HB Tansu #3-Progress 7

Finally some shop time!  It’s still getting cold at night here.  Below freezing at night cold.  So I planned ahead and turned the space heater in the shop on low last night before I went to bed.  This morning the shop was a toasty 50F.  OK, maybe not toasty, but plenty warm to start working.  Today my focus was on the drawer dividers on the front of the tansu and the drawer bearers that run front-to-back.  I started with the drawer dividers.

I began with the front frame dry assembled and clamped tight.  I transferred the distance from the post to the divider using a scrap piece of wood.  The distance marked on the scrap piece of wood was taken directly from the full-scale shop drawing.  Then I used a square to drop the locations for the dividers from one front bearer to the next.  This little exercise ensures that the dividers are plumb in the assembly.  Since I have a handy marking gauge already made, I pressed it into service once more for laying out the dados for the dividers.  The arrangement is a stopped dado with an additional stub tenon towards the front of the divider.  The thinking being that any expansion or contraction will be limited towards the front of the divider and will be forced to the rear of the divider.  Hopefully this will keep the divider flush on the face of the tansu.

Marking with the gauge.


Waste marked and ready for cutting.


Mortising for the stub tenon.


Cleaning up with the bottom cleaning chisel.


I sawed the portion of the dado that falls over the dust panel groove to prevent any blowout when I began chopping.


Chopping the walls of the dado.


Paring the bulk of the waste.


Final cleanup with the router.


Completed joint.  Only five more to go.


Dry fit.  Sorry I don’t have any photos of cutting the mating portion on the dividers.  I became engrossed in the work and forgot all about taking photos.


With the dividers completed I began work on the from-rear drawer bearers.  These are pretty simple and go fairly quickly.


All of the pieces were cut to length, surface planed and ends squared on the shooting board.  One thing to note is that these are fitted with a deliberate gap at both ends.  Again, this is to address expansion and contraction.  In this instance the movement that I am concerned with is that which will occur across the width of the front and rear bearers.  If everything is tight to start with there is a chance that parts will buckle and create issues with the operation of the drawers.  Anyway, there is a gap.

To begin the joinery I plowed all of the required grooves.  Then set my cutting gauge for the depth of the stub tenons on the ends of the pieces.


Using the cutting gauge to quickly define the shoulder.  Remember, I squared all of these pieces on the shooting board.



Now the mortise gauge to mark the thickness of the tenon.


Sawing the shoulder walls.


Splitting off the waste.


Like I said, these pieces goes quickly.  The one variance is the pieces that are in-line with the drawer dividers.  These are wider and receive a groove on both edges.

Yet another dry fit of the carcass assembly with all of the framing in place.



I need to drill the holes for the handles and do a final cleanup of the parts and the carcass work is just about completed.  Tomorrow I hope to have the front and rear assemblies glued together and wedged.

Greg Merritt

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HB Tansu #3-Progress 6

I spent Saturday completing the side rail joinery.  Basically just more of the same like I posted in Progress 5.  With the side rails completed, I turned my attention to the front and rear bearers.

The first step was to cut the five rear and the five front bearers to rough length.  This length is taken from the full-scale shop drawing.  Adding additional length for the tenons on each end.  Then I surface dressed all the pieces.  Using one piece for a master, I once again turned to the full-scale shop drawing Continue reading

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Heavy Handed Woodworker?

Iron-fist-hammerIf you work with hand saws then you’ve heard the oft repeated mantra:

“Let the saw do the work.”

Makes sense.  The problem is that it can’t be taught.  Told, yes, taught, no.  It is one of those things that can only be learned thru practice. How tight to grip the handle, some or no downward force.  These are things that must be experienced.  We all know it Continue reading

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HB Tansu #3-Progress 5

It was almost 70F today!  Spring is just around the corner.  Finally!

I took advantage of the warmth and spent an hour or so in the shop after work today.  Today saw the start of the from/rear rails.  I marked a master directly from the full-size drawing and them ganged all the rails together and marked them all to match.  At this point I had a decision to make.  Should I mark out all of joinery or tackle them one at a time?  I opted for Continue reading

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HB Tansu #3-Progress 4

Today was basically a repeat of yesterday.  I chopped the mortises in the rear cross rails and then fit the corresponding post tenons.

One additional operation today was to layout and chop the handle rail mortises.  Nothing special about that other than to ensure they line up from post to post.  This is easily accomplished by ganging the posts together and marking them all at the same time.  The handle rail mortises were the last of the Continue reading

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HB Tansu #3-Progress 3

I had an easy, slow paced day in the shop.  No rush.  Just enjoyed my time working wood and making.  My goal today was to chop the mortises in the front cross rails and to fit the corresponding post tenons.

front_rail_mortiseI had set out the joinery for these pieces a few days ago and was able to jump right in with chopping the mortises.  The main mortise is a standard thru mortise.  There is a mortise that intersects with it perpendicularly.  That mortise is reduced two thirds of the way thru to a square profile.  Its this intersection that must be given attention.  I can’t just chop one mortise and then the other.  If I do so when the second mortise meets the hollow of the first there is the potential for spelching (breakout) of the unsupported fibers.  In the past I have inserted a scrap block into the first mortise and used that to support the fibers.  Today I tried something different.  Today Continue reading

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HB Tansu #3-Progress 2

What a difference a few days make.  My electric was restored late Sunday afternoon.  Thus ending the almost four day struggle to keep the water pipes and myself from freezing.  Today the temperature climbed to almost 60F.  No complaints with that. Continue reading

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