25 February 2013

Secret Compartment, One

The drawer with the secret compartments shown above doesn't look very secretive, in fact it looks very ordinary.

A pic of the same drawer from the underside shows the 'Quaker Lock' as described in the last post, but it's only when the two screws are removed:

...and the Cedar of Lebanon base is slid backwards can the first secret compartment be revealed, a 5mm space:

...between the two bases.  Nothing very clever here, except some very careful routing of the stopped grooves  in each of the sides to hold the trapped (veneered) base.

However, the second secret compartment is a lot more cunning....

19 February 2013

The Quaker Lock

Just after the Christmas festivities, on the 28th Dec to be exact, a Blog post was published showing the carcase of the current project with a little 4mm hole drilled in the bottom.  Some clues were given as to it's use and by following the link provided, the answer ought to have been easy to find.

This is my adaptation of the so called 'Quaker Lock', a simple yet effective means of locking the drawer in place so that unless you're savvy enough to know how it'll open...it won't!

The first pic above shows the set of three drawers, all pretty much identical, except they're not.  All three are made from English Walnut, quarter sawn English Oak sides, Cedar of Lebanon bases and Indian Ebony handles. All three have Quaker Locks but one has two separate concealed compartments...

So how does the Quaker Lock work?  The information in Kari's post shows a straight lath fixed at an angle to the underside of the drawer, which then engages on the back of rail once it's been slid into place.  Pushing a finger up through a big hole in the dust board moves the lath upwards so releasing the drawer.  I reckoned that this was a little crude so I refined it by making a curved lamination of four pieces of ash veneer...

....such that a flat surface could now be stuck to the underside of the drawer.  It's sufficiently bendy so that just the merest push through that small hole with a piece of 4mm steel rod will flex the ash and enable the drawer to be removed.

In the next exciting episode (better than Dick Barton here) one of the secret compartments will be revealed.

 I'd lay money that you just can't contain your excitement....

08 February 2013

The 'Feel Good' Factor...

How do you fit yours?..drawers that is. T'interweb is awash with all manner of excellent blogs by talented makers, not to mention innumerable tomes from the year 'dot' about making the things, but there seems to be very little information about how to fit them.

For example, to make one,  the rear cabinet opening should be fractionally larger than the front, sides should be slightly tapered and shot in around half-way, the back and front should be just the merest gnat's wotsit larger than the front opening and the sides, when fitted, ought to be just a fraction proud of the front...again, the merest gnat's todger.  If they're under, then you could be up a long, sticky creek with no means of propulsion!

All this is common knowledge...once you've made the thing with beautiful lapped dovetails at the front, immaculate joints at the rear and a lovely, aromatic Cedar of Lebanon bottom, how do you go about fitting it to get that elusive, one-finger-pushing fit?

When I was at Shoreditch College, I asked one of my tutors, Gordon N. Aldersley... "how do you get a really good fit?"  His reply..."you need to make a few"

Many drawers later and a vast amount of practice have enabled me to almost get a half-respectable fit. For your delight and further edification, I share my method (for what it's worth) with you here.

First and foremost, get a nice sharp...and I really do mean sharp, blade in your favourite smoothing plane and once the drawer has been glued, clean off the rear dovetails, taking off the absolute minimum til they're flush.  The grain in the sides ought to have been orientated so that it can be planed from front to back...but you knew that already!

Second and foremost, with a really finely set plane, level the bottom so it's true and out of any slight 'wind'...again, take off the minimum.  If it's been made properly of course, there shouldn't be any!

Thirdly, start to remove etherial, wispy shavings from the top and sides...every few shavings, keep  offering the drawer to the opening to check for a fit.

But the big and over-riding question, that took me ages to solve is this....

How do you know where it's binding as it goes in?

The answer, like all the best things, is very simple.  Apart from a good straight edge (to check that the drawer sides are flat) get hold of set of decent feeler gauges and extract the 0.1mm blade.  The insertion of the feeler blade as the drawer is fitted will soon highlight, with remarkable accuracy, exactly where the drawer is sticking or binding.  It's simply then a question of removing the offending 'high spot' with a wispy shaving or three and re-testing the fit.

Eventually, after some very careful work, the drawer will just sliiiiiiiiiiiiiide smoothly into the opening with the barest minimum of 'waggle'.  Once you've achieved a fit like this, the feeling doesn't get much better!

05 February 2013

Don't you love Starbucks?

I hate Starbucks...don't you?

Especially when they give you a giant sized pot of wishy-woshy latte coffee in a vast styrofoam beaker with some sort of plastic top on it and then expect you to slurp the stuff with a straw through a little tiny hole in the top...yuk!!

However, what they do give you (at least in some establishments) are those rather handy beechwood sticks...completely useless for stirring coffee, but rather desirable in a 'shop, so desirable that I've 'accumulated' half a big ice-cream tub of the things...

More so, in fact, when there's a delicate little job to do like getting the wax out of all the 'crooks and nanny's' on a cabinet back panel.  Slice one into a chisel edge with a Stanley knife, wrap round a soft duster and it'll get into all those elusive, hard to get at places.

The only positive to say about Starbucks is at least it looks like they're going to pay a bit more tax...