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Hepplewhite Case Details Come Together

Enough of these ear drum smashing, dust spitting machines. The rough and tumble work is done on this book shelf so now it’s on the the work I truly love with my faithful hand tools. Maybe I will still do some ear drum smashing, but that will be the fault of The Who and maybe a little Rush. After the problems I had getting the sliding dovetail groove correct, I wanted to make sure I had a consistent depth throughout so I went to work with the router plane. This is hard to do by test fitting because if the depth goes shallow in the middle as you would expect with a cupped board it can cause significant binding that could damage the workpiece. So it is better to be safe and work the groove with a router plane.

Now it is time to focus on the bead detail that runs on the inside edges of the case. I want to inlay a small strip of banding that sites 1/8″ proud of the case surface. I will round over that exposed edge and each strip will be mitered into the corners. To start I need to cut a 1/8″ by 1/2″ rabbet on all those edges.

The two case sides need to have a stopped rabbet where the sides meet the upper rails and bottom, so I marked out the termination and used a chisel to hollow the area and thus give my rabbet plane clearance in front of the blade to make the rest of the cut.

Now I ran some thin strips of material to make the beading over at my table saw and then cut them to length at the bench hook and then used the shooting board to get them square and to the exact length.

I set these bead strips ever so slightly longer than the rabbet so the center of the strip bows up and away from the case. When you press the center flat it drives the ends into place to ensure a tight fit.

I rounded over the edge of the bead strips using my scratch stock cutter. This is the same process I used to cut the faux cockbead into the drawer front of my Queen Anne Side Table. I have not mitered the corners yet as I need to wait until the case is assembled and glued to be the most accurate fit. Leaving those bead strips a little long also ensures that I have some room to play with when mitering the corners too. I’m looking forward to putting my new Donkey Ear appliance to work that I got from Tico Vogt. Here you can see his Super Chute in action as I square up the ends of the lower trim.

While the glue on the case cures, I turn my attention back to the feet and the trim pieces. You may remember at the beginning of this series I started out by making a template for the curves on the front and side trim. I used those templates to lay out my pieces then cut a half lap joint of sorts that would lock into the back side of the feet and give a strong bond to hold together the lower assembly. The addition of more glue blocks not only strengthen but provide attachment points to the bottom of the case. Here you can see the half lap joint at the feet.

Here is a look at the rough cut curves on the front and side trim. I still need to refine the shape with my spokeshave and a files.

Once the feet and trim are attached to the case I will cover the transition with an applied molding. The details are coming together. I’m also experimenting with some coloring options and I believe I have decided upon a nice color. That however is a topic for another post. Stay tuned!

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