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Thread: Progress on a neander project

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Progress on a neander project

    This was a weekend of neandering on a reproduction piece I have been building since late August, a John Townsend Newport Kneehole Desk. The original is in the RISD museum. There will be 4 carved shells, 3 on the top drawer front and one on the kneehole door. I am deviating from the original in material respects with regard to certain construction details and materials, but not otherwise. For example, the drawer parts are hard maple, not pine. The top is with lapped DT stringers, and the top screwed to them, as opposed to a full sliding DT, where I saw potential problems over time, both in terms of assembly, and possible rough handling. The drawer sides on the gallery drawers are of quatersawn sycamore, not pine, per the suggesting of Steve Wargo (I liked the suggestion, and has some laying around).

    The work at this time, as I near completion, was focused on building the top drawer and gallery, and gluing up and doing the final fitting of the principal drawers.

    The top “drawer” is really a drop front writing surface, with gallery and very small drawers. The top “drawer” has vertical grain sides, DT’ed top and bottom. All hand cut.

    The dividers in the gallery are 3/16" thickness, which was achieved with electrons, followed by hand planing. But, the dados for the gallery dividers were cut by hand, with a marking knife and Stanley No. 71 router plane with a 1/8" cutter, and the joinery, all 30 degree angles, were cut with a block as a guide and a paring chisel, both in terms of the “tenon” and the “mortise.”

    The small drawers were all hand cut/carved (for the blockfront aspects) and hand DT’d.

    I decided to forego the drawer locks on the main drawers since my bride and I decided we would rather have a thief take the contents of the desk than break it open. This permitted me to glue up the 6 main drawers and do final fitting without having to leave them apart, awaiting hardware.

    It was a day with the planes and chisels. Have I mentioned that I am addicted to the process of making drawers?

    I am having a great time on this project. It is part of a class, which I took in order to learn carving. This is why the 4 shells are not yet done; I am a bit ahead of the class. (Too much free time?) The base is heavily carved, although some electrons were used as well. The wood is mahogany.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2

    Nice Job so far Alan

    It looks like a great job so far and I'm sure you're having fun with it. Thanks for the reminder though, I'd forgotten I'd promised to send you measured drawing elevations of a Goddard-Townsend shell. I'll take care of it tonite. I just stuffed a note in my pocket to remind me. Have you decided yey on the finished color ofothe mahogany?
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  3. #3
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    Jul 2004
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    Very fine work there, Alan.

    You can always add simple escutcheons to the drawers. Gives the impression of a lock without the entire lockset.

    What is it about the process of drawer making?
    I enjoy it as well....even though it is a part of a larger whole, completing a drawer has its own singular satisfactions.
    ~Dan

  4. #4
    Lovely work.
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

  5. #5
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    Looking great Alan....keep those project pics coming! I'd especially like to see progress pics of the shell carvings..it's great to see them evolve....
    Roger

  6. #6
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    Dan,
    In the original, the escutcheons are part of the plate behind the bale. I will locate the handles so that I can retro fit the locks if I canage my mind.

    I like making drawers because:
    1. There is nothing like the feel of opening a properly made wooden drawer. It is like silk in its smoothness.
    2. Few people make a drawer that is wonderful, so it is a matter of much price.
    3. A properly made and fitted drawer will last an awfully long time.
    4. A drawer, to be perfect, must be fitted by hand. The drawer sides must be proud of the bottom of the drawer front by the same amount as the clearance at the top of the drawer, in spring and fall.
    5. Closing a well made drawer gives a satisfying "whoosh" that people do not associate with flatulence, whereas most of my other activies are associated therewith.
    Alan

  7. #7
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    Dave,

    I will darken the wood, of course. Brown on the red side.

    I plan to experiment with a water and lime mixture, and will probably use some dyes to adjust the tone. The lime water process is used by Rob Millard, who does wonderful Federal period work. He sent me an email note on the details, so I will practice a bit before turning to this piece as there are many hours here invested.

    If that doesn't suit my taste, then I might go with potasium dichromate. That will teach people not to eat my stuff. I have used it once before, on some exterior storm doors for the home, and color was a very nice reddish brown. In 5 years there has been no color leaching, as there would be with dyes. PD is definitely outside work, however, and it is not the time of year for such activities. I am trying to finish this by Christmas. We shall see. I am still waiting for the hinges, and won't carve the drawer front until I have the hinges mounted and working properly since I don't want to have to carve the shells twice. The weight is carried on the two iron hinges, and a rabbet in the drawer bottom.

    Alan

    Thanks for recalling the shells.
    Alan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Grand Marais, MN. A transplant from Minneapolis
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    Bravo Bravo!

    Wow Allen! I think you set the bare too high this time.
    TJH
    Live Like You Mean It.



    http://www.northhouse.org/

  9. #9
    Beautiful work! I hope you will continue to post progress pics...
    Big Mike

    I have done so much with so little for so long I am now qualified to do anything with nothing......

    P.S. If you are interested in plans for any project that I post, just put some money in an envelope and mail it to me and I will keep it.

  10. #10
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    Real neat work, Alan.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  11. #11
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    Here are few more progress pix.
    The first is from the top drawer glue up, and the second just gluing up a regualr drawer.
    On the first, the cauls are 2x2 white oak, with a 1/4" strip of Paulownia covered with packing tape, and on the regualr drawer glue up the caus is just plain 1x1 paulownia, with packing tape. This wood is so soft that the tails are pressed well into or below the pins, without the need to cut a special caul for each set of DT's.

    On the first pix you can see the 3/16" dados for the gallery dividers. Pretty obvious whi I resisted the use of a router in this circumstance. One slip, and it is off to repair land.

    Alan
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    2. Few people make a drawer that is wonderful, so it is a matter of much price.

    And pride as well, I'm sure.
    ~Dan

  13. #13
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    Sep 2004
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    Black Earth WI
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    Alan,

    That is truly beautiful work and gives me something to aspire to. I especially like the contours of the drawer fronts - I bet they were fun to make

    Erin
    For all your days prepare and treat them ever alike. When you are the anvil, bear; When you are the hammer, strike.

  14. #14

    Very Nice Alan.

    I once read a post on another forum from a woodworker (semi-pro) who stated, that pressure fitting drawers was nothing more than a way of showing off and served little pupose since they always needed to be fettled after the the piece had sat for a few months. I simply feel that he has no idea how to fit a drawer. It's all about the "Swoosh"! The piece is coming excellent, and I'm glad that the QS Sycamore worked so well for you.
    "When we build, let us think that we build forever." - Ruskin

  15. #15
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    Alan! Great piece, a real tour de force. Who would have thought....


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wargo
    I once read a post on another forum from a woodworker (semi-pro) who stated, that pressure fitting drawers was nothing more than a way of showing off and served little pupose since they always needed to be fettled after the the piece had sat for a few months. I simply feel that he has no idea how to fit a drawer. It's all about the "Swoosh"! ...
    You ignore Adam Cherubini at your own peril, he's a great woodworker.

    Pam

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