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As a lot as this piece is a homage to Shaker design, it is usually quietly a love letter to each hand instruments and shared retailers.

Project #2113 • Skill Level: Intermediate • Time: 10 • Days Cost: $500

Online extras: Glue-Up Tips for The Shaker Sewing Table

I work within the Kansas City Woodworker’s Guild, a shared store with a fleet of Sawstops, bandsaws, jointers, planers, drill presses, mortising machines, wide-belt sanders, lathes, a panel noticed, router tables, CNC machines, and innumerable
handheld energy instruments. The whole lot of apparatus would rival any business store (all for the low membership due of about $100/12 months!). For me, probably the most beautiful function is the hand software cupboard containing all the
Lie-Nielsen hand planes and saws in manufacturing, even the particular joinery planes. I’d commerce all of the machines (besides possibly the bandsaw) for that cupboard. The cupboard is the bench room, an area designated particularly for hand work and separate from the machine space.

The swipe of a airplane, the shush of a noticed, the tapping of a chisel. I discover happiness in these quiet, pleasing sounds of labor on the bench, the place sawdust gathers in smooth piles and shavings thinner than paper roll alongside the ground. I discover happiness in my instruments that facilitate the need to do good work by their very existence. Far away from the buzzing, shouting, and biting machines of the store, this calm setting has, at its coronary heart, an intuited expectation of precision and craft, leaving my head clear and able to do work price placing my title on.

I want to work as removed from machines as I can. Most of the time, it’s too loud, dusty, and distressing for me to justify organising and utilizing a machine throughout the store when there’s a gorgeous handsaw proper there. Besides, as I discussed, the guild is a shared store which may, on busy days, imply a line to get to the chop noticed or one of many jointers. 

If my reservations about working in a shared store sound a bit of harsh, it’s solely as a result of they simply illuminate the virtues of hand software work. In fact, there’s a nice sense of camaraderie among the many guild members. The store is volunteer operated and hosts members from throughout the ability spectrum. The members are pleasant and useful, particularly throughout giant, multi-person glue-ups. I’ve realized nearly every part I do know by simply being on the guild, asking a query or two, and watching how others would possibly strategy conditions much like my very own initiatives.

Being a guild member has additionally launched me to all types of types and strategies I won’t have realized about in any other case. Before becoming a member of the guild, Shaker was only a model of kitchen cupboard to me, however because of my buddy Dave (a foreman on the guild and absolute knowledgeable on American Colonial, Shaker, Amish, Mennonite, and vernacular furnishings), it has change into my favourite model to emulate. This piece takes Shaker stitching counters as its inspiration however cleans up the strains across the body and panels, reduces the scale of the pulls, and provides a bit of aptitude to the drawer fronts with tiger maple and rosewood. So whereas it maintains its Shaker soul, it’s up to date, a bit of extra spacious, and an ideal mission to pay respects to my biggest affect.

Layout and Cut List

No. Item Dimensions (inches) Materials/Comments

T w l

4 A Legs 2 x 2 x 31 1/4 Cherry

1 B Table high 3/Four x 22 x 38 Cherry

7 C Large rails (F/B) 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 29 1/2 (Four cherry fronts, Three fir backs)

2 D Middle rails (F/B) 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 18 3/4 (1 cherry entrance, 1 fir again)

4 E Small rails (F/B) 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 11 3/8 (2 cherry fronts, 2 fir backs)

1 F Front drawer divider 5/8 x 2 x 10 Cherry

8 G Thick runners* 3/4 x 2 x 15 1/2 Fir

6 H Thin runners* 1/2 x 2 x 15 1/2 Fir

2 I Workshelf guides ** 1/2 x 5/8 x 16 Fir

11 J Drawer guides ** 1/2 x 5/Eight x 16 Fir

4 Ok Side aprons 3/4 x 2 x 18 1/2 Cherry (2 for both sides)

2 L Back aprons 3/4 x 2 x 30 Cherry

4 M Stiles 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 15 3/4 Chery (1 for both sides, 2 for again)

4 N Side panels 1/2 x Eight x 14 1/4 Figured cherry (2 for both sides)

3 O Back panels 1/2 x 8 7/Eight x 14 1/4 Figured cherry

Workshelf and Drawers

1 P Workshelf 3/4 x 18 x 24 1/2 Cherry

2 Q Bread board ends 3/Four x 2 1/2 x 18 Cherry

2 R Large drawer (F/B) 3/Four x 5 1/2 x 28 Maple

2 S Large drawer (sides) 3/Four x 5 1/2 x 18 Maple

1 T Large drawer (backside) 1/Four x 27 x 15 1/2 Maple

4 U Medium drawer (F/B) 3/Four x Four x 17 3/8 Maple

4 V Medium drawer (sides) 1/2 x Four x 18 Maple

2 W Medium drawer (bottoms) 1/4 x 16 7/8 x 16 Maple

6 X Small drawer (F/B) 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 10 Maple

6 Y Small drawer (sides) 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 18 Maple

3 Z Small drawer (bottoms) 1/Four x 9 x 15 3/4 Maple

*Use thick runners (G) with giant rails (C) to create giant drawer webbings. Use skinny runners (H) with medium rails (D) & small rails (E) to create small and medium drawer webbings.

**Rub-joint workshelf and drawer guides (I/J) flush to the slots.

Bookmatching for tops works finest with tight, straight grain. Continuous grain helps create a seamless look.

Choosing Stock

After I’ve all my lumber minimize to tough dimensions, I begin with the highest and the legs as a result of these are the items with the most important dimensions and have to be chosen based mostly on each look and grain for a superb structure. If potential, I book-match inventory for my tops. With the legs, I pull knot-free inventory from the perimeters of my board the place the top grain is diagonal to make sure straight grain all the best way down the leg and on all 4 faces (rift sawn). If you’re milling the drawer lumber on the similar time, it’s price noting that good straight grain is great drawer aspect materials, however relying on the wooden you’re utilizing, it isn’t at all times needed. Maple is secure sufficient that you should utilize common flat-sawn inventory however attempt to at the least choose visually pleasing grain patterns and positively keep away from knots, voids, checks, and different defects.

Glue up the spring joint utilizing even strain.

Spring Joint

Having chosen my inventory, I glue up the panels that make the highest and the work shelf. I keep away from utilizing dominos or biscuits as a result of I discover them pointless. In order to realize a pleasant, gap-free panel, I exploit a spring joint, which is absolutely simply an edge joint that has a really shallow hole within the heart of the inventory. I fold my two items with their faces in opposition to one another and the becoming a member of edges flush, then airplane one or two swipes throughout the entire floor to take away any machine marks. Taking very skinny shaving, I make two or three brief, stopped passes within the heart, then I make two extra passes extending each earlier than and previous the middle, and possibly yet one more full-length move. This ensures that the ends of the spring joint could have no gaps, and the clamping strain and glue will shut the very slim hole within the center. These panels are left a bit of thick and put aside for later.

Reference faces are marked utilizing a carpenter’s triangle.

Leg Joinery

Next, I put together the legs for the joinery. This cupboard makes use of body and panel development. On each the edges and the again of the legs, there are mortises for the aprons and grooves operating between them. The grooves home the tongues of the panels. I lay out all my mortises from the reference floor, which on this case is the highest of the leg and the surface faces. This ensures that the joinery will all line up. This is extra necessary than getting completely correct measurements. In truth, in relation to hand software work, I typically will solely get my measurements proper for the body of a chunk after which modify all measurements accordingly. Since I’m not working with machines and batch-producing parts, each bit could have some variation away from the best good measurements of the plan. I account for this by transferring structure strains relatively than measuring them. Or, I take measurements for items as I’m going, such because the drawer development (although I goal for the drawers to be a sure measurement after I glue up the case I merely take the sizes from their pockets). This, I believe, is a good expedite to a course of that doesn’t enable for batch work. Measurements are guides and nothing extra.

Remove many of the waste with a barely undersized auger bit.

Using a brace and bit with a Sharpie mark for a depth cease, I drill holes to take away many of the waste from the leg mortises. I don’t need to drill completely perpendicular as a result of I exploit a barely undersized bit after which I sq. every part strains with a chisel. If you don’t belief your self, you’ll be able to set a sq. on the leg subsequent to your bit to test. If you wish to make your joints by hand however don’t have a brace and set of auger bits, you’ll be able to both use a mortise chisel for the entire course of or a drill press after which use a chisel to make every part sq..

Chisel to your scribe strains.

The mortises for the entrance of the piece will home the drawer rails. I exploit double mortises to extend the glue floor for the reason that rail tenons are smaller than the apron tenons. 

Plow the stopped grooves for the panels.

To end the leg joinery, I plow stopped grooves between the body mortises. I begin with my mixture airplane simply to get the groove established. If I stored up like this, I’d have a bowed backside groove for the reason that skates of the airplane are lifted by the leg past the mortise. To end the groove, I exploit a router airplane. Unfortunately, the guild’s router planes don’t have fences, or else I’d simply use the router airplane for the whole groove. If you will have a router airplane with a fence, I extremely advocate that technique as a substitute. Otherwise, there are some plow planes with comparatively brief noses that you may use. Of course, you may use an influence router with a fence or a router desk.

Begin on the base of the leg. As you’re planning, begin cuts additional up the leg till you’ve created a line parallel to your taper structure. Then airplane to your marked line.

The legs are tapered on the within faces. I exploit a hand airplane so as to add that taper. I first lay out the angle in addition to the place to begin. Then I take away the fabric on the foot by slowly planing, transferring up the leg because the angle is achieved. If this sounds time-consuming or in the event you don’t belief your self to get the angle began, you’ll be able to take away many of the waste on the bandsaw or on the desk noticed with a tapering jig, then end it with a hand airplane. But I have to say, good lengthy shavings from a pointy airplane are the very best a part of hand software work!

Fill knife strains with pencil lead for higher visibility.

Frame and Panel Joinery

The rails are the subsequent half. I tenon and groove the rails for the again and sides. A handsaw removes many of the waste from the tenons, however I clear up the tenon cheeks to the structure strains with a router airplane. A shoulder airplane works right here as effectively, however I discover my hand wanders a bit of and I can find yourself with tapered tenons. Using the router airplane with a lot of strain on the deal with over the rail face means that you can dial within the match and maintain the cheeks completely parallel to the rail faces. After checking the match, I switch the groove structure with a knife to verify they line up. Then I groove the rails with the mix airplane. If you will have a dado stack, you may minimize the 1/4 groove there because it goes all the best way throughout the rail. The stiles are made equally to the rails however with shorter tenons. They match into shallow mortises minimize within the grooves of the rails. Both edges of the stiles are grooved.

Saw strains for the tenon cheeks.

Use a bench hook to take away the cheek waste.

Chisel to scribe line for a good match.

Use a router airplane to make the cheeks parallel to the faces of the rail.

With the tenon match to the mortise, switch the groove location to the within fringe of the rail.

The panels on this body and panel development are a possibility for experimentation in the event you like. You may decide a complimentary wooden for the body. Or, in the event you’re like me, you may add totally different woods to the entrance. Since that’s my plan, I made a decision so as to add a shadow hole alongside the sting of the panels. It’s a pleasant, refined look with out the formality of a raised panel with an outlined discipline. To obtain this, it’s a matter of adjusting the fence on the mix airplane to chop the tongue a fraction longer than the groove is deep. I left a 1/16 hole, so the rabbet of the panel is 5/16 huge to suit 1/4 into the groove with the hole left over. You might need to finesse these gaps. I exploit a block airplane to take away any extra tongue width and shorten the hole.

Plow grooves all the best way throughout.

The entrance rails are a bit of totally different. The high rail connects to the highest of the legs with half-blind dovetails. This locks the edges into place and helps forestall racking.

Cut the half-blind dovetails for the highest rail.

With the case semi-constructed, switch the structure to the tops of the entrance legs.

Meanwhile, the drawer rails are a bit of thicker than their double tenons, however they’ve fingers that wrap across the legs and can home the drawer webbing. So, when sizing the double tenons, I exploit a pairing chisel as a substitute of a noticed and take away waste to the structure line. A router airplane works as effectively, however not a desk noticed. The blade would minimize into the finger within the again.  Careful work at a router desk ought to suffice however take into account this a superb level to follow your pairing expertise!

Saw the double tenons.

Remove the waste from between the tenons.

Deepen the scribe line.

Drawer Webbing

Now it’s time to tug out your secondary woods. Depending on the place you might be on the planet, your seconds could also be pine, fir, poplar, or every other cheap wooden. If you don’t thoughts the additional value and weight, maple works effectively and is secure. I usually advocate poplar. It’s simple to work, gentle, low cost, and comparatively secure. I’m utilizing fir right here, however I’ve promised myself it’s the final time, because it splinters so simply.

Pare waste to suit the tenons.

The drawer webbing is straightforward mortise and tenon development. There are two locations that differ and want some cautious structure. The center divider is dadoed into place from the again (will probably be locked there by the center runners), and it homes three units of via mortises. In the again of the case, the divider is dadoed into place equally, however I minimize dadoes in its sides to deal with the incoming drawer runners permitting them to telescope with seasonal adjustments. Through dadoes are simple.

Drawer webbing is absolutely assembled and able to go.

Layout for the notches is made simple by transferring the marks from the entrance leg.

It’s all about sawing right down to the underside of the ditch after which cleansing out the waste with a chisel and a router airplane. A stopped dado requires cautious sawing and chopping with a chisel earlier than switching to the router airplane. The again legs get notches minimize into their inside corners to deal with the drawer webbing. I lay these out by merely transferring the entrance leg mortises throughout to the again legs.

Establishing knife strains within the notch structure makes chopping out clean and simple.

Table Top

Now you’ll be able to seize the panel that may be the highest and clean it flat. I added a chamfer to the highest the old school approach—by drawing a 45° line on the corners and, utilizing a low-angle jack airplane, airplane to the road. Start with the top grain in order that any chip out on the finish can be eliminated when chamfering the sting grain. Once I’ve acquired it good and constant all the best way round, I sand the top grain as much as 400 to assist guarantee it will get sealed up with the end. I end the highest in a couple of coats of shellac after which a couple of coats of furnishings wax. This is my go-to end. It’s reversible, reparable, non-toxic, and conventional.

Prefinishing parts, comparable to this aspect meeting, not solely makes it simpler to get a superb end, but additionally makes squeeze out simpler to take away. The glue doesn’t keep on with the completed surfaces.


Get extra glue-up hints right here

Preparation for glue-up entails putting in the fasteners for the highest, drilling pilot holes within the high rail, prefinishing the case parts and making certain the drawer webbing is degree and matches effectively. Attaching the highest was the trickiest a part of the design. The work shelf placement prevents most types of buttons so metallic fasteners had been the most suitable choice. I extremely advocate utilizing very brief fasteners, like figure-Eight fasteners as a way to suit your screwdriver between the apron aspect and the drawer runner. Place them at common intervals alongside the edges and again, hint their shapes into the highest of the aprons, and take away the waste. Go forward and set up them to the aprons.

The entrance rail has no area to suit screws and a screwdriver, so it can must be hooked up to the highest earlier than glue-up. At 4 equal distances, I drilled holes via the rail and counter-sunk them on the underside to permit the screws to take a seat effectively contained in the rail and never scratch the work shelf. Next, I dry match the case (minus a couple of of the rails) and get the highest rail hammered into its dovetail housing. Then, I positioned the highest to its ultimate place and with a middle punch marked all of the pilot holes for the entrance rail and the figure-Eight fasteners. With that achieved, I screwed the highest rail into the underside of the desk high. Essentially, the highest is now only a rail with a big progress over it and will probably be hammered into place throughout glue-up as regular however with out having to fret over driving the screws.

Shown right here is the preliminary case glue-up with simply the main drawer webbing. This means that you can place the highest and mark the place for Four countersunk screws.

This is the trickiest a part of the glue up, however that doesn’t imply the remaining is straightforward. Though every part is easy to place collectively, it helps to have a buddy round. I begin by assembling and gluing up the edges of the case and go away them to dry in a single day. Meanwhile, I glue the webbing into the entrance rails however go away the again rails friction match to permit for telescoping.

Once these are set, I insert all of the rails, webbing, again aprons, and panels into one aspect of the case as seen in Photo 27, add glue to the remaining tenons (not the webbing that matches into the notches) and ask a pleasant guild member to assist me match the other aspect. With two units of eyes and fingers at work, we guarantee every part is match comfortable after which hammer all of it dwelling earlier than driving the highest rail (with the highest hooked up) into the dovetails. I set clamps spanning the rails and again aprons.

Luckily, on the guild, I can enlist assist from others whereas gluing up giant parts.

Lastly, with the cupboard set the other way up, I finagle my technique to the figure-Eight fasteners and with a particular ratchet screwdriver for tight areas, I drive the screws that maintain the highest in place. It took me three full dry matches to make sure that every part was good. It could also be fussy, however with so many factors of contact, it’s needed. The worst factor is unfold glue and operating right into a snag. Don’t neglect to thank your pals for his or her assist!

With so many articles on dovetails, I’ll say solely two suggestions. One, it’s simpler to gang-cut the tails when working with slender inventory.

Secondly, I tilt my boards to make my minimize extra perpendicular to the ground, serving to me maintain my kerf straight.

Drawer Construction

The drawers are easy half-blind dovetails for the entrance, permitting the groove that holds the bottoms to be hidden from view. While laying out, I be certain that to depart the edges a bit of happy with the drawer face in order that I can airplane them flush when cleansing up the joint. Also, when you choose the orientation of your aspect boards, ensure the grain is finest fitted to this planning route in any other case you’ll get tear-out. Even worse, it can power you to airplane towards the drawer fronts and threat chipping it.

Using an angled information, minimize the partitions of the sliding dovetail.

Chisel out the waste.

Transfer the ditch thickness to the top of the again board.

I exploit a sliding, half-dovetail joint to attach the again of the drawers. This permits for the edges of the drawers to increase past the again in order that the completed drawer could be absolutely prolonged. The again is minimize narrower than the edges, so the underside panel can slide beneath it into its groove. Cutting a sliding dovetail is as simple as reducing a dado. I’ve a strip of scrap that has one aspect ripped to 80° so as to match the angle on my dovetail airplane. I minimize one wall of the dado at 90°. I then use the strip as a information and run my tenon noticed at that angle. Next, I switch the thickness of the dado to the again and airplane away till it slides into place. I like to recommend sawing a small minimize alongside the gauge line in the back of the planning path so that you just don’t have chipout.

Sever fibers on the finish of dovetail.

Plane to the transferred line.

Groove for the underside.

Work Shelf

Lastly, the work shelf is a straightforward panel with breadboard ends. Layout for that is much like laying out dovetails or finger joints, however first, I minimize a groove within the ends and create a big tenon within the board. Next, lay out three smaller tenons and minimize away the waste. Transfer their areas and chop corresponding mortises within the ends, leaving them a bit of huge within the center and again. When drilling for the pegs, I selected to make the entrance tenon mounted as a substitute of the center one. This directs all seasonal motion towards the again of the case—similar because the fasteners for the desk high.

Using a spherical file, elongate the outlet within the center and again tenon.

Having performed round with methods to wedge the workshelf because it nears full extension, I’ve determined to depart it floating with no stops or wedges in order that if the shelf is broken, will probably be simple to take away and restore it. If you need, you may screw a slender cease into the underside of the worksurface after it has been inserted previous the entrance rail. Of course, the drawers should be eliminated to entry the cease, but it surely’s at the least reversible and prevents pulling the worksurface all the best way out.

Remove the surplus dowel with the flush-cut noticed.


All that’s left is to put in the drawer guides and stops. I do that with cover glue and a rub joint, so no clamps are needed. Then match the drawers, end with wax, and set up the pulls. For pulls, I went with top-notch knobs from Horton Brasses. Whatever you select, simply be certain that to graduate them with the drawer sizes.

A couple of coats of shellac after which a coat of wax provides every part a smooth shine whereas making all of the drawers run easily.

I usually end elements of the piece as they get glued up. It makes mopping up squeeze-out simpler, and I don’t have little blotches within the nooks and corners of a chunk. I exploit shellac and wax for many furnishings. After the primary coat of shellac, I sand after which use a Scotch-Brite pad to take away bumps after subsequent coats. If you anticipate the upper quantity of damage, I like Tried and True varnish or General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. I hand-rub all finishes since I don’t have a twig sales space, and I keep away from polyurethanes as in my expertise, they add a plasticky look to a chunk. No matter what end you select, I’m positive you’ll love your new stitching counter as a lot as I do!

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