Thursday, 12 November 2015

Chest of drawers....The making of - Part 1

I am currently making a pair of chest of drawers. It is a long process making anything with drawers in, as the drawers themselves take a while to make.

Although the drawers are the last thing to make, getting the timber machined up for them at the start of the project is a good idea as it allows the wood to dry and settle.

So here is how I do this part of the process.

First of all, select the timber you are going to use for the drawers. In this case, I am using American cherry.  It is a good wood, as it has few defects, comes in good size planks, supplied dry, and is stable.

I got some big planks sent to me. Each was about 3.4m long, about 160mm wide and 50mm thick. For those who want to know, it was 7 cubic feet of timber.

The downsize of these long lengths was they didn't fit in the lift up to the workshop. They had to be carried up the stairs to the 3rd floor.

The planks laying down are the American cheery used to make the drawer boxes.


Next I work out how to cut these planks up to make the best usage of the wood. I worked out that from a 1.2m length, this wood give me a piece for the drawer side, and a piece for the front (or back) of the drawer.

I cut the large planks into these length, and machined them on four faces giving a final thickness ranging from 46mm to 51mm.


The cherry machined up into 1.2m lengths.


Now comes the hard slog.  These planks are then ripped (a woodworking term that means cutting along the length of the grain) into strips 15mm thick.

So each plank has two edges, that is two cuts on the band saw to give two pieces, and then the rough surfaces on the plank from the cut are then cleaned up (and squared) with a couple of passes on the jointer. Repeat until all the wood has been processed.


Here are all the strips of wood straight from the band saw


I got about 150 strips of wood from the planks.  These can now sit while I make the carcass of the chests. During this time the wood will dry more and become more stable.

Lucky all those pieces, when arranged nicely, fitted under my bench.


The timber neatly stacked up under my workbench


So what will I ultimately do with all these strips of wood? Yes stick them back together! Ha ha ha.......utter madness!


Next I will be starting to make the carcasses. Funny enough, this also starts with cutting more wood into smaller pieces.......



For more information please visit either my bespoke fine furniture website, or my handmade jewellery boxes website.
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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Stand set......ready to go!

My stand for 'Handmade at Kew' is all set up and ready to go.

Under wraps

But to see under the blankets, you need to get to the show (unless I post some more pictures later).

See the 'Handmade' website for full details of this and upcoming shows.


For more information please visit either my bespoke fine furniture website, or my handmade jewellery boxes website.

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Monday, 5 October 2015

Working out how to do it

One of the great things about making furniture and boxes, is coming up with an idea and then having to work out how to put that idea into practice - problem solving.

I recently made a cabinet that has two doors, and when these are open, it reveals a drawer. I needed to make a handle for this drawer which had to be flush with the drawer front.

There still needed to be a way to grab hold of the handle to open the drawer, so my idea was to take some wood and hollow it somehow to allow purchase  for your fingers.

The shape of the handle I wanted was like the key stone in a stone arch - a 'V' shape with a flat bottom. To hollow it out, I would use a Router and something called a finger-pull cutter. The problem was how to hold the wood while the Router is spinning the cutter at over 20,000 RPM.
 
So how was it done? With lots of screws and various pieces of MDF cut to different shapes and sizes.


In this first picture, the handle black can be seen surrounded by various pieces of MDF. The handle is not screwed down, it is just held in place. The two upper pieces of MDF stop the handle from moving up and down, while also providing a guide for the hollowing process with the Router.
Fig 1 - The handle blank held down.
 


The first part of the hollowing process is to remove most of the wood with a straight sided router cutter. Finger-pull cutters are small and not really designed for removing too much waste wood, only really the 'pull' detail. As I had to remove a fair amount of wood, I made a number of passes with the straight sided cutter, getting a little deeper each time.

Fig 2 - Waste wood has been removed with a straight sided cutter.

 

The actual finger-pull shape, shown in the picture below, is done with a single pass of the router cutter.
Fig 3 - A close-up showing the finger-pull detail.







The handle is finished. All that is required is some sanding to remove the machining marks.
Fig 4 - The completed handle.




















 

This final picture shows the handle fitted to the front of the drawer.

Fig 5 - The completed handle fitted to the drawer front.








Five pictures don't really convey how much time it took to make the handle, both thinking time and making time, but it was probably about 5 hours in total.



For more information please visit either my bespoke fine furniture website, or my handmade jewellery boxes website.

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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A great bit of kit

I am lucky in the workshop to have access to a Plano clamp system. It is such a good method for the glue up of panels.

I often use it when making drawers.  I take a plank of timber, joint one side, then shove it through the thicknesser to flatten the other side.  Then I rip sections off a few mm thicker than the desired drawer side thickness (say 11mm for an 8mm finished side).

Then using the Plano clamp, I butt joint the pieces together to get the required width.  As the clamps really do keep the joint flush, it is only a simple task when the glue is dry to flatten and thickness to the required dimensions.

In this picture, I am jointing the timber I used when making a couple of jewellery chest of drawers.

Plano clamp being used to glue pieces of ash
to form drawer sides.

And here is a little montage of pictures taken in the workshop of the completed jewellery chest of drawers. The ash I glued up in the Plano clamps was used to make the drawer boxes.

A pair of jewellery chest of drawers.
You can see more pictures of this chest of drawers (not taken in the workshop) in the gallery page of my handmade boxes website.

I suppose a chest of drawers like these could make the ideal Mothers Day present for a mum who has a large collection of jewellery.........



For more information please visit either my bespoke fine furniture website, or my handmade jewellery boxes website.

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Monday, 26 January 2015

New website dedicated to my handmade jewellery boxes

Here is something to do when you are sitting at your computer wondering where to go next on the amazing World Wide Web.....visit my new website!

Yes, I have created a dedicated handmade jewellery box website. I still have my furniture site, but from now on all box related information and pictures will be on the new site.


So go have a look. Thanks.





For more information please visit either my bespoke fine furniture website, or my handmade jewellery boxes website.


Follow me on Facebook or read my tweets on Twitter.


I forgot the pictures

In the dark and distant past, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth........

.....okay, not that long ago but in the summer last year, I did a blog post on the making of a chest of drawers. Remember?  Probably not.

Well, I forgot to post the pictures of the completed piece. So here they are.


Chest of drawers made from oak and fumed oak
Notice how the drawer fronts curve alternate left and right.


The drawers are made using dovetail joiner.
The drawers are made from maple, and use dovetails in
their construction.


Chest of drawers showing the curved drawer fronts.
The drawer fronts have fumed oak on their edges - it helps to
show the curve on the drawer fronts and adds a visual detail
to the finished piece.

Next time I promise I will post the pictures sooner.




To see more of my furniture, have a look at my website and the pictures in the gallery section.

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

It takes time

When making something, I track the time taken to perform each task. I use an online product called Toggl. It works well and is simple to use.

Why I find it useful to track time, is that is shows which tasks and processes take the most time, and how long it actually takes to make something.

For the chest of drawers I have recently made, I was tracking how long it took me to make the five drawers. I was told a good while back to allow three days to make a drawer. That is starting from raw timber and ending up with the finished drawer.

And guess what? I did take me three days to make each drawers, and hence fifteen days to make all five.

That is why handmade bespoke furniture costs more.



To see more of my furniture, have a look at my website and the pictures in the gallery section.

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