Charles Neil build along mahogany lowboy "series" #11: week

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Blog entry by a1Jim posted 06-07-2010 07:33 AM 7699 reads 2 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: week Part 11 of Charles Neil build along mahogany lowboy "series" series Part 12: week »

Charles Neil lowboy build-along, #11

When I left you, back in installment # 8, I had just finished cutting out and installing the scroll board. The next step is to mill out the drawer dividers. First, make sure that both sides of the scroll board measure an equal distance, down from the top of the legs. After clamping the scroll board where it belongs, I then cut out a scrap piece of MDF, to be used as a spacer and clamp it in place.


Now I’m ready to check out where the lower divider goes and check my measurements.

, I cut all of the ends of the divider stock on the top and bottom dividers. The bottom divider gets routed on all four sides and the top rail, on three sides.Photobucket

After laying out for dual tenons on each side of the bottom tenon, I cut them out on the band saw, using the same clean-up procedure as with the scroll board tenons.






After some trial fits, I have the lower divider in place.



Next, I work on the short dividers that go between the scroll board and the lower divider. While the lower divider is in place, I measure and mark where the small dividers go.




This marks where the router will cut. Now I place marks alongside each side of the cut on the scrape board


, then I mark the center divider where the small dividers with the dovetail will go, all the way around the stock.

I clamp the stock to the scrap and router the divider out. A point to make here, is that I actually do this in two steps, first with a straight router bit

Photobucket and then with the dovetail router bit.

Photobucket This helps keep the stock in place with two lighter cuts, rather than one heavy cut and with one router bit, it also will reduce the possibility of serious tear out. Now our center divider has the dovetails routed in the proper place. Now it’s time to cut out some small stock and get ready to mill the upright short dividers.

I replace the router tables’ fence and make a sort of sled to carry the short stock and then cut the male part of the dovetail joint.


My set-up took some time to get close enough to do a trial fit on a scrap I had cut just for fitting purposes. It took even longer to get close enough to actually get the dovetail to start to fit into the female part. After probably 3 hours I decided that my fence and make-shift jig was not accurate enough to get a tight fit, but not too tight, so I cut the dovetail as close as I could with my router set- up and hand fit the two dovetails. It took a total of 4 ½ hours for two dovetails. I’ve never had such a battle, cutting and fitting dovetails before. The dovetails are sized in the center divider and ready to be put back in the case for a test fit. I check the fit and now draw a line were the bottom section of the short vertical dividers will be trimmed,


to fit behind the scroll board. After marking the short dividers, I make the long, straight cuts on the table saw

and finish up on the band saw, cutting out the half-lap area, similar to how I started cutting out the scroll board. After some test fits and adjustments with the rasp and chisel, they’re in place with a tight, but not too tight fit. It’s good to note that wood swells to a degree and if you make the sliding dove tail joint too tight, you may break the center divider. It also helps to use hide glue, because it is slipperier then yellow glue. Now, on to the top divider. It is connected by placing dovetails on the divider and cutting them into the top of the legs. I start by drawing out a 14 degree dovetail on the top divider that has already been cut on the router table and at the same time, I routered the center divider. After marking both sides,



I go back to the band saw and cut both sides out


. Uh-oh! I fit the top divider and what’s this?...A 3/16 gap between the divider and the leg; the one I just cut out. Oh, dang. Oh well, I’ll just make another one. This part isn’t that hard. But oh-no, there’s no extra mahogany. But wait, I think I bought some off of e-Bay a couple years ago. I’m moving this pile of wood around and there… that looks like mahogany. Is it long enough? Yes, oh but, is it thick enough? Oh wow, it is!


Why not just go buy some? Because it’s Sunday and the nearest wood dealer is 120 miles, round trip. Okay, I’ve got the material and go through the steps: I joint it, cut it to size, draw out the dove tail and then off to the band saw. Half way through the band sawing, I realize that I didn’t router out three sides, like I had the orginal. I’ll just do that afterwards. WRONG! The second piece blows up. Alright, I’ll make another, now that I have the material. I won’t go into any more detail, but I’m on #4 and now it finally fits. I finally take the #4 top divider and draw with a sharp pencil around the dovetail

and also use a sharp chisel to imprint the top lines,


mark the thickness to establish the depth of the area on the leg to be removed.


After making sure my area to be cleaned out is well marked, I now take my dovetail saw and cut down the side lines of the area to be removed.

The quick way to remove a large amount of material is to use a forestner bit and drill from the top down to the line that marked the thickness off the dividers dovetail.

All that’s left to do is carefully chiseling out the remaining waste and fitting the dovetail and of course, repeating the same operation on the other side of the top divider.




Next time I will be cutting out the side scroll work and hopefully get started on the knee block.
Remember, the techniques I’ve gathered are from Charles Neil’s subscription online webisode.
Sign up for Charles, “Mastering Woodworking” webisodes


33 comments so far

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 3972 days

#1 posted 06-07-2010 07:39 AM

Wow, Jim. I really enjoy the process blog. The lowboy is coming along nicely.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18784 posts in 4282 days

#2 posted 06-07-2010 07:49 AM

Keep at it Jim :-) This is a little over my head, but fun to watch it come out.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4530 days

#3 posted 06-07-2010 07:52 AM

Did you say you were building 6 of them? :=)

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3679 days

#4 posted 06-07-2010 07:55 AM

Thanks for such a detailed blog. It’s really cool seeing how you put this together and it’s going to be an amazing piece when it’s complete.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Dale's profile


9 posts in 3528 days

#5 posted 06-07-2010 09:56 AM

well beyond my capabilities for now, but interesting learning how it’s done. looks like it will be an awesome lowboy when finished

-- Dale, manufacturer of exquisite mounds of firewood and sawdust.

View patron's profile


13694 posts in 3947 days

#6 posted 06-07-2010 10:02 AM

excellent work , jim ,
as usual .

this gives me hope ,

i have the same yellow pencil ,
and square .

i even have some blown wood too !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3671 days

#7 posted 06-07-2010 11:39 AM

Looks like its coming along real well Jim. Thanks of the photos.I can’t wait for the finished pics.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View b2rtch's profile


4915 posts in 3655 days

#8 posted 06-07-2010 12:10 PM

Very interesting to see the techniques you use.
Thank you for sharing Jim.

-- Bert

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1594 posts in 3858 days

#9 posted 06-07-2010 01:21 PM

Great job jim.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3802 days

#10 posted 06-07-2010 01:28 PM

Excellent blog jim. Thanks for sharing!

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Cher's profile


965 posts in 3700 days

#11 posted 06-07-2010 01:31 PM

Thanks for the blog Jim. It is superb.

-- When you know better you do better.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4477 days

#12 posted 06-07-2010 01:56 PM

excellent Jim, just excellent…

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3910 days

#13 posted 06-07-2010 02:19 PM

so much fun watching this process, its a great project with enough challenge to it…and its great to see you work through it…keep on plugging away…soon it will be time for the finish and you can stand back and enjoy the fruits of your labor…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3932 days

#14 posted 06-07-2010 02:34 PM

I’ve seen Charles do it in his DVD… And I see your pictures. The next tenons I make will be on the router table! Thanks for continuing this wonderful blog.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3526 days

#15 posted 06-07-2010 02:59 PM

This is really a great story. Much of it is over my head, but seeing the process the way you break it down really clarifies what you are doing. Thanks for taking the time to share.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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