A George II Virginia Walnut Chest of Drawers – Part Three

Yesterday provided a brief respite from the seemingly incessant rain we’ve been experiencing recently, so I hurried out and removed the tarpaulin from the carcase. The sun even came out for a spell which saw the temperature soar to a lofty 11° C (52° F).

The first order of business was to glue the lipping onto the front of the carcase, which done and dried, I tidied up and scraped the veneered top and carcase ends in readiness for attaching the mouldings.

Walnut lipping covering the carcase edges, drawer dividers and joints.

The mouldings were made a few days ago in anticipation of a break in the weather. I was also eager to attach the feet while the weather held, so I glued and nailed the base moulding onto the carcase first to allow the glue a little time to set before subjecting it to any great amount of stress.

The top moulding was simply mitred and then glued and nailed to the carcase.

I mitred the front bracket feet, glued and rubbed them together in pairs and then rubbed them onto the base of the carcase. The rear feet were rebated, glued and nailed together and similarly rubbed onto the carcase.

One of the techniques I had intended to incorporate in this chest was horizontal blocking of the bracket feet – as discussed in Bracket Foot Construction – but when I approached the task, I just couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. I was keen to illustrate an alternative eighteenth-century method of supporting the chest and bracing the brackets, but I realised the fallacy of stacking horizontal foot blocks on this chest. This is a real piece of furniture that, I am hopeful, will remain in my family for some generations to come and, not wanting to create premature restoration headaches for my descendants, I’m afraid I reneged and, in stead, rubbed the ubiquitous vertical, split corner blocks into the bracket feet.

Lipping, mouldings and feet on-board.

Menacing black clouds in the distance began rolling my way which curtailed the day’s activities. The backboards must wait until another day.

Jack Plane

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About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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4 Responses to A George II Virginia Walnut Chest of Drawers – Part Three

  1. Ted Beyer says:

    Hi Jack. The upper moulding has wonderful detail. Do you use hollow/round planes to make these? Did you make cross grain mouldings for the case sides to avoid an opposite grain condition? Thank you. Ted.

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    • Jack Plane says:

      Ted, the top and bottom mouldings were made with hollows and rounds and the lesser element on the underside of the top moulding was done with a scratchstock.

      They are all long-grain mouldings: Cross-grain mouldings would be inappropriate for this period.

      In reality, the long-grain mouldings will be perfectly fine. Most chests with long-grain mouldings have survived intact for hundreds of years, it’s only when the furniture is subjected to excessive heat and very low humidity (central heating, or in a sunny aspect) that problems arise.

      JP

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  2. Joe M. says:

    Hello Jack! I read in the post that you keep the chest oudoors during the constuction and assembly. then cover it when the weather acts up.
    Does this have any effect on the unfinished wood/carcass? swelling from increased mosture or any movment?
    What about when it comes time to put on the finish? any hazeing or mosture getting trapped in the topcoats?
    Joe

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    • Jack Plane says:

      Joe, when the wood was in the un-heated draughty shed, it was subject to the same damp air that’s outside, so no, the chest doesn’t really suffer when left outdoors as long as I ensure the holes in the tarpaulin aren’t directly over it.

      I often begin polishing before the (water based) stain has properly dried and I don’t experience any major set-backs with the finish, so I don’t anticipate the damp weather will interfere with it either. I may live to eat my words!

      JP

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