Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake (23)

This time up, I’m milling up the sides for the drawers, made of rift~quarter sawn H. Mahogany:

I had roughed out the underside, as you can see, to produce a large dado, using the table saw (wish I had a dado head!).

These are the four drawer sides after rough milling has been completed:

There is a change also to the design of the sides, now one piece units with an i-beam form, instead of the two-piece approaches seen earlier. More on this in a later post. You can see by the 1/4″ (6mm) dado in the above photo where the floor panel will run. The cross section of these sides is at an intermediate stage at this point.

While that was going on, I moved the latticed side panels along by doing sub-assembly glue-ups. Here’s the very first side panel sub-assembly glue-up:

While that unit was sitting in clamps, I got to work on preparing the stock for the drawer fronts. I opted to make these two pieces from a pair of quartersawn boards of curly shedua I had left over from the previous cabinet project. A pass through the jointer and planer, both fitted just recently with new knives, reminded me immediately of the challenge of working this material: it tears out so easily, regardless of how sharp the knives are or whether one takes a deep cut or a shallow one. You can’t get to much closer than 1.5 mm from a face with conventional planing before you risk a bit of tear out going too deep into the material.

Again, the pattern mill was the answer to this problem, as it allows me to process the drawer front to a very flat and dimensionally accurate block, with no tear out problems (so long as one chooses cutters carefully, a insert-knife single fly cutter in this case):

Here are the two dimensioned drawer front blanks side by side as they will be positioned in the cabinet:

A while later I had the surfaces planed clean and the mortises for the drawer side’s multiple tenons roughed out:

And the fronts have been milled in a manner similar to the sides, and with much the same front profile as the drawers for the previous cabinet I made for the client:

In this drawer, which I am calling the ‘Mark III’ version, two of the four tenons will be carried through from the sides.

Curly shedua is a beautiful material but not easy to work with as far as I am concerned. Getting the fronts to this stage reminded me that I will have to order some hardware from Japan in the near future, for the drawer and door pulls.

My main goal the past week though has been to get the latticed panels into glue up. This was looking like it might have to be put off for a few days, due to some indecision about finishing the pieces that surround the panels. The German oil/wax no VOC finish I chose to use, which is an ‘apply one coat’ sort of affair, made the mahogany panels darker than I was expecting. I eventually decided I did not want to apply the same finish to the cuban mahogany frame pieces as they are already quite dark enough. So, I have decided that the frame members are only going to be planed and receive a coat of wax. Wax offers only limited protection for the wood, but the piece is in a situation where it will not receive high wear and tear so I think this seems the best direction.

After waxing the frame pieces surrounding the panel, I got to the glue up at long last:

One of the benefits to a table saw with 72″ (1.83m) of rip capacity on the table.

Another view:

Here’s how the first side looked after it came out of the nest of clamps:

It seemed to be laying nice and flat, which was the outcome to which I had been aiming. The lining for the pentagonal opening has yet to be done, but it will happen pretty soon..

With the first side out of the way, then the second side could also be glued up:

Lotsa clamps, but managing to avoid having to squeeze anything too tight. Finishing the lattice with wax is certainly going to try my patience in the near future….

I hope, if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you are seeming some signs of spring by now. We’ve got a few bulbs up in our front yard, and have had a couple of pretty decent days in the past couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to spending some time outdoors and in the garden soon.

Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Post 24 is next in this thread.

6 Replies to “Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake (23)”

    1. Hi Brian,

      great to hear from you and so glad you like the look of the panels. I debated a bunch of options before going with the design that got cut out, and I’m thinking it came out well.

  1. Out of interest Chris, which brand oil/wax finish did you use? I have used Osmo, Livos oil/wax mix and Volvox (actually a waterborne clear to slightly milky finish depending on the wood species) for different requirements and although there was no magic cure all they all had some good attributes and all low to no vocs. Really like the latticework too.


    1. Gav,

      good to hear from you and thanks for the question. The product I used is from Germany, and is called Kreitezeit. It contains linseed oil so that is the reason it darkens the wood so much. Currently casting about for alternatives. As you say, each finish does have its pros and cons.

      1. Hi Chris,

        Might be worth trying out some Osmo products due to the lack of linseed oil (best of my knowledge). They use a variety of sources for their oils which I haven’t come across before in other products- sunflower, thistle, soya oils for their TopOil High Solid . There is an Australian one- Organoil , which primarily has tung oil as a base as far as I know in different formulations which I have used primarily as an external finish which are usually tinted and uv stabilised due to our overly sunny disposition. The internal oil products which they do I have found to be good to use but the timber species I have used them on haven’t really been an issue if they darken up, or not really noticeable. Compared to what used to be applied to a lot of the internal jarrah joinery and flooring anything appears lighter. A friend who has leftover flooring wax which used to be applied to the floors of her older house (for Perth c 1900’s) showed me the colour- burnt umber maybe? Dark brown to extremely dark brown was all the rage for a good while, then it swung the other way and was bleached which could look like wandoo or clear grade marri. You couldn’t really tell what species of timber you were looking at in some cases if not familiar with common practice and material. The jarrah in itself varies from really light pink to very dark brown with a lot of reds in between naturally so as you said before, choosing the product best suited for the desired outcome can be the tricky part, and not getting gassed.

Anything to add?

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