Outlining the lock faceplate
Lay the chest on its front panel and position the lock face-down midway between the sides and flush with the top edge of the panel. Trace the outline of the faceplate (above), then extend the lines onto the top edge of the panel.
Routing the lock mortise
This is one of the rare instances in which the router is used to make a freehand cut. Care and patience are required. Use a wood chisel to first cut a shallow mortise for the faceplate lip in the top edge of the front panel. Next, install a straight bit in your router, set the cutting depth to the thickness of the faceplate, and cut a mortise inside the marked outline. Start by guiding the tool in a clockwise direction to cut the outside edges of the mortise; clear out the remaining waste by feeding the tool against the direction of bit rotation. Use the chisel to square the corners and pare to the line. Measure the distance between the edges of the faceplate and the lock housing and transfer the measurement to the mortise. Adjust the router’s cutting depth to the thickness of the housing and cut the final mortise deft). Use the chisel to square any corners. Test-fit the lock in the cavity and use the chisel to deepen or widen any of the mortises, if necessary.
3 Cutting the keyhole
Set the lock in the mortise and mark the location of the keyhole. Cut the opening as you would for an armoire lock (page 83), drilling one hole for the key shaft and another for the key bit. Use a small file to join the two holes (right).
Installing the escutcheon
Position the escutcheon on the front panel of the chest, aligning its opening over the keyhole. Use a strip of masking tape to hold the hardware in place while you start the nails in their holes. To protect your fingers when driving each nail flush, grip the nail shaft with needle-nose pliers (left).
6 Installing the strike plate
Complete the lock installation by mounting the strike plate to the top of the chest. Slip the screws through their holes in the plate and set the plate on top of the lock. Turn the key until the lock engages with the strike plate, then add a strip of masking tape to hold the plate firmly in place. Slowly close the top of the chest (right) until its underside touches the screws. Bore a pilot hole at each mark left by the screw tips and attach the strike plate to the top.
Mounting the lock
Once the keyhole is cut, lay the chest on its front panel again and set the lock in its mortise. Mark the screw holes on the panel, remove the lock, and bore pilot holes. Set the lock in place again and fasten it to the chest, driving the screw heads flush with the faceplate (left).
2 Mounting the handles
Install a straight bit in your router, set the cutting depth to the thickness of the mounting plate, and cut a mortise inside the marked outline as you would for a lock (page 100). Next, measure the distance between the edges of the mounting plate and the bowl-shaped housing and transfer the measurement to the mortise. Adjust the router’s cutting depth to the thickness of the housing and cut the deeper mortise. Test-fit the handle in the cavity and use a wood chisel to pare any remaining waste wood from the mortises (far left). Once the mounting plate rests flush with the outside face of the side panel, mark the screw holes, remove the handle, and bore a pilot hole at each mark. Set the handle in place again and fasten it to the chest (near left). Repeat the procedure for the other handle.
Commercial banding is available in a variety of designs to complement works ranging from a Welsh dresser to a boardroom table. Here, it adds a decorative touch to the top of a blanket chest. Inlay materials can be metal, wood veneer, or solid hardwood.
Grooves for inlay are cut with a router fitted with a straight bit the same width as the inlay. If you are installing shop-made inlay, set the cutting depth slightly shallower than the thickness of the strips; the inlay will be sanded flush (step 3). For commercial banding, which is very thin, make the cutting depth equal to the inlay thickness to minimize sanding. Outline the groove on the top with a pencil; it should be equidistant from the edges. Rout the four sides of the groove individually, guiding the tool with an L-shaped edge guide and stop blocks. To set up the guides, align the bit with the cutting line, mea
sure the distance between the router base plate and the edge of the top, and cut the edge guide and stop blocks to that width. Screw a fence to each piece so it can be positioned square to the edges of the top. For each cut, clamp the guide along the edge you will be cutting and fasten a stop block at each end. Holding the router’s base plate against the edge guide and one stop block, turn on the tool and plunge the bit into the stock. Feed the bit (above) until the base plate contacts the other stop block. Once all the cuts are made, square the corners with a chisel.
2 Setting the inlay in the groove
Cut the inlay to length to fit in the groove, using your table saw for shop – made inlay, or a wood chisel for commercial banding. For the rectangular groove shown, make 45° miter cuts at the ends of the inlay pieces. Cut and test-fit one piece at a time, then spread a little glue on the underside of the inlay and insert it in the slot (right), tapping the strip gently with a wooden mallet. Commercial banding should be held in place with masking tape until the adhesive cures.
Trimming the inlay
Once the glue has dried, sand the top to remove any excess adhesive and bring the inlay perfectly flush with the surface of the wood. For shop-made inlay, use a belt sander fitted with a 120-grit belt. Move the sander forward along one inlay piece (left) and pull the sander back when you reach the end of the strip, overlapping the first pass by one-half the width of the belt. Continue until the surfaces of the inlay and the top are flush, then move on to the other strips. Repeat the process with a finer belt (150- or 180-grit) to smooth the inlay and the surrounding surface. Sand commercial banding by hand with a sanding block. Be careful: Some modern banding is less than /20 inch thick.