Newport Blockfront Bureau - Flush Front

I am coming to the end of a three year project to build three versions of the Newport
blockfront. Starting with carving the shells, then moving on to the bases, the three drawer chest is assembled and its drawers complete. I haven’t seen a construction of the flush front version of the bureau table so it may be of interest to members.
As a self-taught wood worker who had never seen an original, I belong to the Wallace Nutting-FWW#23 school. My cockbead-on-frame construction method is different from the original method where rabbets are planed for later inset of the vertical cockbeads and dadoes planed for the dustboard/stretchers for each drawer. The 5/32" cockbeads are molded directly on the sides with a beading plane. A jig is used to rout a 7/16" wide x ½" deep stopped dado for the drawer blades which are finished with a dovetail jig. 3/4" wide x 3/8" deep stopped dadoes are routed for the full width ½" thick dust boards which are wedged in place with a 1/4" wear strip, glued in front and slot screwed at the back.
From my previous career as an ATM and medical device builder I have access to a metal shop which greatly simplifies jig manufacture. As you can see in the close up, I use thin strips front and back to avoid blowout. The front strip has a 5/32" groove. The routed sides are sitting on the three drawer chest.
There are two jigs, a left hand and a right hand for cutting the dovetails on the ends of the blades. It cuts the double angle for the dovetail then guides for chopping down to thin the end to 7/16" to fit in the routed dado. I originally used 1/8" cockbeads and made the dovetail ½" of the 3/4" carcase side. For the 5/32" cockbead the originals used 5/8" dovetails, the corners of the 1/2" dovetails are very fragile. I size the ends of the blades with half-strength hide glue before cutting them. The cockbeads on the ends of the blades are cut with a scratch stock which can lead to residual lines along the cockbeads if the channel is not fully excavated.
A separate jig is used to convert the 7/16" x ½" routedcase dovetail ends 1.jpg dado on the case sidecase dovetail ends 2.jpgs to the dovcase dovetail sides 1.jpgetail socket. case dovetail sides 2.jpg
A separate jig is used to convert the 7/16" x ½" routed dado on the case sides to the dovetail socket.
The sides are clamped to two T-shaped fixtures. The fixtures are separated by two sticks to give the dimensions of the bottom - rear is 1/8" wider than the front.
The top cross pieces are glued in, the top and contoured full width blades installed, then the full width dust board over the cupboard is fitted. Incidentally I had given all parts a wash coat of shellac prior to assembly. The dust board was 10/1000's over and I was interested to see how much smoother the finish was after planing it.

Without gluing the dust board the assembly was inverted and the inner sides of the cupboard test fitted. Once satisfied with the fit of the inner sides, the dust board was glued, the inner sides glued and the bottom glued. There was a slight cup to the bottom, hence the T-irons.
View after assembly of the drawers. The base is done. Next step is to hang the door. Any suggestions on hing installation would be welcome.
I made a jig out of 1 1/2" aluminum angle which ensures the two hinges are parallel and set at the same depth. The cut out on the second side of the angle iron is deepr by the knuckle of the hinge, a little more than the cockbead. This ensures the cockbead dadoes on the stile are the same distance apart as the hinges on the door. Since this was my first attempt I used a dummy style and dummy door to make sure everything would fit. The key hole is a challenge as it lies on the curved surface of the door. I made a jig to bore the two holes from the backside of the door, fitting a caul on the curved side to prevent tearout. A little masking tape helped. The keyhole escutcheon was installed in a small block of maple which was then milled to shape in the milling machine. A sanding drum could achieve the same effect.
The hinge jig worked nIMG_3443.jpgicely on the kneehole bureau asIMG_3442.jpg well. The gains were cut in the stile prior to assembly as it is a separate piece. I was pleasantly surprised that the 2 degree lean in the carcase did not result in binding.
Really just spectacular work, Michael. The jig for the hinge mortices seems like a clever solution.

I've not built anything from the Newport school, though certainly have a few items on my bucket list.