Alan's Three Drawer Chest

One Hand Tool Forum participant's entry, a three-drawer chest.

SHOP OWNER: Alan Bierbaum
LOCATION: Littleton, CO

    In the summer of 2004, Adam Cheribini issued a challenge to WoodCentral readers to build a project using "only" hand tools. The project was loosely defined but was to be built by a journeyman in a commercial shop, suitable for sale, but with a two workday limit on time.
    The rules allowed the use of common materials available today and modern versions of the 1780 period tools. I used a 4/4 S3S 12" x 8' poplar board as well as some leftover -inch and 4/4 poplar scraps for the drawers. Since I do not have a decent hand rip saw, I did rip some long pieces on my band saw.

    The carcass is about 16" x 16" x 10" and through dovetailed together. The back consists of -inch shiplapped boards set into a rebate. Alan's Three Drawer Chest Alan's Three Drawer Chest

Alan's Three Drawer Chest

    The drawer dividers and runners are set in dados in the carcass and made from scrap material.


Alan's Three Drawer Chest

    The base for this chest is poplar. The top of the base has a thumbnail profile. Mitered through dovetail joints connect the base pieces at the corners. I chose the design used for the base cutout due to it being easier for me to do.
Alan's Three Drawer Chest

    The crown is two-piece construction so that I could make it with large hollow and regular planes. The top piece of molding was a scrap of -inch poplar and the coved piece is a scrap of 4/4 alder. Shown here is the completed carcass with a few of the tools used for final clean up.


Alan's Three Drawer Chest

    The drawer fronts overlay on the top and sides and have a thumbnail edge detail. The drawer boxes have half blind dovetails at the front and through dovetails for the rear. The bottoms fit into dados on the drawer sides and front.
Alan's Three Drawer Chest

    For the finish, I chose milk paint with BLO. When drying, the milk paint looks splotchy.


Alan's Three Drawer Chest

    The real color does not show until the BLO is applied. I used three coats of milk paint and three wiped on coats of BLO. Once the BLO fully cured, I applied a coat of wax.


Alan's Three Drawer Chest

    I selected hardware for the period. This was a fun project, which I completed in a total of 22 hours of actual work. This means that my two-day limit resulted in working 12-hour days. Actually, I worked on the project in spare time over a couple of months. Many thanks, Adam, for a fun project; I hope that others will also enjoy it.

. . . Alan Bierbaum


[EDITOR'S NOTE: For a complete look at the construction steps during this project, please visit Adam's Challenge Project.]



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