Nakashima / Krenov Nightstand #2: Case Construction

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Blog entry by Matthew posted 10-31-2014 10:56 PM 2664 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro Part 2 of Nakashima / Krenov Nightstand series Part 3: Back Panel and Dust Frame »

Alright, lets get started.

The goal today was to get the case dry fit, and that means cutting the mitered edge dovetails.

here is what the goal is:

The point of this joint is to get a nice through dovetail, without the butt joint in the front.

I want the nightstand to be mitered on both the front and back of the case, so we have 16 miters to cut.

We’ll start with our panels glued up, flattened and cut to final size:

Now, with a marking gauge set for the panel thickness, we layout our baseline. Because of the mitered edge we DO NOT need to scribe the edge of any of the boards. I’ll cover this in a moment.

Now, I am planning for the case back to be 1/4” thick, so I need to make the half pin large enough to accommodate the groove.

There are several ways to proceed from here, depending on if you do pins or tails first, and on how you layout the dovetails (dividers, etc). I am cutting tails first on the bandsaw using a 10 degree hook.

The beauty of the bandsaw method is that you get symmetrical tails relatively easily. Its also repeatable, you cut all 4 sides (top, bottom, front, back) with one setting.

When you get to the middle of the board, you can pretty much adjust and get the exact size pin you want, and still keep symmetrical tails.

Even with the mitered edge, we need to cut all of the tails, the only difference is we DO NOT cut the half tail from the edge, leave those for now. You can remove the waste at the bandsaw, or like I did, with a coping saw.

Now some chisel work to clean up the joint. Chop down about halfway, and then flip to finish.

Notice we still havent done anything with the half tail or miter yet. The reason for this is that it makes laying out the tails MUCH easier. Every other tutorial or video i saw cuts the miter first, but this makes it difficult to make a good knife line when laying out the pins. So the next step is to transfer the lines to the pin boards.

NOW we can cut the miter on the tail board. Using a marking knife, mark from the baseline to the corner using a square on a 45 degree angle.

I have had best results cutting right on the line, and using the joint straight off the saw. The goal is to get a nice crisp edge on the outer side and the baseline.

Then cut all of the pins EXCEPT the outer half pin marks.

Next, we will cut the miters. We are going to cut along the marks made for the half pin holding the saw at 45 degree from horizontal. We want the cut to go from the top of the board to the baseline WITHOUT CUTTING THROUGH THE SHOW SIDE. Then we cut the miter on the edge the same as the tail board.

I should mention that I like a saw with very little set, in this case I use a Japanese Dozuki.

Now we are left with this. I think the results are decent, and should close up with glue and some clamp pressure.

Now rinse, wash, and repeat for a 4 sided case!

The plan for tomorrow is to tackle the drawer dust frame and the case back.

-- Matthew, Columbia - South Carolina ----- Jesus was a carpenter...

2 comments so far

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 3210 days

#1 posted 11-01-2014 01:09 AM

Looking great, I love both styles.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Todd's profile


421 posts in 3015 days

#2 posted 11-07-2014 09:37 PM

Great job on the dovetails!

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

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