Exposed - Design Experiment Part 2 - The mens valet revisited

  • Advertise with us
Project by lumberjoe posted 07-24-2014 04:07 PM 3420 views 17 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a men’s valet box, but more so a design experiment. I am playing around with different styles and techniques. This is No.2 in the series. No.3 will be the inverse (walnut carcass, curly maple everywhere else). No.4 will be a desk.

Ash case, all splines are also Ash
Beech drawer box
Walnut legs
Walnut veneer on the top and drawers (shop sawn to 3/64 then hammer veneered with hot hide glue)
Walnut drawer slides (exposed)
Chakte Viga drawer pull
Black Leather

Pore filled with pumice and BLO
Custom blended wiping varnish (tung oil base) polished up to 20000 grit after it cured
Veneer on the top is french polished

Hot Hide Glue throughout, 192G strength
Splined mitered casework
Splined mitered drawer box
Legs are doweled at the butt joints and doweled to the case. They were shaped by hand with a rasp. In fact a lot of the construction was done by hand.

Differences from Version 1
I mortised a stretcher into the bottom of this one toward the front. . I thought the outboard legs would be enough to support the open miter in the front; they aren’t

The drawer still racks a bit. I like the look of the exposed slides, but in reality they are more for aesthetics than functionality. The design has no potential to prevent racking. In the desk I will use a pair of blum soft close undermounts. in addition to the exposed slides on the sides.

I think I finally got the leg shape I wanted. In the next one I may skip the angled cuts for the 3 leg pieces and simply shape them. The 70 degree angle line in the front and the 45 in the back bother me. It would look nicer at a straight 90 degrees.

I really like this handle design. It’s something simple, but it actually took me forever to find something that was functional, stood out, but wasn’t chunky. I’m considering cutting it off with a flush cut saw and photocopying it as a template (then reattaching). I’m not sure I could easily recreate it as it was 100% rasp work done on the fly.

Cross cuts done with my custom made frame saw (thanks Paul Miller for the initials!)

Jointing done by hand with my Krenov style planes (scrub, jointer, smoother)

The rest was a mix of powertools and hand tools. All curves were done with rasps.

All in all, this was a challenging project and my second take. The first was similar but I wasn’t happy with the drawer pull or the leg design

Comments and feedback welcomed!


18 comments so far

View Keyser_Soze's profile


68 posts in 2338 days

#1 posted 07-24-2014 04:32 PM

How many hours did you end up into this project? As a power-tool-fool I’m always amazed by this stuff. Too addicted to the destination to enjoy the journey of hand tools… most of the time. Loving the walnut contrast

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3015 days

#2 posted 07-24-2014 04:41 PM

A lot. But mostly due to figuring out the design on the fly. The joinery and glue ups are pretty complicated. I didn’t add a ton of time using hand tools though. They are surprisingly efficient once you build the muscle memory and tune them well. I’m not going to lie and say it’s almost as quick as running it though a jointer or using a compound miter saw, but the level of effort isn’t as much as you think.


View Ivan's profile


15942 posts in 3634 days

#3 posted 07-24-2014 05:24 PM

Beautiful design and verry challenging project.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View WVWoodshed's profile


27 posts in 2702 days

#4 posted 07-24-2014 05:50 PM

Sweet!!! Really like the exposed dovetail drawer glides. How was the leather work incorporated? Is there a separate panel the leather is attached to or was it just glued directly to the lid panel? Terrific job, thanks for sharing!!!

-- Keep your mind on your fingers and your fingers on your hands...

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3015 days

#5 posted 07-24-2014 05:56 PM

The leather is attached to another substrate and is a very tight friction fit so it can be removed. Most products used to clean leather should never come in contact with wood – especially those that have been french polished.


View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2191 days

#6 posted 07-24-2014 06:02 PM

Sweet!!! Really like the exposed dovetail drawer glides.

- WVWoodshed

I agree. Really nice design detail.
Well done!

-- Brad, Texas,

View SPalm's profile


5335 posts in 4649 days

#7 posted 07-24-2014 06:09 PM

Very nice work Joe.
These are really getting to great. I love the design process.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View JL7's profile


8773 posts in 3732 days

#8 posted 07-24-2014 06:32 PM

Really nice Joe – great design.

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3457 days

#9 posted 07-24-2014 10:22 PM

Very nice! The hand tool work is impressive and way beyond me.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Mean_Dean's profile


7040 posts in 3914 days

#10 posted 07-25-2014 12:02 AM

That is a cool looking valet box! Kind of a mid-century modern look to it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View KodaBear's profile


116 posts in 2655 days

#11 posted 07-25-2014 01:03 AM

Now that’s a nice-ash box. I love the nice-ash figure as well. well done!

-- Kevin H. --Pennsylvania

View Boxguy's profile


2876 posts in 3034 days

#12 posted 07-25-2014 04:53 AM

Joe, this is really super work. The finish is amazing. I don’t see a good answer to your racking problem if the slides remain on the outside of the “box” holding the drawer, and having them there is the whole point of this look.

However, if you were to move the slides inside the “box” and added a bottom to the box it would solve your strength problems. The drawer would then be a box inside a box. The outside box would just have three sides, a top and a bottom, and the forth side would become the drawer front.

The only other answer I can see is a triangular corner beneath the drawer from the leg to the stringer to add strength. However that would detract from the look and be in the way in the desk.

A small metal angle or box and rod might add enough strength but you would have the nuts on the ends to contend with.

-- Big Al in IN

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3457 days

#13 posted 07-25-2014 12:02 PM

Perhaps a stringer between the box edges (if there is room) or between the legs to minimize the racking?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3015 days

#14 posted 07-25-2014 01:12 PM

I do have a stretcher mortised into the bottom of the case toward the front, it helps a little.

Boxguy, that is the plan for the desk, basically a box within a box. Since the drawer will be about 5 feet long I am going to use undermount slides. The exposed slides will be decorative.


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3457 days

#15 posted 07-25-2014 01:21 PM

Joe, You hid it well! Maybe a second one at the back?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics