Подпись: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.



Marking the pins in the sides

Подпись: Dovetail equare Подпись: Shoulder lineOnce you have glued up the panels and cut them to the right size, mark their out­side faces with an X. Secure one of the side panels upright in a vise, then set a cutting gauge to about two-thirds the thickness of the sides and mark a line across the end to indicate the end of the tails. The line should be closer to the outside than the inside face of the panel. Adjust the cutting gauge to the stock thickness and scribe a line on the inside face of the side to mark the shoulder line of the tails. Next, use a dovetail square to outline the pins on the ends of the side; the wide part of the pins should be on the inside face of the panel (left). There are no strict guidelines for spacing dovetail pins, but for stock of the dimensions provided on page 108, їй-inch evenly spaced pins with %-inch tails and a half-pin at each edge will make for a strong and attractive joint. To complete the marking, extend the lines on the panel end to the shoulder line on its inside face. Mark the waste sections with Xs as you go.

MAKING THE DESK UNIT2 Cutting the pins

MAKING THE DESK UNITLeaving the side panel in the vise, cut along the edges of the pins with a dovetail saw (left), working your way from one panel edge to the other. (Some wood­workers prefer to cut all the right-hand edges first, then all the left-hand edges.) Hold the panel steady and align the saw blade just to the waste side of the cutting line; angle the saw toward the waste to avoid cutting into the pins. Use smooth, even strokes, allowing the saw to cut on the push stroke. Continue the cut just to the shoulder line, then repeat to saw the pins at the other end of the panel.


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Guide board


Chiseling out the waste

Set the panel inside-face up on a work suface and clamp a guide board to it, aligning its edge with the waste side of the shoulder line. Starting at one edge of the stock, hold the flat side of a chisel against the guide block; the blade should be no wider than the narrowest part of the waste section. With the chisel perpendicular to the face of the board, strike the handle with a wooden mallet, making a Vs-inch-deep cut into the waste (above). Then hold the chisel bevel up and square to the end of the board about Vs inch below the top surface and peel
away a thin layer of waste. Continue until you reach the scribed line on the end of the board, then repeat the process with the remaining waste sections. Pare away any excess waste from between the pins, completing work on one waste section before moving to the next. Press the flat side of the chisel against the bottom of the section with the thumb of your left hand; with your right hand, push the chisel toward the shoulder line, shav­ing away the last slivers of waste (inset). Then pare away any waste from the sides of the pins.

MAKING THE DESK UNITПодпись: Side panelПодпись: Top panelMAKING THE DESK UNIT

4 Laying out the tails

Set the top panel outside-face down on the work surface and scribe a shoulder line the thickness of the stock from the end of the workpiece. Secure a side pan­el in a handscrew, then hold the panel top-end down with its inside face aligned with the line on the top panel. Making cer­tain that the straight edges of the boards are flush, clamp the handscrew to the bench. Outline the tails with a pencil (right), then extend the lines on the panel end using a try square. Mark all the waste section with Xs.


Cutting the tails

Use a dovetail saw to cut the tails the same way you sawed the pins (step 2). Angling the board, as shown at left, rather than the saw, makes for easier, more accu­rate, cutting. Secure the panel so the right-hand edges of the tails are vertical. Saw smoothly and evenly along the edges of the tails, stopping at the shoulder line. Reposition the panel in the vise to cut the left-hand edges. Once all the saw cuts have been made, remove the waste with a chisel as in step 3. To avoid splitting the tails, remove about half the waste, then turn the panel over to chisel out the remaining waste.


Edge guide





Rabbet for back panel



Wood pad



1 Dadoing the carcase sides

Use a router to cut [4] [5]/e-inch-wide, Уіб-inch-deep rabbets around the back edge of the carcase to accommodate the back. Then prepare the sides for the dust frames. The ends of the frames fit into stopped dadoes in the sides. To cut the dadoes, install a %-inch straight bit in your router, set the cutting depth to / inch, and secure one of the side pan­els inside-face up to a work surface. Refer to the anatomy illustration on page 106 and the drawer measurements on page 108 to outline the dadoes on the stock, then clamp an edge guide to the panel so the bit will be centered on the first marked line. Also clamp a stop block along the front edge of the panel so the dado will stop 2 inches short of the edge. For each dust frame, rout a stopped dado from the back edge of the side panel (above), stopping when the router base plate contacts the stop block. Square the ends of the dado with a chisel.



Installing the drawer divider and loper housings

Cut the loper housings to size (page 108), using a sliding dovetail to add a piece to the front end of each one to hide the end grain. Then rout the ^-inch-wide slots in the hous­ings for the loper dowels. Make the L-shaped drawer divider and attach it to the cross rail of the middle dust frame with a biscuit joint (above, left). Cut another biscuit slot into the muntin and a matching slot in the top dust frame above it.

Next, rout grooves into the underside of the top panel and top face of the uppermost dust frame to accommodate the loper housings. Spread glue in the slots and grooves, then fit the dust frames together, using clamps to secure the drawer divider, the loper housings, and the frames in place. Protect the stock with wood pads and use a try square to check that the assembly is square (above, right).



3 Clamping the assembly

Cut the back panel to fit into the rab­bets in the carcase and set it in place; the panel will help keep the assembly square as you tighten the clamps. Protecting the stock with long wood pads, install four clamps across the front of the assembly; align the bars with the dust frames and top panel of the drawer unit. Repeat the process across the back of the carcase (right). To apply pressure to the center of the top panel, place a caul between the clamps with a shim in the middle. Tighten the clamps evenly a little at a time.


Attaching the top and bottom of the desk unit

Test-fit the dovetails joining the top and bottom panels of the desk unit to the sides; correct any overly tight joints by par­ing away waste wood with a chisel. Then spread glue on the contacting surfaces and tap the panels in place using a dead-blow hammer and a wood block to distribute the pressure (left). The joints should be snug enough to make clamping unnecessary.

5 Installing the back panel

Once the glue has cured, remove the clamps and fix the back panel to the rab­bets around its perimeter, driving a finish­ing nail every 6 inches. For extra rigidity, also nail the panel to the dust frames and top panel of the drawer unit. Use a tape measure to make sure you drive the nails at the correct locations—centered on the dust frames and panel (right).


MAKING THE DESK UNITFitting the lopers in place

Make loper blanks as you did the housings (page 113), gluing a long-grain piece to the front end with a sliding dovetail. Then slide your blanks into their slots between the housings and the side panels, and mark them flush with the front edge of the top panel of the drawer unit; also mark the location of the housing slots on the lopers. Cut the lopers to length and drill a dowel hole into each one in line with the slot outline; locate the hole so the front edge of the fall-front will project about 2 to 3 inches beyond the loper when it is fully extended (left). Cut the dowels 1/ inches long, then spread glue in the dowel holes. Slide the lopers into their slots and tap the dowels in place.

Updated: March 15, 2016 — 11:25 am