OK, The French Veneer (at last) #8: Tuning the Cantilevered Drawers

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 12-01-2014 12:42 AM 3351 reads 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Messing With a Master Part 8 of OK, The French Veneer (at last) series Part 9: Just Some Pretty Pictures »

Now that I have the plan in place for the end marquetry there is a little housekeeping to be done with the drawers. The pull out ones in the centre column are straightforward and relatively easy so I have already glued the marquetry to them. The tricky ones are the cantilevered drawers in the side columns.
When last seen they looked like this. They were glued up but had no bottoms.

The bottoms will be 1/4” plywood veneered both sides with walnut and ebonized. Because the plywood can’t show on the hinge columns and to strengthen the corner joint I half lapped a piece of queen ebony onto the hinge corner of each,...

glued them on, and trimmed them flush. (Those of you who know my shops will notice that the last one was at my home shop and this one is in my Az. shop)

As the two inside edges of the bottoms will be seen when the drawer is opened, I routed a little rebate and inlaid a bit of solid walnut. The two outside edges will be covered with marquetry.

So that brings the construction details up to date. Now for the tricky part. I spent a lot of time trying to tune the cantilevers with my carefully turned ebony hinge pins but in the end the tolerances were just not good enough. I switched to 1/2” brass tubing inserted into the holes in the drawers and 7/16” for the pin. With 1/32” wall the fit makes a perfect brass on brass bearing with much less play.

The cantilevers will make or break the structural side of the project. They must move so smoothly that you can’t stop playing with them. They cannot touch any other part when they swing, and they need to close leaving the front and side panels perfectly planar and with very small cracks because the end marquetry will be a single picture.
............. That’s why it took so long but ….. I did get ‘em done.

Here’s a little video of the resulting hinge action.

Now the rest of the drawer front marquetry pieces can be glued on and I can get started with the end motifs.
It may be a while before the next entry but at least I’m pretty sure there will be a next one. There were moments when …...

Thanks for looking in,


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

21 comments so far

View sras's profile


5238 posts in 3668 days

#1 posted 12-01-2014 12:53 AM

Most people will think they have fully appreciated this piece by admiring the marquetry. They will only have gotten half of the experience! Fantastic work!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4420 days

#2 posted 12-01-2014 12:57 AM

A whole bunch of us know exactly what can go wrong with swinging doors/drawers like that. You nailed it.
Looks like a good move with the brass tubes. But still, a lot could go wrong.

I am humbled.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23536 posts in 3644 days

#3 posted 12-01-2014 12:59 AM

Paul, you are a master marqueteer!Those are exquisite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3842 days

#4 posted 12-01-2014 01:05 AM

’’tHERE WERE MOMENTS WHEN”.....good thing you dont have a wood stove…lol…you have done very well to achieve this point of the build, im so happy for you paul, you can be assured we all will wait patiently for the next part, i wish you well…

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

View prometej065's profile


336 posts in 4221 days

#5 posted 12-01-2014 01:22 AM

Indeed a lot of effort, inventiveness .. and certainly elegance!
Well done Paul.
Assuming you will the inside of the trays to be coated with some beautiful luxurious plush (as already done in the epoch of which are inspired).
I repeat … it’s exciting to follow your work.


View MontanaBob's profile


870 posts in 3222 days

#6 posted 12-01-2014 01:27 AM


View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3077 days

#7 posted 12-01-2014 02:42 AM

That is incredible Paul. Very nice work

-- I never finish anyth

View gbear's profile


528 posts in 4638 days

#8 posted 12-01-2014 02:59 AM

This is an amazing build not counting the marquetry…I am enjoying (& learning) watching your progress.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View Longcase's profile


101 posts in 1985 days

#9 posted 12-01-2014 03:03 AM

Sometimes metal is just a better solution than wood , as in the case.
The case is coming along nicely, I know how hard it is sometimes to keep everything lined up so that it keeps in the same plane.
Nice work


View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2727 days

#10 posted 12-01-2014 03:06 AM


It seems to me that you are always coming up with more challenges. Beautiful movement sir. Mission accomplished. Your talents and skills are top notch.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3912 days

#11 posted 12-01-2014 04:20 AM

Thanks for the update, Paul. Incredilble work on those drawers and hinges – so smooth. Please continue bringing us all along on this fantastic voyage.


-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10777 posts in 4591 days

#12 posted 12-01-2014 04:43 AM

Looking GREAT!

I’m glad you got your hands in there… it put the size into the right perspective… wasn’t as BIG as it looked! LOL

... very nice!

It will be a Knock Out when done!

Thank you for showing!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3371 days

#13 posted 12-01-2014 07:45 AM

Looking damn good already. Did you wax a bit the brass rods to avoid any possible long term issues like verdigris developping inside the hinges?

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View kiefer's profile


5688 posts in 3205 days

#14 posted 12-01-2014 02:58 PM

That is fun to watch ,well thought out precision fitting of the cantilevered drawers .
You are taking us on a behind the scenes journey that makes one appreciate the cabinet even more seeing all the casework that comes before the marquetry application .


-- Kiefer

View shipwright's profile


8399 posts in 3336 days

#15 posted 12-01-2014 07:24 PM

Thanks all,

Thomas, not yet but I will put a little wax or oil on them when I do final assembly. They will also, of course, have to be removable.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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