamore to size, planed and butt-jointed it with the aid of the Piano clamping system, a really excellent performer and to my mind a must for the professional or committed amateur.

When dry, the glued up boards are cleaned up with a finely set No 4 plane, marked to size and squared off with a Festo portable saw and guide rail; this is simple to use and a whole lot cheaper than a dimension saw!

A feather cut with a plane is made on the edge to eradicate any saw marks and ensure squareness. Dovetails are marked and here, because I am as yet unable to cut dovetails by eye, 1 found an aluminium dovetail square useful.

Against convention, the tails are placed on the long sides of the carcass for visual effect.


Cutting the tails requires the assistance of some two-by-two battens clamped to the board to reduce chattering.

When possible I cut dovetails on the bandsaw, but in this case I was glad of my £1.99 gent's saw. This tool is positive with a fine kerf, but I am experimenting with a Japanese dovetail saw and am as yet undecided.

Problems ensued in marking out the pins; trying to balance a 1110mm (54in) length of timber steadily in a confined space while scribing gives the air of a pantomime.

For accuracy, the through tenon positions were marked from a rod.

These mortices for these were cut from both sides, first using a router to cut away the majority of waste and then paring back to the line with a chisel.

To ensure accurate repeat cuts, the bearer rails were cut to size on my chop saw. The tenons were marked and cut on a table saw using a self-built jig, courtesy of Bob Wearing's Making Woodwork Aids and Devices, see panel.

Because the saw's crown guard and riving knife have to be removed for this, ensure that adequate guarding is built into the jig. The shoulders were removed using a cutoff box on the table saw, again ensuring accurate repeat cuts.

Unless a random effect is desired, carefully mark the direction for the tenons' diagonal wedges on their ends.

The drawer runners require cutting to length and stub tenoning into the mortices cut into the bearer rails. I cut these tenons by clamping two runners at a time end-to-end in the vice, then routed them using a side fence and straight cutter.

The carcass requires a rebate cut to accommodate the back panel. Again, this is best done with the router, side fence and straight cutter.

Carcass assembly

Cutting the tails on the uprights means gluing all the carcass components together at the same time. Preparation is everything, taking into account time, space, clamps and blocks, wedges all cut to size and a slow-setting glue such as Cascamite -plus, preferably, some assistance.

Attempting this task single-handed is rather foolish but even so this is my preferred way of working. Helpers can be the biggest liability and, where possible, I take above: Graduating the drawer sizes is a traditional device that adds a pleasing sense of proportion

Drawer rail twin tenoned into carcass

Dry tenon and mortice to allow for movement

Drawer rail twin tenoned into carcass

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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