An escutcheon is fastened to one of the doors of the bookcase shown at left. On this piece, the key and escutcheons are purely decorative. The doors are actually held shut by spring-loaded catches installed on the inside faces of the stiles near the bottom of the doors.
Cutting the tenon in the rails
Start making the frame-and-panel doors of the bookcase by cutting blind tenons at the ends of all the rails. To do the job on your table saw, install a dado head slightly wider than the tenon length. Attach an auxiliary wood fence and notch it by raising the dado head into it. Set the width of cut equal to the tenon length and adjust the cutting height to about one-third the thickness of the stock... >
PREPARING THE SIDE PANELS FOR ADJUSTABLE SHELVING
Drilling holes for shelf supports
Cut the side panels of the bookcase to width and length, then set them inside-face up on a work surface. The commercial jig shown above enables you to bore two parallel rows of holes in the side panels at 1-inch intervals and ensures that corresponding holes will be perfectly aligned. Clamp the jig to the edges of one panel; the holes can be any distance from the panel edges, but about 2 inches in would be best for the secretary. Fit an electric drill with a bit the same diameter as the sleeves >
and install a stop collar to mark the drilling depth equal to the sleeve length...
Once the frame for the fall-front has been assembled and hinged to the desk unit, the leather top can be glued to the inside face. The leather should be cut slightly larger than the recess. Use contact cement, hide glue, or thick wallpaper paste to attach the material to the surface. Trim it to size with a craft knife, then smooth it down with a hand roller, as shown at left. The leather should be treated with glycerine saddle soap once a year.
Fall-front frame stock
Shaping the frame edges
Cut the four frame pieces for the fall-front from a single board. But before making these cuts, shape one edge of the board... >
The pigeonhole unit is made to fit between the tops of the desk and drawer sections of the secretary. Molding can be tacked in place to hide the gap between the two carcases, as shown at left. You can also omit the molding, leaving the pigeonhole unit removable.
MAKING THE UNIT
Rough-cutting the arches
Referring to the anatomy illustration of the pigeonhole unit (page 108), outline the shape of the arches on a piece of %-inch plywood, cut it out, and smooth the edges to fashion a template that you will use to make a routing jig (step 2). Before assembling the jig, use the template to outline six copies of the shape on your arch stock. Cut out the arches to within H inch of your cutting lines using the band saw... >
The desk unit drawers are assembled with through dovetails, then a false front is glued to the drawer front to conceal the end grain of the tails. The chamfer cut around the perimeter of the false front shown above recalls the traditional practice of beveling the ends and edges of veneered drawer fronts, which prevented the veneer from being torn off when the drawer was opened and closed.
GLUING UP THE DRAWERS
Routing the through dovetail joints
Size the drawer parts to fit their openings in the desk unit, then join the boards with dovetails, cutting the pins in the front and back of the drawer, and the tails in the sides... >
The carcases of the desk unit and bookcase form the two main parts of the secretary. In keeping with the twin requirements of elegance and usefulness, both pieces are assembled with one of the most attractive—and sturdy—joints available to the woodworker: the halfblind dovetail. The steps shown below and on the following pages feature the connection between the top and sides of the desk unit; but the same procedures apply to the joints at the bottom of the both the desk and bookcase units.
Once the dovetails have been cut, you can move on to making the dust frames (page 112) and the loper housings. The carcase is then assembled (page 113) and the back panel is nailed in place (page 115). The final step, once the glue has cured, is installing the lopers.
CUTTING HALF-BLIND DOVETAILS >
Joined to sides with half-blind dovetails
Top of drawer section
Front edge is hinged to fall-front; ends fit into groove in carcase sides
Dust frame (page 112)
Supports drawer. Assembled with plate joints; side pieces fit into grooves in carcase sides
Loper (page 115)
Supports fall-front when in down position. Dowel glued into inside face slides in slot in loper housing; piece joined to front end with sliding dovetail conceals end grain
Features slot that guides loper; top edge fits into groove in underside of drawer section top
he major components of the Queen Anne secretary are shown in exploded form in this section... >
The secretary, a bookcase and slant-top desk combination, evolved in Britain and America in the 18th Century and has been popular ever since. By setting a bookcase atop a slant-top desk, the secretary embodies the close relationship between books and writing. Until the 19th Century, books were an expensive and sometimes rare commodity to be treasured.
A secretary offered an ideal way to keep a precious collection safely behind glass, only an arm’s reach away. The Queen Anne version featured in this chapter is more elegant than the stolid furniture that hallmarked the 17th Century, but it is less ornate than some of the incarnations that followed it, such as Chippendale-style secretaries.
The desk half of the piece has several useful features... >
The traditional finish for Windsor chairs is milk paint, which is thin enough to allow wood grain to show through. You can buy the paint in powdered form and mix it with water or make your own by following the recipe presented below. The blend provided was used in colonial times as an interior wall paint, which yielded a flat, lusterless finish that can be stained, oiled, or waxed once the surface is dry. To produce a semigloss sheen, egg whites can be added to the recipe. Their use has a long tradition in painting; egg tempera paints were used by some of the great Renaissance masters.
The ability of milk paint to produce a finish that is both durable and moisture-resistant is somewhat of a mystery, but it is known that a chemical reaction >
occurs between the lactic acid in the mi...
Once the stretchers have been glued to the legs and the legs fixed to the seat, it is time to trim the legs to the same length. The technique shown above involves cutting four wood blocks from a single board, then notching one of them to fit around a leg. Place the block around the first leg to be cut, then, holding the leg firmly with one hand, cut it to length with a flush-cutting saw. Once the first leg is trimmed, remove the notched block and replace it with one of the remaining blocks. Position the notched piece around the next leg and cut it. Continue in the same way until all four legs are cut.
Although the stretchers are glued to the legs and the legs are glued to the seat in separate steps, these procedures must be completed in quick succession for the chair to be symmetrical and... >