Wrestling With Rectangles

RIGHT; Exploded view showing construction

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  • Pad auk wedges
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Grooved to take splines

  • Sycamore sides and top
  • Sycamore sides and top

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Drawer runner

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Drawer runner

  • English cherry drawfronts
  • Separate drawer frame
  • Corner blocks
  • Cherry coving

Splines

  • English cherry drawfronts
  • Separate drawer frame
  • Corner blocks
  • Cherry coving

Splines

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out my intemperance on any odd pieces of wood to hand or foot!

Glue is first applied to all surfaces to be joined, fitting the drawer runners into the bearer rails dry to allow for movement, then the bearer rails are fitted into their respective mortices in one carcass side, which are laid flat on blocks on the floor.

Next place the carcass top and bottom in position, fit one end of the second carcass side and gradually pivot the other end down, fitting the bearer rails one at a time; then, using a block and hammer, tap into place.

Raise the carcass into an upright position and apply clamps to bring the joints together - an awkward move as wedges must be placed into the tenons after they are pulled up but before they are obscured by clamping blocks.

Working from the top down, each section is clamped and wedges inserted; the clamps are then removed and placed upon the next section, the wedges proving adequate to hold the sides tight whilst drying.

The carcass is checked for square - and of course mine wasn't, though with the aid of a hefty pre-war 6ft T-bar cramp pulling across the diagonals, this was soon settled.

When dry, the protruding tenons were cut flush to the sides, cleaned up and sanded to 320 grit.

Drawers

The drawers are easy by comparison - only 150 dovetails 'hand-cut'on the bandsaw! The drawer gradings are determined by reference to the Hambridge Rectangles method, see panel.

The sycamore drawer-sides are thicknessed to 7mm, which looks right to me. The backs are 10mm white ash (Fraxinus americana). The fronts, back and sides require cross-cutting to size -1 use a chop saw set perfectly square - finishing with a light touch across the grain with a bench plane.

Mark the dovetails; I prefer

'English' - very fine - dovetails for thinner sides. The tails are bandsawn and the waste chiselled out. The pins are then marked out onto the fronts from the sides using a sharp knife, sawn to the line and waste removed.

Drawer slips - with central muntins to spread the load - are used. The drawer bottoms are of cedar of Lebanon (Cednts libani), which allows a lovely aroma to waft when opened.

Plinth

The mitred plinth was constructed from sycamore. Each leg is made up above: Front and side elevation

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