A George II Walnut Serpentine Chest – Part Five

I prepared the triangular packers for the recesses in the canted corners and sawed the frets out of pre-sized 1/8″ (3.2mm) thick veneer (fig. 1).

giiwsc_37bFig. 1. Walnut packers and frets.

Once the corner packers were glued in place, I moistened their faces and the sized faces of the frets and then pressed them in place (fig. 2).

giiwsc_38bFig. 2. Blind fretted canted corner.

The hours involved in the work in this post come to 16-1/2.
The total hours involved to-date come to 160-3/4.

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, Furniture Making and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A George II Walnut Serpentine Chest – Part Five

  1. John Kissel says:

    That’s beautiful work Jack. Did you saw the 2 pieces of fretwork separately or resaw them from a single board after fret Sawing?

    Congratulations on the Million plus hits and thank you for sharing all of the great, clear information. Much appreciated!

    JK

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    • Jack Plane says:

      The frets were sawn from two stacked lengths of veneer.

      JP

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      • John Kissel says:

        Thanks Jack. Makes sense. I’ve heard it done both ways. Always value your experience/ opinion. Getting close to making 2 fretwork stretchers in 1/4″, was going to resaw… believe you’ve saved me some disappointment

        JK

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        • Jack Plane says:

          Ah now; if you’re talking about 1/4″ thick stretchers, that’s a different pot of glue. I presume the cross section of any given area of the fretwork would not be less than 1/4″ square.

          If that’s the case, then the fretwork would have sufficient cohesion for it to be ripped in two.

          1/4″ is fairly thin for stretchers. Are they for a small table?

          JP

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          • John Kissel says:

            Yes, I’m making an interpretation of a Townsend Pembroke (breakfast?) table that is fairly small. The cross section would all be minimum 1/4″. The stretchers look to be about 1/4″ thick by 1&3/4″ tall by ~36″ long. I have a quarter sawn piece that is 9/16″ thick that I was originally planning on cutting the fret work in and then resawing with a fine toothed handsaw. I’ve cut fretwork in 1/4″ stock before and figured I could manage in 1/2″. On the surface resawing seems like less/easier work than cutting the fretwork twice.

            JK

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  2. Tim says:

    Could you elaborate on the method of attaching the frets. I always thought sizing was a thin coat for sealing. Is the sizing hide glue?

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    • Jack Plane says:

      Yes, size, in the context of woodworking, is thin glue.

      With the rear face of the fretwork sized and dry (to allow the veneer to return to a flat state), the ground (corner packer) is swiftly brushed with hot water and then the wet brush is lightly wafted over the sized face of the fretwork.

      The fretwork is then aligned with the ground and pressed down firmly.

      JP

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  3. bronzy935 says:

    You’re work continues to be inspiring. Thank you.

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  4. Mike Hamilton says:

    If the veneers were sawn stacked, what differentiates right from left? Fitting?

    Thanks,
    Mike

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    • Jack Plane says:

      I habitually mark stuff, though in this case, while trial fitting the un-fretted veneers, one required a thin shaving removed from one of the bottom corners.

      Other than that, there’s absolutely no difference in them.

      JP

      Liked by 1 person

  5. David Andrew says:

    I like the trick about sizing the fretwork and then wetting the packer and fretwork to stick the fret in place – no glue excess to clean up afterwards. How did you think of that one ?
    David

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    • Jack Plane says:

      I’m not being flippant, but it just seemed obvious to me. I normally encourage squeeze-out as it guarantees a good bond. However, whilst an oozing mess could be cleaned up with hot water and a toothbrush afterwards, all that tracery end grain would be likely to swell and possibly break its bond and crack upon drying.

      JP

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  6. RobinWire says:

    I do really appreciate your skill, jp!

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  7. Alex A. says:

    Jack,
    As always I am amazed by your work (and in this case how few hours it takes).
    Did you saw the fretwork by hand with a fretsaw?
    For the size on the fretwork, would that work with liquid hid glue or only hot?

    Thanks!

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    • Jack Plane says:

      Yes, the frets were cut traditionally on a wooden fretting board using a piercing saw – simply because the frets are narrow and a fret saw (with its deeper gullet) can be somewhat unwieldy in such circumstances.

      I always have a pot of hot glue at the ready, but I don’t see why cold glue wouldn’t work.

      JP

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