Work In Progress #1: Canasta

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Blog entry by Byron posted 11-20-2011 12:54 AM 7052 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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These images document some of the process of my most recent completed project which was a reliquary dedicated to my Mother.

The requirement for this project was to design and make a Reliquary utilizing a door and a drawer. Our warm up project was to fit a drawer with half blind dovetails to a previously made carcass of MDF by our professor Rich Tannen.

This was my first real go at dovetails. Some of the proportions were off as to what I wanted but I was pleased with the craftsmanship.

After many drawings and a very small model, unfortunately not included at this time, I finished a rough full scale model.

I love working with mahogany but I had wanted a Lighter color wood to create a contrast in the ebony divide between the doors and the panel, as well as highlight the contrast in the carvings. I just felt a light toned wood was good for this piece. I played around with the idea of bleaching Mahogany since I needed thicker stock for the carving of the panel, and could not find thicker stock of Avodire. Avodire is a relative of Mahogany I believe, and is basically a blond version. I ended up finding some beautiful pieces from GW hardwoods near by my school acquiring a straight grained flat sawn board used for the panel, and a more figured board used for the outer components. I needed to do extensive carving on the front panel so I needed a good wood for carving, ideally without too much figure.

This is not the best quality image but here is the roughed out

door with the gap in it resting over the (hidden) carcass.

This image is just a cool shot I took of the dovetails for the drawers as I was chopping all four pairs of tails at once, the other side is the same. Luckily I was able to cut more then one set of tails at a time by doubling and even tripling up the pieces as I cut them.

I have a great little japanese dovetail saw I use for all my dovetails. It is extremely rigid and leaves a fine cut with a thin kerf i usually do not need to true up with a chisel, allowing very small dovetails to be cut without having to make a weird tiny chisel.

Its hard to tell in this picture but each of the four pieces are less then an inch in width (31/32”), so these dovetails are very small.

More to come in the next post!

Thanks for reading,

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology,

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