I’m not quite as far as I’d like to be at the end of the weekend, but pretty close. First the box was dovetailed together. Its impossible to know exactly how the original was assembled, but I’m 99.9% sure the top and sides are a half-blind dovetail. I could see evidence of over-cutting the pins which one would normally do if making half-blind pins. It’s possible the case is all full-blind dovetails but it seems very unlikely to me. That’s a tricky joint and there’s no reason it would be necessary. So the top of the sides have tails, and the top is half-blind pins. For the bottom joint, it’s the opposite: the sides are half-blind pins and the bottom contains the tails. It works nicely with the parts that are hidden by banding.
Before gluing up the case, I needed to plow the dados for the drawer web frames (drawer blades). See my prior letter to Mr. Schum(acher) who was a prior owner of the dado plane I used. The interesting part about the layout was I played around and found that the hard measurements I took very closely matched the rule of thumb for graduated drawers, where each drawer is taller by the height of the drawer blade above. So in this case, each drawer was 7/8″ taller than the one above. I decided to use that layout method rather than the hard measurements – only a difference of about 1/8″ and I knew I had some inconsistencies because of the wear on the originals.
After gluing up (I used Old Brown and not hot hide) it was on to roughing out the canted corners. I thought about making a jig to do it on the band saw. The challenge is it’s a stopped cant, with a sweep to the hard corner. I decided to try it with a draw knife, spoke shaves and planes. It was easier than expected on a sample with really unruly grain. I cut stop joints before the curve and then hogged off most of the waste with the grandpa’s old draw knife. I wonder if he ever used it. Then I carved the sweep with a chisel and cleaned it all up with a block plane, rounded spoke shave, and then a card scraper.
Next up was to make the web frames. There are four of them. The front is exposed so that’s cherry. The sides and back are poplar. The frame is built with mortise and tenon. The back has a groove plowed in which is aligned with the mortise. I don’t know if the cherry front is also grooved, so I decided to to it. I think they used the groove to locate the joinery – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The tenons are haunched on one side: I can’t tell if that’s what was done but seems like good craftsmanship.
So here’s where we are. I need to wrap up the back of the web frames (8 more mortises) and then trim them for the canted corners. Those won’t go on until the inlay is done. Next I’ll put on the back. Then it’s on to the leg frame.