A George II Ash Bureau – Part Four

I planed a simple ovolo moulding along the edge of a 3/4″ thick ash board and sawed it off at 1-1/4″ wide. The bureau’s base board is 3/4″ thick which necessitated 1/2″ thick packers (fig. 1) to be added to the underside in order to equal the moulding’s height of 1-1/4″.

giiab_050913_01a

Fig. 1. Ash base moulding attached to pine base board and packers.

The shaped brackets for the feet were sawn from 3/4″ thick ash: The four that make up the front feet were mitred, while the two rear side ones were rebated to accept plain pine rear brackets (fig. 2).

giiab_050913_02a

Fig. 2. Pine and ash rear brackets.

The rear brackets were glued and nailed together and all four feet were then rubbed onto the underside of the base moulding. Split pine corner blocks (which will ultimately bear the weight of the bureau) were rubbed into the internal corners of the feet. Small chamfered pine glue blocks further support the brackets (fig. 3).

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Fig. 3. Glue blocks bolster the brackets.

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Fig. 4. Base moulding and bracket feet.

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.
This entry was posted in Case Furniture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A George II Ash Bureau – Part Four

  1. Jack,
    shouldn’t the grain of the pine glue blocks run the other way?

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    • Jack Plane says:

      I’m sorry, which way do you mean?

      JP

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      • NotevenaNovice says:

        I believe he means that the grain runs oposite directions. The glue blocks are long grain glued to the horizontal grain of the brackets. Would this possibly cause problems due to wood movement? However, English is my second language and i only dream about being able to put together something as beutiful as this, so there is a good chance that I have no idea what i’m talking about:)

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    • hughjengine says:

      Do you mean the corner blocks, rather than the glue blocks? If so, Mr Plane did discuss bracket feet construction.

      Cheers,
      Burbidge.

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      • Jack Plane says:

        Ah… yes, I see now.

        You don’t want to believe everything (much at all?) written by those Johnny-come-lately internet woodworking gurus. (Did you read that ridiculous blog post about dovetailing drawers?)

        The contact area between the brackets and corner blocks is really so small that any shrinkage or expansion is inconsequential.

        There are thousands upon thousands of extant bureaux and chests – now, close to three hundred years old – which still retain their original corner blocks.

        JP

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        • hughjengine says:

          Which ridiculous post was that? I typed, ‘ridiculous drawer dovetailing post’ into a popular search engine, and the first result was from Popular Woodworking. Surely not?

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      • NotevenaNovice says:

        Sorry, thats what i meant to say. However i did find that other post after doing some digging, and the reasoning makes sense to me. Thanks :)

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  2. hughjengine says:

    Lovely and crisp!

    On the rear brackets, did you nail through the pine into the ash?

    Cheers,
    Burbidge.

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  3. Jeff Aldred says:

    Thank you so much for posting these stories/tutorials for us – they are awesome in every sense of the word.
    Ever thought of a book? Take what you have, and add a bit more text, and away you go. I especially want to see the finishing section – perhaps volume 2?
    I would be voting yes with cash at the first opportunity!

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  4. Jim Pallas says:

    I am amazed by your writing skills. Your descriptions make me feel as if I am leaning over the craftsman shoulder. I can picture the people as being highly skilled work-a-day craftsmen that had done these operations many hundreds of times and it was no big deal to dovetail in a drawer blade and such. So much is written about these simple tasks that they did everyday in the normal course of work. Hurrah for you. You spend a bit more time on the difficult tasks to better explain and that is great.
    I have a question about the bracket feet. We’re they just rubbed in to the moulding with no mechanical attachment? I am sure your method is period correct in this case, just a little wonderment about glue only in this case. If you do write a book you will have to deal with publishers wanting you to write a thesis on cross cutting those packers you added to the bottom of the case. I urge you to resist with your all. Keep doing it your way.
    Thanks, Jim

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    • Jack Plane says:

      The brackets were indeed simply rubbed onto the moulding. One occasionally sees nails or screws driven through the thinner areas of the brackets, but in my experience, these are remedial measures (bracket feet don’t always fare well being dragged across floors).

      JP

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  5. Marilyn says:

    Me too! I’d vote for a book . I’d love to know more about how you do all this. And once again, I’m fascinated by the bracket foot construction, how you do it and how beautifully it turns out.

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  6. Adam says:

    I understand how rubbing a butt joint between two boards would work, it’s fairly obvious, but how do you rub a corner bracket onto a case? I feel like there would be smeared glue everywhere.

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    • Jack Plane says:

      Smeared glue is good! Look at some of the smeared glue here.

      When the excess glue is expelled, a vacuum is created, thus the block grips. It’s a bit like sticking a plastic suction cup onto a pane of glass; the cup will slide freely across the glass until the water has all but gone and will then adhere.

      The excess glue is readily cleaned up with a hot wet cloth.

      JP

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