Thursday, 7 July 2016

Chippendale double chest


I didn't expect this kit to be different from other Chippendale chests, but it was, and therefore I will once again show a step-by-step project. It was easier than I had expected, but it was, because of this different technology, very interesting to work on.

Here are the chests I have made:

Chippendale 3-drawer chest, which was my very first, and which I later also made in another version

Chippendale chest on chest

Chippendale bachelor's chest

Chippendale serpentine chest that I apparently haven't shared before:

Chippendale chest of drawers that I haven't shared either (I wonder why).

So I am well-versed in the art of drawer-making, and I can recognise parts of drawers and don't panic when there are too many.

But I must admit that when I took the part out of the box it looked intimidating:

However, as I say, I now recognise a drawer when I see one, and since I didn't want to stain anything that would be on the inside I identified those parts and only stained what needed staining. I used light oak stain.

The reason I stained selectively is the dearly learned lesson from previous chest making. When you stain or paint before assembly the wood swells, and sometimes it gets next to impossible to fit shelves into grooves. So as you see I stained the top, the fronts of drawers, the front trimmings and the legs. I didn't at that point quite understand how the front trimmings worked, but I wasn't too worried about it.

I did what I have now learned to do, with chests and other pieces that have drawers, such as hutch cabinets, dressings tables and the wardrobe. Although the instructions say otherwise, I glue the drawers first of all. Exactly because it is then easier to identify other parts. But also because I have a couple of times used wrong parts.

In this kit, there are nine drawers of three different sizes, and it is crucial to use correct parts. So I played a little jigsaw with them:

This way I was confident that each drawer had the correct sides and back. Believe me, it's no fun to find out that you've done it wrong.

Now the drawers are done and drying, and I can start the main assembly.

As I said I had anticipated a very complicated structure like some other chests I had done. But this wasn't a problem at all. Could it be because I had not stained the shelves?

I didn't even have to hold the assembly together with rubber bands, although I did tape it after the final step: 

Now, the interesting thing about this chest, and the reason why there were so many parts hard to identify is that, unlike other chests, it has front trimmings. These have to be glued one at a time and carefully fitted. It may not be obvious in pictures, but in the left picture I have have glued on trimmings from the left central divider and further to the left, and on right picture I have glued on the rest.

And in this picture I have glued on the tiny columns on the sides. I didn't even notice them on the cover picture.

After this, I glued on the top and base, then glued on the feet.


All in all, it wasn't a lot of work, and there were no unforeseen problems. Until I started inserting the drawers, and they didn't even remotely fit. Maybe some of the trimmings sat a quarter of a millimetre too high or too low. Not much I could do about it now, other than sanding away a quarter of a millimitre of each drawer.   

Let me tell you sanding down nine drawers isn't a winner. It took me a week. (Okay, I didn't sand 24/7, but I sanded every now and then, a couple of hours a day, for a week). 

Drilling 36 holes for handles wasn't particularly exciting either. I started with a pushpin, but gave up after three fronts and used an electric drill. The holes are rather large, but when covered by plates it doesn't matter.

By the way, I don't know how much longer I will be able to do this kind of work. My sight is deteriorating. Better hurry before I get blind. 


In the end, I forced the drawers in. I will never be able to pull them out again. I could just as well glue drawer fronts direct onto the trimmings. Someone who inherits my dollhouse after I am gone will hate me for this. (Or maybe they will just throw it away so it wouldn't matter). 

The chest is going into the lower entrance. I will pretend the drawers are full of objects brought in by servants and delivery boys. 


1 comment:

  1. Ah looks great, just like the real thing! Would love to have the time to dedicate to a project like this. Models of anything are inherently fascinating.