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

I can understand his reticence, in a way, as he specialises in period-style oak furniture that is distressed and, frankly, would fool me - it looks totally convincing.

I can tell you that the colour comes mostly from Van Dyke crystals, and the actual finish is a top secret beeswax recipe of Ben's own, as is the detail of the rest of the process.

I did, however, polish two chairs which I made for the same room, and achieved a similar appearance with Bojlom's English Brown Oak grain filler, followed by a grubby French polish made by adding various spirit stains to gamet.This was cut back with 0000 wire wool and finished with button polish, then Liberon Black Bison wax.

ABOVE! Drawer apperture prepared with kicker and stop

above: Shelf

Traditional The chest's shelf is made from solid drawer timber and, being adjustable, is not construction held flat by the structure. This means for a that it must be constructed in such a traditional way as to allow for dimensional chest change due to changes in humidity, and the simplest method is to fit above right: breadboard ends, or cleats. As usual, To avoid the ends of the cleats bottom slides being seen when the doors are in from the opened, they are made slightly back narrower than the internal depth of the side facings.

Make up the main part of the shelf by biscuiting together boards to achieve the depth required. When these are dry, square off the ends and rout a tongue on each, then rout a below: shelf is corresponding groove in one edge of adjustable, each cleat - I used the same matched supported on tongue-and-groove cutter set, from the brass pegs Wealden Tool Company, for this as I

"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"

used to make the door and side panel joints.

Glue and cramp the cleats, then trim when dry.

The shelf is supported by small brass pegs - these fit tightly into 5mm (Xoin) holes drilled in the carcass sides, see photo, which is where the adjustability comes in. It is worth making a simple jig to drill the series of holes required - jig is a strong word, actually, since all it consists of is a strip of 6mm (!4in) MDF in which as many holes are drilled as desired - three, in my case. Place this jig in each corner of the carcass and drill through the holes - wear of the jig's holes isn't a problem, as each one is used only four times and the jig is disposable.

The shelf can sit directly onto these pegs, but it is neater if a small recess is routed for each support, see photo, and it is a good habit to get into.

Like all of the wide components, the top is made up of narrower boards biscuit-jointed together. The top is critical in terms of appearance, though, so use two boards if possible and certainly no more than three.

It would look quite wrong to use cleats on the top, and even though it is slot-screwed to the carcass any deflection from flat will stick out like a sore thumb, so choose the most quarter-sawn boards you have -being oak, they will be the best looking boards anyway, so it's no great hardship.

Position the biscuits carefully, to avoid them being revealed when the top is trimmed to size, and take special care when clamping that the top is flat - using sash cramps on alternate faces will help.

Trim the top to size when the glue is dry (why do we always say that in these projects - who's going to trim something while the glue is still wet?).

Rout the moulding round the front and side edges of the top - note that it is a cove and bead, as with the base moulding. With furniture of this period - by which I mean any time before the 20th century - keep the variety of mouldings to a bare minimum; the quickest way to turn a timeless classic into a tacky repro is to cover it with fiddly mouldings.

As mentioned above, the top is slot-screwed to the carcass. In fact, those screws through the front rail into the top are not fitted through slotted holes - they are plain, so that any shrinkage that occurs will not reduce the overhang at the front. The screws at the middle and back are fitted through slots, allowing movement at the back only.


Although the doors were made in part one of this project, there is still quite a lot of work to do on them. First they have to fit the opening, with the regulation not-very-big gap around them. They are also rebated together at the inner edge, and this should be done first.

The inner stiles should be 10mm (%in) wider than the outer stiles, and each door should be 5mm (Xoin) wider than half the width of the door opening: this is because the centre of

"With furniture of this period - by which I mean any time before the 20th century -keep the variety of mouldings to a bare minimum"

LEFT Fit doors with carcass on a flat, level surface to avoid distortion r.;JL 1

Full dimensioned drawings for this project are available free of charge to readers of F&C. Send a self-addressed A4 envelope bearing stamps to the value of 60p to: Mule Chest Drawings, Furniture & Cabinetmaking, GMC Publications Ltd, 86 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 IXN.

ABOVE: Bead to front of closing rebate, note door-stop and bolt slot

ABOVE RIGHT: Till lock and key provide catch and handle

BELOW: Top moulding is cove and bead to match base moulding the pair of doors, when they are closed together, passes though the middle of the rebates, giving 5 mm (Xsin) extra door width each side.

So that the doors look balanced, the door which is rebated on its inner face has a bead on its outer face of the same width as the rebate

  • 10mm (%in) - so that the centre of the pair passes through the middle of the bead. If that doesn't make sense - I accept this is a possibility!
  • draw it out full-size, and you'll see what I mean.

Once the closing rebates and bead have been done, the doors should be fitted to the opening as a pair. I place veneer shims all round, and when the doors sit firmly in the opening with the shims in place, it's a fit.

While fitting the doors, by the il fp

way, make sure that the carcass is sitting on a fiat, level surface so that it doesn't distort. If the floor isn't level at the chest's eventual destination the feet can be shimmed until the carcass is square - fit the doors to an out of square carcass, though, and when siting the piece to make the doors work you'll be shimming to force the carcass into wind, which is pretty insane.

I use my bench as a register surface as it is level, flat and big

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