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Construct a Shaker chest of drawers


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Synopsis: Years of expertise mending antiques led to the strategies Tom McLaughlin used on this Shaker chest of drawers to make sure that it would stay to be an vintage sometime, too. Whereas the normal methodology of utilizing secondary woods equivalent to white pine or poplar is a time-tested methodology of development, McLaughlin provides energy to his drawers utilizing onerous maple runners and laminating a strip of hardwood to the underside edges of the drawer sides. This retains the secondary wooden from sporting in these well-used areas.


Constructing a dresser, or chest of drawers, is immensely satisfying. A dresser is sensible, central to on a regular basis dwelling, and quietly anchors a bed room’s decor. And if made nicely, it may be handed down and loved for generations. When selecting a design that may endure, it’s onerous to beat Shaker fashion. Esteemed for its minimalist simplicity and clear strains, Shaker furnishings is correct at dwelling in each conventional and modern settings. The design of this particular dresser attracts from my explorations of close by Canterbury Shaker Village; the pocket book of my mentor, P.A.”Pug” Moore; and an authentic Shaker dresser made in Harvard, Mass., in 1844.

The design could also be historic, however my development strategies are nearly fully modern, together with repeatable joinery utilizing the tablesaw and router. And a few of the dresser’s development comes from observations made whereas learning and repairing antiques.


Master Class with Tom McLaughlin
Follow along with Tom McLaughlin while he builds a
Shaker-style dresser in this eight-part video series.


Conscious inventory choice

When milling the elements to your dresser, think about how they are going to be used. For instance, having chosen cherry for the first present wooden on this dresser, I chosen the widest boards when gluing up the panels for the case sides and high, for the least variety of glue joints and a cleaner look. To spare my good cherry, get monetary savings, and cut back weight, I took a distinct route for the subtop and backside. The underside panel won’t ever be seen, in order that’s fully white pine. The subtop can also be white pine, nevertheless it will get a slender strip of cherry glued to its entrance, since that edge will probably be uncovered within the last case. The rear dividers, again boards, and dirt partitions are all pine for a similar cause. Poplar works nicely as a secondary wooden, too.

This use of main and secondary woods is widespread and conventional. With my drawers, although, I exploit a method developed after years of seeing worn-out softwood runners and drawer sides on antiques. I future-proofed my drawers through the use of onerous maple runners and laminating a skinny strip of maple to the underside edges of the white pine drawer sides. This offers the perfect of each worlds: the lightness and stability of white pine and the wear-resistance of onerous maple.

Cut the pin walls. First transfer the tails to the pin board and mark the waste. It’s OK to saw past your baselines inside the case. It will never be seen, it’s period correct, and it will speed up removing the waste.
Minimize the pin partitions. First switch the tails to the pin board and mark the waste. It’s OK to noticed previous your baselines contained in the case. It would by no means be seen, it’s interval right, and it’ll pace up eradicating the waste.

Dovetailing the case and drawer dividers

A case piece like this dresser is an intensive in dovetailing. It has three varieties: through- and half-blind for the carcase, base, and drawers, in addition to sliding dovetails for the dividers.

The carcase comes first. Start with the half-blinds. A tablesaw and drill press make comparatively fast work of those. After laying out the tails on the subtop and backside, I reduce the tails on the tablesaw utilizing a specifically floor blade and a crosscut sled.

Shaker Chest of DrawersFrom Advantageous Woodworking #290

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Dialing in the details of a design

In our first grasp class episode, Tom McLaughlin demonstrates how he fine-tunes a design with sketches and mockups.

Dovetails by machine and by hand

On this grasp class episode, Tom McLaughlin demonstrates how he makes use of a customized floor dovetail blade to chop the tails earlier than heading to the bench and utilizing hand instruments to complete the case dovetails.

Future-proof drawer frame construction

Having mounted many antiques, Tom McLaughlin constructs the Shaker-style dresser drawer runners in a approach that will probably be sturdy but in addition repairable, ought to the necessity come up.

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