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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