The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

Tools and Techniques => Finishing => Topic started by: Tom M on November 07, 2019, 03:45:54 PM

Title: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on November 07, 2019, 03:45:54 PM
I'm building a stepback hutch out of old air-dried butternut.  Some of the wider boards have worm holes which became noticeable after planing the boards.  I would like to use them full width, and one of the sides of the lower cabinet has a lot of worm holes (left side of picture).  On a sample board I mixed some hyde glue with butternut filings and filled the worm holes. After drying I planed and shellacked the board (see picture).  I'm not sure I like this, [/size]and I'm wondering if anyone has a suggestion on how to deal with the worm holes?
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on November 07, 2019, 07:37:36 PM
I'm not sure what happened to the text in my post, but something certainly went wrong.

In any case I filled the worm holes on a scrap piece using hide glue and wood filings.  I planed and shellecked it - see picture (I'm not crazy about it).  I would be interested if anyone has a suggestion.  I may need to just scrap my plan of only using full width boards for this one side.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Howard Pollack on November 08, 2019, 10:56:41 AM
I had some sycamore with the same problem.  I tried to fill them with a sanding dust and finish mixture, but I didn't like the results.  I finally decided to work them into the design by filling them with a mixture of cyanoacrylate glue and ebony dust.  A little unusual, but attractive.  -Howard
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ChuckH on December 02, 2019, 08:42:12 PM
I have never worked with any wormy wood but I always thought that the worm holes were part of the appeal.
I'm curious to see how you made out with this.

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on December 03, 2019, 08:30:09 AM
One of the wide lower side boards had just too many worm holes, so I had to rip about 4" and glue a piece to it.  All the wood is from the same tree, and I was able to match the grain such that I have a hard time finding the glue line.  All the boards have some worm holes which is fine.  One of the upper sides has more than I would prefer, but it has a nice crotch detail which matches the other side. My wife likes it so it stays.  I'm not going to try filling them.  I think that just draws attention to them.  The close-up picture show the wood with alcohol on it.  I think the worm holes actually give it some character.

I was hoping to have to have this project complete for Christmas, but we recently got a puppy which requires a lot of attention. She is a wood chomper - anything on the floor is fair game.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ChuckH on December 03, 2019, 10:47:18 AM
Wow, that is some beautiful material, wormholes and all. Definitely follow the wife's intuition on such matters. My wife had a sixth sense when it came to colors and patterns.
Very nice. 

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on December 04, 2019, 12:53:43 PM
I really liked it when there used to be several posts at the Forum daily.  So to try and get thing moving, I'm going to start posting about the Pennsylvania German Stepback Hutch I'm building.  However I will only post if there is a reply to my last one!

So to start off I'll give some background.  Gene Landon taught a class at Olde Mill on this stepback about 15 years ago. I did not take the class, but spent a day a couple years ago measuring Gene's.  I also had Gene's handout from the class, as eventually I will be doing a drawing of this for Olde Mill.

Nine years ago we gutted our kitchen, and in our redesign I left a space for this stepback hutch.

After we got our Springer Spaniel puppy at the beginning of August, I took some time off from work to allow my wife a break, and Abby slept a lot, so I decided to start working on my drawing for the hutch with a puppy sleeping on my feet.  I use a program called TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2019.  Attached is a rendered model. 

In September a couple friends met me in PA to get the wood.  I think I grabbed something like 18 boards.  They were all from the same tree and have air dried for decades.  We got them home and one of the guys ran them through his kiln to kill any bugs.

For the base of the cabinet, I hand thickness planed the boards as they were too wide for my planer.  If they went through the planer they were still hand planed. All the dados for the shelfs were sawn then chiseled out and finished with a Stanley router plane. To layout the through mortises on the top, I clamped a straight-edge to the board then clamped a stop board to the side of the top. The side board was then pushed against both stops and clamped. This made knifing the tenon profile easy.

If you want me to continue, I will need to see some responses!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: macchips4 on December 05, 2019, 10:59:46 PM
Are you going to wedge the through tenons? you must continue.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on December 06, 2019, 03:05:23 PM
Thanks for your reply!
I haven't decided about wedging the tenons.  The fit is very good, and you get long grain to long grain glue surfaces. I had considered it to make sure the top pulls down flat, but I can do that with clamps.  What are your thoughts?  And if they were wedged how would you go about doing it?

And as promised I will continue...

I've started the face frames.  I was able to salvage quarter sawn wood from boards that had the pith in the center.  I think they’ll look good - all straight grain, and since the wide vertical pieces have molding details, I thought it would be easier to work. I spent quite a bit of time finding good sections of QS for the face frame, doors and moldings. Full boards were laid out all over my shop.

A couple days ago I cut them down to manageable sizes, then planed and jointed to final size.  I also identified a board to use for the raised panels, and sections on some cut-off pieces with tight knots in the center that I'll be using for the drawer fronts. That leaves me with four full boards left.  I'll need three of these for the backs.

Five of the face frame stiles have a complex molding in the center. I cut away some of the wood with a dado cutter.  I then ground and filed a scraper for the ogee profile and made a holder for it.  I built it so the blade depth can be easily adjusted up and down without losing its centerline. I also made fences to keep the tool aligned.  This worked very well. I adjusted the depth five times. Figuring out how to make the molding, then making the tool and making the table saw cuts took about as long as scraping the ogees.

Pictures attached show:
- Face frame and door parts cut down to size
[/size]- Drawing of molding- Scraper tool- Final pass- Finished boardThat's it for now. Someone replies and I'll keep going!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: macchips4 on December 06, 2019, 07:52:42 PM
     I think I would wedge the only have long grain to long grain on the short sides of the tenon. I would put two wedges for each tenon, near their ends..a contrasting wood like walnut in a saw-kerf, one will see on the top ......but.......just because.........
    The scraped molded profile came out nice! I always get a lot of "fuzz" when using butternut......
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Rglass on December 07, 2019, 08:08:24 AM
More, More, More.  This is great stuff.  I been at this for a long time and see posts like this make me realize I need to up my game!  Very informative and I appreciate your sharing with us wannabes.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ChuckH on December 07, 2019, 10:49:31 AM
I find your post of 12/4 interesting on many levels. First of all, what a great project and interesting that you chose a Pennsylvania German piece. I don't recall seeing much of that style being discussed here. Do you know anything about the history of the piece?

Although the Queen Anne style is what my wife and I preferred, many of the Pennsylvania German pieces appeal to me probably because of my mother's roots to those people. She grew up in Harrisburg (99 and still going strong) but she can recall as a young girl visiting grandma and grandpa Gruber's farm in Annville, Pa. I wouldn't be surprised if a stepback hutch similar to yours didn't stand in their kitchen. Unfortunately we have long ago lost touch with that branch of the tree.

As someone who retired after 45 years in the Drafting/Engineering field, I can appreciate the fine job you did modeling that hutch. While most people use Sketchup for this task you used TurboCad. That's some high powered software and not necessarily designed for the woodworking community (although the software doesn't care:)).
I suspect you use TurboCad professionally.

And then you mentioned Gene Landon, one of my heros. It was one of Mr. Landon's projects that sparked my desire to build period furniture. Even though it took twenty years for that to come to fruition, I never forgot his article in FW magazine.

Enough jibber jabber. The project is proceeding nicely. It helps to be able to pull out those cross-sections, doesn't it? Regarding those through tenons: mechanically I'm sure they would be fine, but to my eye that joint should be wedged. Gene doesn't mention anything about that in his notes?

Keep up the good work, Christmas is right around the corner. Keep posting and keep that puppy out of the shop. No "Dog-on-its" for that little guy.

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Troy Livingston on December 09, 2019, 10:42:31 AM
I like both project and choice of dog. We have two Springer Spaniel puppies and I am looking forward to having shop dogs once the new shop is complete. Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on December 10, 2019, 06:54:26 PM
I wrote a long note yesterday with several pictures, but when I went to post it an error page came up.  Not sure what happened, but I’ll try and summarize.

I decided I should glue-up the cabinets before making the face frames.  Normally I would just oversize the face frame a little and plane it flush to the case.  But I can’t do that as the top overhangs the sides.  Then there is the side bead on the stiles.  By gluing up the cabinets first I can scribe the face frames to them, then plane to fit before forming the side bead.

I disassembled the dry-fit cabinets and made a punch list of things required before assembly.  This included planing a side bead on the back edge of the sides (Gene’s doesn’t have this), dadoing the sides and top for the backs, cutting the shelves to final width, etc.  I also decided to wedge the tenons. I used a plunge router for the dados (I hate that thing!).

Glue-up: first came the top and sides (through tenons), then the shelves were set in place (these will be pegged later) and last the dovetailed bottom.  Once everything was together, I went to work on wedging the tenons.

My practice wedge went together great. I cut the kerfs 1/8” from each end and made the wedges with a chisel.  However, the glue had started to gel, and the wedges took more force and most of them snapped before doing any real “wedging”.  I’m sure this will be fine (what other choice do I have?) as some of the wedges do press the tenon outward, and all but the front tenons will be covered with the upper cabinet. I was physically and mentally shot after the glue-up and quit for the day. On a positive note everything went together nice and square.

Some additional comments: I molded the lower cabinet’s top by cutting a 1/8” x 3/8” fillet with my Stanley 78, then used a block plane, a gouge and a scraper to finish it.  I will probably hit it with sandpaper before finishing. I used pegs on the unsupported ends of the bottom.  I  made these with a dowel plate.  I figured the bottom should have pegs because of the direction of the dovetails.
Pictures: Molded top, Side bead and dado, Making pegs, Practise wedge, Glue-up

Next will be the upper cabinet assembly.  Remember to reply!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Rglass on December 14, 2019, 09:53:02 PM
I like the added detail of the bead at the back of the case.  Please continue!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on December 16, 2019, 11:22:37 AM
The upper case went together easily once I made some plywood 90° clamp blocks to align the dovetailed top to the sides.  Prior to making these I was having a difficult time keeping the top and sides square. At this stage the only glue joint is the dovetail at the top.  Later I will peg the shelves.

To complete the top, I needed to round-over the front edge of the upper shelf (block plane and files) then form the molding on the middle “spoon” shelf.  This detail for hanging spoons took a lot of work for a feature which will never be used for its intended purpose – but it looks so cool!

When I was modeling the cabinet in CAD, the spoon shelf caused me the most problems – mainly because it took a while to figure out how it was made.  Once I was able to figure it out, I came up with a way to model it (which was easy once understood).  Breaking it down into steps made the work straight forward, but a little time consuming.

I started by planing the fillet on the bottom of the shelf.  This was ¾” x 1/8”. I then used a block plane to round the bottom elliptical shape finishing with a shoulder plane. Next up was the router table with a ½” cove bit.  (I don’t really hate the router when table mounted.) I then used my block plane and files to round over the front edge.

To lay out the spacing for the “dovetail” cuts I used two dividers.  One set at 3/8” and one at 1 ½”. Because there is not much material left to pencil a visual cut line, I decided to make a little saw guide. This worked better than expected. There were 40 cuts to be made!  After sawing I chiseled out the waste, and then spent almost 2 hours paring and filing all the curving edges.To complete the shelves, I routed the 3/8” coves for the plate grooves.

Next up? The face frames get mortise and tenons.

It took FOUR DAYS to get a reply to my last post… Come on people!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Rglass on December 16, 2019, 06:46:18 PM
I can’t believe this has not generated more posts. I know it takes a lot of time to document your progress with this level of detail and it is greatly appreciated.  The pictures tell a thousand words.  I read this very quickly over lunch without logging in so I did not see the pictures until I got home from work. I can imagine it was a very tedious process to chisel out the waste for the spoons.  Looks like it will be awesome once finished.  Good idea with the 90 degree brackets. I am also liking the character of the wormy wood. 
SAPFM members - this deserves your attention. POST!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: macchips4 on December 17, 2019, 09:41:24 AM
Did you use butternut for the wedges?
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on December 17, 2019, 09:23:14 PM
Yes, I used butternut for the wedge, and I can see that a harder wood for the wedges would have been smart.

No update on the project for today as I've transitioned into last minute make a Christmas gift mode!

But I will address a couple items from earlier...

I have no formal CAD training, but am a mechanical engineer.  I've messed around in NX at work - mostly for design analysis. I asked for training for years but never got it.  We have dedicated designers so why train the engineer?  I purchased TurboCAD about 20 years ago and have upgraded three times.  It is a complicated program and I have a love/hate relationship with it. Most of the hate comes from no training, and poor documentation (there is a 2000+ page manual...).  I used my personal copy at work for years and would then send a STP file to my designer to start him off.  I would be willing to bet many of your cars/truck have evap canisters that started life in a TurboCAD model!

I actually had the puppy in the shop for an hour today.  She just laid on the floor a couple feet from the table saw chomping on some butternut plane shavings. She stuck around with the dust collector and table saw running!

Someone asked if Gene had defined if the tenons were wedged in his notes.  (That person never met Gene or took one of his classes!)  Gene's handouts were very light on info.  There might be a sketch with some dimensions, and tracings of moldings, but not much else.  You would get all the other knowledge from the classes he taught.

There was also a question about the original.  I think Gene based the design off an original walnut stepback upper cabinet he had (picture). I'm attaching a picture of Gene's in-process, and competed.

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ChuckH on December 18, 2019, 09:52:39 PM
First of all, nice "Dog on it" shot of Abby. Just don't leave her alone in the shop with that hutch!
Speaking of shops, in one of your future posts you have to tell us about those benches I see in the background.

The hutch is progressing nicely. I'm very impressed with your scratch stock results. I've only recently gained enough confidence to use that process on one of my projects. I too hate routers. They scare the bejeebers out of me. I own two of them (inherited) and all the bits I suppose you would ever want, but I never use them.

That was me asking all the questions about your modelling software and Gene Landon. Thanks for the pictures of Gene's version of the hutch. I smiled when I saw how he finished his with wear marks around the doors and drawers. From what I understand he liked to his finish his projects so they looked like they were 100 years old. I remember reading that he would even scrub the bottoms of the foot on his cabriole legs with a brick to make them look like they had been dragged around. Don't know if that's true or just urban legend.
Much of the German furniture was painted like Gene's, but I can't imagine you have any intentions of painting yours.

I'm enjoying your build and appreciate your efforts in posting.

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: JBRowe on December 19, 2019, 10:59:20 PM
Nice work, Tom, and the makings of an article for the APF Journal if you'd like to offer it.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ttalma on December 29, 2019, 11:57:41 AM
Looking good so far! Now that the Christmas gifts are done (?) I'm looking forward to an update !
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on February 13, 2020, 10:39:54 AM
Sorry for so long since the last post.  I had some last minute Christmas gifts to make and then decided to finish another project that I've worked on and off for four years.

One project was a small display case for my son which was designed to fit into an Ikea (ugh) cabinet he has for his entertaiment center. I used a piece of poplar which was hard as a rock and painted it black to match the Ikea (ugh).  It came out nice but the cost for the glass and shipping across country made it a rather expensive project! In hind site I really should have used plywood for the case and some of that hot melt glue veneer for the exposed part. It would have been much lighter and easier to work.  The only thing you see if the front as the cabinet is 12.5x12.5 and the cubby hole is 13x13...

I started a variation of a pie safe for our kitchen back at the end of 2015. The only glued-up board is the drawer bottom.  All but the top was beautiful clear white pine.  I think the top might have been red pine. Earlier this year I glued-up the door and made the drawer.  Then lastly I made the moldings.  The top's molding were carved or scraped. I finished it with milk paint and shellac. For the color we decided on Barn Red with a base of black. Black and mustard would be used on some of the moldings.

I really enjoyed the painting process. After applying the black undercoat I started painting the top red.  I stopped at this point because I thought the combination of the red top with the black cabinet looked good.  So I ended up painting the rest of the cabinet red (so it would show through under the black), and then black again. I used the mustard color sparingly as my wife did not like it. However after sanding and rubbing out the finish followed by some shellac she loved it (happy wife is my goal.)  I then turned the knobs, which was the first time I've used my lathe in years (excellent video by Phil Lowe: [size=78%] ([/size].) I used hand made iron hinges from Horton Brass. I moved it to the kitchen this past weekend.

And that brings me back to the Stepback Hutch.  After cleaning up my shop I laid out all of the face frame mortise and tenons.  I then spent some time fine tuning my mortise machine and tenoning jigs. Next up will be a lot of machining!

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: daveknuth on February 14, 2020, 05:23:27 PM
Well done. Very cute.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on February 20, 2020, 03:25:23 PM
I bought a used Delta benchtop mortiser several years ago and have only used it once a couple years ago for doors in our master bathroom cabinets. I’ve chopped mortises before on several chairs, a sofa, and a couple case pieces, but I sure don’t get pleasure from it.  Before starting this project, I got out the machine and played around a little before mortising the face frames.  I found out two things that were important.  The first was I needed to clamp the wider boards to the fence.  Hand pressure wasn’t enough to keep things from moving.  This greatly increased the time (clamp/unclamp for each plunge) but gave much more consistent results. The second thing was tuning up the chisel.  This reduced the force required and kept the chisel from clogging.  I followed most of the tips from a FWW video ( (

With the mortise machine tuned up and the tenon jig set just right I was able to make quick work of the machining.  I decided to start with the upper cabinet. I had left the stiles wider on the outside edge for flush trimming to the cabinet, but because of the side bead I needed to fit them before assembling the face frame. I ended up clamping the face frame in the best position possible, and then pegged the top rail to the cabinet.  This allowed me to dissemble the face frame and trim the sides.  Once glued-up I could relocate it with the pegs.  Before gluing the face frame, I drilled holes for pegs. I did the glue up yesterday afternoon.  That is a pretty big glue surface – all around the cabinet, and then gluing and hammer home fifteen pegs. Of course, the glue was already gelling before I had set the face frame on the cabinet. (It was 21 degrees out and my shop was 63.)   I ended up having to use a lot of clamps to try and pull the face frame tight.  I’m not sure how well this worked, but “it is what it is” (which is what our mold engineer used to say when the parts didn’t meet the drawing!)

After getting all of this done, I realized I forgot to run a side bead on the lower rail. Luckily, my LN 66 beader had the same size cutter. I was able to scrape the bead up to about 2 inches from each end. I used a bench chisel and dental pick and some fine sandpaper to complete the bead.

Someone previously asked about my workbenches.  The one seen in the picture of the completed face frame came from an old childhood friend of my fathers. The oak toolbox (Union) was my dad’s when he was an apprentice at Kodak in the 1950s. The “leather” Gerstner was my Great Grandfather’s (who died the year before I was born.)  When I got it after my dad passed away, I found tools (Starrett and Brown & Sharpe) which had my Great-Great Grandfather’s name etched on them.  Pretty cool!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ttalma on February 21, 2020, 01:53:55 PM
Looking great!
I'm still building pantry shelves out of plywood (UGH!)

Nice bandsaw BTW!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on February 21, 2020, 02:14:05 PM
For reference Tim sold me the bandsaw when he found a bigger one :)

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on February 27, 2020, 08:59:31 AM
When attaching the upper face frame, I glued and pegged it in place. This took some time and the glue gelled quick. For the lower face frame, I clamped it, and after the glue set, I drilled and pegged it. This worked much better as I was able to get glue squeeze out along most of the edge
Once I trimmed the pegs and carved the bead detail into them, I set the top cabinet on the lower cabinet – very exciting!  I think the next step is prep boards for the backs.
On Gene’s hutch he has 3/8” offset doors and used rat tail hinges which get mortised into the side of the door.  The only part of the hinge you see is the “tail”. For the doors he used brass pulls with a latch.  He used the same pulls for the drawers. For the drawers I prefer the early style pull and plate that Bess Naylor used on the step-backs she built.
I think I want to see more of the blacksmith door hinges that you get with an inset mounted door. I found one source I liked ( ( If I do inset doors, I’ll add side beads to the stiles to add a little detail. I was concerned at first that having inset doors would require me to do inset drawers as well but then I noticed several projects which have inset doors with lipped drawers. One was Gene’s last project – a Kas he built for a class at Olde Mill. Gene passed away before the Kas was completed and painted (Bess at Olde Mill did the finishing). I was visiting Gene’s wife when Bess delivered it, and I was able to assist in assembling it.  It wasn’t until this past fall that I was able to locate the blacksmith hardware and mount the door.  There you go – inset door and lipped drawer!
After completing my painted cabinet for the kitchen I’m thinking I may just turn similar knobs for the doors and drawers and use wood latches for the doors.  It would certainly be cheaper, but the brass might look nicer.  Any opinions?
1) Face frame glue-up
2) Face frame assembled and tenon pegged
3) Face Frame glued and clamped to cabinet
4) Upper and Lower cabinets
5) Gene’s door and drawer pulls
6) Bess’s drawer pulls
7) Gene’s Kas
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ttalma on March 04, 2020, 11:38:46 AM
I would use wood with the rat tail hinges. Or brass H hinges with brass pulls. I don't think I have ever seen brass with iron hinges. I'm sure it's out there I just don't recall seeing it!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on March 07, 2020, 10:39:10 AM
I pulled out the remaining four wide boards which were left for the backs. I was able to layout the boards such that I could use three nice clear pieces for the back of the top, and three boards (with a 1 ½” piece glued to one board) with some big knots holes (and some wonderful crotch regions – that will never be seen).  After planing to 7/8”, and then hand planing and cutting the tongue and groove on bottom backs I realize the rebates I cut were ¾” deep (I remember doing that for a reason – meaning not 7/8” deep - but I don’t remember why!)  I took them down to ¾” and hand planed them again.

For the bottom boards I used a Greenfield 7/8 T&G plane (the style with two blades).  I had sharpened this previously but never used it on a project. On the first couple of boards I had a difficult time cutting the tongues because the inside kept jamming with chips. After playing around I found it worked much better if I used short strokes so that the shavings would break apart.  I switched to my Stanley 48 plane for the upper boards. This worked so much better, and now the nice wooden plane with two blades and wedges will probably sit on a shelf from now on.

On the front side of the upper back boards I planed an astragal using a nice plane a friend gave me several years ago.  He had modified it specifically for cutting astragals on tongue and groove boards. My wife questioned why I was adding this detail to the inside of the cabinet. I told her because it was very easy, I have the plane, and because I wanted to!

I decided to hold off on attaching the backs to the cabinets until after I have the drawers fitted.  It just seems this will be easier if I have access from the back.

Yesterday I made decisions on what pieces to use for the drawer fronts.  I previously had marked four potential pieces – all with oval knots in the center where the pull will go. I rough cut these and then went though my remaining smaller boards to get wood for the sides and backs of the drawers. I already had a 14+” wide board long enough to get the drawer bottoms without glue-up.

Gene’s step back was done in pine and painted. The original he had (upper) was walnut. Mine is butternut. I decided to just use butternut because I had enough of it. Therefore, the lower shelves, the backs, and the drawer parts will all be butternut. I’m not sure this would have been done 250 years ago, but then again if they had a butternut tree, and didn’t have pine they might have done the same thing.

1) Upper back boards
2) Lower backs fitted
3) Greenfield Tongue and Groove plane
4) Stanley 48
5) Drawer fronts and drawer bottom boards
I was really hoping writing this "blog" would get more traffic on the Forum.  Doesn't appear to be working...

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on March 23, 2020, 04:13:11 PM
It's been two weeks since my last post.  No replys!

I have so many more stories and pictures to share, but I set the rule at the beginning: New post only after a reply!

Think what you are all missing - drawer construction, back assembly, making and installing the moldings!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ttalma on April 01, 2020, 09:25:31 AM
Sorry I have't been on the forum much! I'll do better, I promise!

I'd come over and look but....

I like the drawer fronts using the knots that would look neat around the pulls. I've seen grain painted furniture doing this, but never the actual wood.

I don't really think like that, I'm not very artistic, and I like straight grain, so that is what I always look for. I would have thrown the knots in the burn box.

Making the back is always satisfying to me. I feel like that's the point where it all comes together! I use my 45 for doing the tongue and groove. I might have to get one of those plane, mostly because I don't have one!
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 03, 2020, 02:01:34 PM
With the back boards fitted, but not installed, I moved on to the drawers.
After sizing the drawer fronts, I realized the hollowed knot region on the backside of one of the boards ended up being located right where the pins would be cut. I replaced it with my 3rd choice and oriented them such that it almost looks like continuous grain.
I roughed formed the ovolo molding on the drawer front using a block plane, rabbet plane, and scraper. Next, I cut the rabbet at the top and side of the drawer front on the table saw and cleaned-up with my rabbet plane.  This is a “German” style drawer with the bottom trenailed, so I held off on the bottom rabbet until I had planed the bottom board.
I cut the tails on the sides first and then the half-blind pins.  A couple years ago I came across a simple jig that helps greatly for laying out dovetails.  I think it was from a Fine Woodworking e-mail I received. Just a scrap piece of plywood and a small scrap of wood! This simple jig makes layout so much easier by making alignment a breeze.
I laid out the pins on both backs.  After cutting the first set I found out I had laid the pins out on the wrong side of the board. I found a nice replacement piece in my cut-off pile. But by the time I had planed the bow out of the board it was too thin.  For the third try I wanted to keep the same planer set-up for the final thickness, and so pulled out my old Ryobi AP-10 for the initial planing and finished with a final pass through my bigger planer. Oh, and then I realized I had changed the bigger planer to the thinner thickness.  So now I had one back with the pins flipped, and two backs which were too thin! But the fourth one came out nice!  I put all the drawer parts in the kitchen oven to heat them up before glue-up.  This worked great.
I then thickness planed the bottom board and cut the rabbet in the drawer fronts. I used white oak for the trenails because I was concerned 1/8” square butternut pegs might crush. Drawers complete!
Leaving the backs off made installation of the drawer guides much easier.  I was able to clamp the guides from the back which made drawer fitting simple.  I planed the side of the guides to get just the right clearance. The guides are held with some glue – mainly at the front.
Next up was installing the back boards.  I used 3/8” pegs and glue. I clamped the boards in position and pre-drilled the peg holes.  Glue-up was easy!
Coming up next time: moldings.  But first pictures:
1) CAD picture of drawer
2) Dovetail allignment jig
3) Dovetail layout
4) Drawer parts
5) Trenails
6 & 7) Drawers done
8) Back glued and pegged
9) Moldings next
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 03, 2020, 02:04:20 PM
I tried three times to post the pictures for the previous post and each time it crashed.  Thankfully I've been doing the writing in Word as this has happened before.  So let's try posting three at a time.

1) CAD picture of drawer
2) Dovetail allignment jig
3) Dovetail layout
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 03, 2020, 02:05:44 PM
Let's see if the rest will post:

4) Drawer parts
5) Trenails
6 & 7) Drawers done
8) Back glued and pegged
9) Moldings next
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: daveknuth on April 04, 2020, 02:19:44 PM
I like the dovetail jig. I might try it. Your tails look really clean. How were they done?
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 04, 2020, 04:35:09 PM

For the tails, I layout the spacing on the end grain with a knife and mark the base line with a knife. For small boards like these I position the board at the dovetail angle and cut on the vertical. I do half the cuts from one side, then flip the board for the other half. This way I can always register my fingernail in the knife line and cut on the waste side. I never mark the dovetail angle - just by eye. For the tails the "waste side" really doesn't matter, but I do it that way to be consistent for when I cut the pins. I then chisel out the waste. That's it, nothing special...

However, I will share this. Last summer I read a blog by Chris Schwarz about dovetail cutting and have since adopted this method with great results. It really made a difference in getting the cuts straight and perpendicular to the face of the board.  Start with a shallow cut on the end grain to guide the saw. Then start to tip the saw so it is mainly cutting on the facing side until it's at the baseline - in effect the cut will be from the baseline on the face to the top edge of the back. This forms a kerf which controls the saw when tipping in the other direction to cut the back side.  I like to make all of the shallow end grain cuts first. I will mark a pencil line on the face of the board when cutting the pins as a guide. (
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ttalma on April 13, 2020, 09:49:46 AM
Looking great. I really like the knots in the drawer fronts. I like the dovetail alignment jig as well. I'll have to try that. I've use a method Jeff Headley taught, to stick a small piece of a drawer bottom in the drawer groove, and that works well also, but sometimes is hard to get to stay in place while setting everything up.

Why did you heat the drawer parts up? I've never heard of doing this, and I always use hot hide glue, and don't really see how it helps. When gluing up I do the following,

1. Get clamps, glue, drawer, and everything ready
2. Assemble drawer dry
3. Remove one side
4. Slather glue on the pegs and tails
5. press side in to place
6. repeat for other side
7. Slide bottom in
8. Clamp together, (And square if necessary, but drawer bottom normally does that).

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 14, 2020, 05:05:56 PM

The German style drawers have no bottom groove, so Jeff's method wouldn't work.  I've done drawers with the bottom groove and used the bottom as an alignment guide - works great as well. However, the FWW jig can work on pretty much any dovetail. Another thing I do is prep the boards the same width (even though the sides are not as wide as the front, and the back is not as wide as the sides.) I feel this makes layout easier.  I’ll rip to final width after dry assembling the drawer.

I put the drawer parts in the oven to warm them to keep the glue from gelling so fast.  Not really required for the drawers as they went together fast, but I did it anyway. A lot less clamp force is required to pull the joints tight.

Now on to the moldings.

The first molding I made was the cove molding for under the top of the bottom cabinet.  This required 1" square wood.  For layout, I 3D printed templates (my son gave me a 3D printer for Christmas, and I’ve found a lot of uses for it in the shop – templates, chisel guards, knobs, hinge samples, etc.)  They worked great, and I think I’ll be printing templates in the future! I made a couple rips on the table saw to remove the center of the cove, and then a round (#10 I think) to form the cove. I finished with a scraper I ground.  This was an easy molding, and a good one to start off with to build my confidence.

The next molding was for the base skirt. For this one I made two table saw cuts to start the fillets, and then I used a 45° bit at the router table to remove most of remaining wood.  A mix of a rabbet plane and hollow plane followed by a cabinet scraper finish the job.  I then spent some time cutting out the bracket feet detail. For the long internal rip cut on the front I used the table saw. The straight sections on the sides were too short to do on the table saw, so I rough cut them on the bandsaw and used a wide chisel to complete.

I cut the miters on my chop saw and used a wide pairing chisel (freshly sharpened) to adjust. My installation method is as follows: I cut the side pieces miters (keeping the boards long) and then one of the front miters. After positioning one side and the front I drilled a 1/8” hole in the middle of the front molding.  I use a drill bit or transfer punch in this hole to lock the position of the front piece so I can scribe the side of the cabinet on it. I make the scribe line using a block plane blade with a block of wood attached with carpet tape as a handle!

For the skirt molding I clamped a straight edge to the cabinet as a reference for the top surface of the molding.  I then glued the front and sides using clamps.  The moldings couldn’t shift during glue-up due to the pinned hole. After removing the clamps, I then drilled holes for the 3/8” pegs (one which eliminates the 1/8” hole. All the pegs later had to be carved to the molding profile – not hard to do in the soft Butternut.

Next, I’ll discuss the upper moldings.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 14, 2020, 05:14:06 PM

Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 14, 2020, 05:16:51 PM
And some more....
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: macchips4 on April 15, 2020, 09:21:48 AM
Very nice Tom
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ttalma on April 16, 2020, 09:46:53 AM
Looking real good. I'd better not show this to Melissa!

For the templates, you could print a little lip on the ends so that it has a place to register against the wood.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 17, 2020, 09:12:17 AM
I like the concept of printing the templates with ledges to locate on the ends of the board.  To work I would need to have the edge on both sides of the template so I could flip it to mark both ends of the board. Good idea – Thanks!
I made all the molding for the upper and lower cabinets before starting assembly.  I had to get a picture of all of them together!
After completing the lower two moldings I made the bolection molding.  My painted pine cabinet had a similar molding which I scraped.  Unfortunately, this molding was a little larger, and so I considered making a new scraper.  It was then I realized I could make this with a side-bead and a round (but I ended up using a cove cutter at the router table).
The crown molding came next. This molding was the most complex.  I started by using the chamfer bit at the router table to form the center V. I then made multiple cuts on the table saw to remove most of the wood from the cove. I finished the cove using a #10 round and a scraper I ground to the shape. The round portion was then formed with a block plane, rabbet plane and scrapers. All that was left was to cut the two bevels.  This presented a predicament.  The angles were around 42° and 48°.  The 42° could be easily cut on the table saw.  The 48° would require running the board vertical against the fence and didn’t seem safe.  I ended up cutting the 48° at 45° and then hand planed to get the 48°.
The cap molding was easy. A quick run past the chamfer bit at the router table and a couple passes with a block plane and scraper.
I started by installing the cap molding.  I couldn’t find any evidence on Gene’s cabinet of pegs on the upper moldings, and I had a picture of the top of the cabinet which showed square cut nails, so I used Tremont cut nails to install all the moldings. To keep the cantilever ends aligned while gluing I used clamping blocks with adhesive sandpaper applied so they wouldn’t slip. A lot of clamps were involved but I could not be happier with the results.
I lost sleep over the compound miter cut on the crown molding (seriously I had dreams about it.)  I’ve installed lots of crown molding in our house and have made my share of cuts which were wrong.  I set up my chop saw for crown molding and used cut-offs from the ceiling crown to make practice cuts.  I laid these on the cabinet to be sure I had the layout correct. I made my side cuts and one front cut like I did on the base moldings. I marked the remaining cut using my block plane blade. I worked my way to a perfect fit by making several cuts. I repositioned the molding each time by changing a feeler gage next to my stop block.  Of course, there are a lot of errors built up in this cut due to the compound angle, and the fact the cabinet side might not be at a perfect right angle to the front.  To adjust the side piece miters I used carbon paper to look for contact points, and my big paring chisel to shave away material.
After these two moldings were done the bolection was a breeze.  I set all the nails and filled them with hide glue and fine butternut filings.
Next up: Doors.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 17, 2020, 09:17:01 AM
More pictures:
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on April 17, 2020, 09:18:09 AM
And still more including my cut-off sample.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: daveknuth on April 18, 2020, 09:12:53 PM
I like the clamp set up to pull the mitre joint together.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: ttalma on April 20, 2020, 01:28:32 PM
Looks great. Nice tight miters. I normally do a few test cuts and get it real close. The on the returns I use a shooting board to adjust. But it looks like you would have needed a donkey ear for the molding that size.
Title: Re: Worm holes in Butternut
Post by: Tom M on July 16, 2020, 09:51:40 AM
Over the last couple months, I have been able to get into my shop here and there to work on the doors.  I held off for a while as I was trying to find a source for the hinges.  I found a couple places online but never got responses from e-mails and phone calls.  I finally found someone who went so far as to make a prototype and give me a quote, but he has not responded to repeated e-mails in over two months.  I found someone else who hopefully will be getting me a quote this week.

I decided to move forward with the doors as over-lap which means the hinge will require a 5/16” offset.

Even though I modeled the mortise and tenon joint in 3D, I still had a hard time figuring out the order of the build.  I had done this joint on my spice box-on-frame, but that was a long time ago.  I decided to grow the joint on my 3D printer, so I had pieces to hold in my hand for reference.  This worked great and allowed me to break the process down.  It is easy to do if you have done all the layout ahead of time with a knife.

Back in late April I had cut out all the rails and stiles and joined a face on each.  They sat for several weeks and were still flat, so I ran them through my planer (alternating sides) and then final sized them.

I had left my mortiser and tenon jig set-up from the face frame, so cutting these went quickly. I had noticed on the face frame some inconsistent results with the mortise, and so this time I brought a 6” quick release clamp to hold the boards to the fence.  Well worth the extra time of clamping and un-clamping for each plunge.  These were all through mortises which had to be cut from both sides.

I knifed and sawed the tenon shoulder, and then cut the cheeks on my table saw.  I used the band saw to cut the width of the tenons and then a handsaw to remove the waste – followed with a chisel to pare to the knife line.  I then used a shoulder plane to take a little off the tenons for a fit I could tap home by hand.

The next step was to form the molding detail on the inside edge of the door.  I could have used my Stanley 78 and a hollow plane to form this feature, but I decided to use my router table.  When I’ve done copied joints in the past, I spent a lot of time fitting the joint.  I believe this was mainly due to the inconsistent molding profiles. In this case four doors mean sixteen pieces need to be molded.  Half of these are only about 10” long. After routing I spent a couple hours paring away wood and coping the rails. This was relaxing work.

Every frame went together with a nice tight fit on the first try!

Next up: Raised Panels