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.