MAKING THE FALL-FRONTOnce 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. Install a piloted 45° chamfering bit in your router, mount the tool in a table, and adjust the height of the bit so it will cut a %-inch-wide bevel into the stock. Align the fence with the bit
pilot bearing and clamp two featherboards to the fence, one on each side of the bit, to support the workpiece. Feed the stock face down (above), finishing the pass with a push stick. (In the illustration, the featherboard on the outfeed side of the fence has been removed for clarity.)

2 Preparing the frame for the panel



The fall-front panel sits in a groove cut around the inside edges of the frame. Install a piloted three-wing slotting cutter in the router and align the fence with the bit’s pilot bearing. Adjust the bit height so the top edge of the cutter is centered on the edge of the stock. Since the groove will have to accommodate both the panel and the veneer glued to it, you will need at least two passes to rout a sufficiently wide groove. Feed the stock as in step 1, riding the unchamfered edge along the fence; finish the pass with a push stick. Then turn over the workpiece and repeat to widen the groove (right). Now, cut the four frame pieces to length, mitering the ends. Once the veneered panel is ready, the frame will be assembled using plate joints. (The finished frame, along with the veneered panel, is shown on page 104.)

1 Creating the veneer pattern

Cover the outside face of the full-front panel with veneer. You can buy ready – matched sheets and glue them down as-is or make your own match, referring to one of the patterns illustrated on page 122; the secretary featured in this chapter uses a butt-and-book match. To apply more than one sheet of veneer to a panel face with a veneer press (page 124), tape the sheets together and glue them down as a unit. Start by aligning the sheets edge to edge on a work surface, good-side up, to produce a visually interesting pattern. The combined length and width of the veneer should equal the dimensions of the panel. Once you have a satisfactory arrangement, tape the sheets together using veneer tape (left).



Setting up a vacuum press

Подпись: CaulПодпись: VeneerПодпись: SubstrateПодпись: PlatenMAKING THE FALL-FRONTFeaturing a sealed vacuum bag and a

5- cfm (cubic feet per minute) vacuum pump, the press shown in step 3 can exert pressure greater than 1,000 pounds per square foot. The press works by with­drawing most of the air from the bag; the resulting outside air pressure secures the veneer. To set up the press, cut the platen and caul to the same size as your sub­strate panel (right). The platen should be made from medium-density fiberboard or particleboard at least % inch thick. Cut the caul from any type of manufactured board (other than plywood) at least /г inch thick. To prepare the platen, round over its corners to avoid tearing the bag, then cut a grid of grooves Vs inch deep and wide across its surface, spaced 4 to 6 inches apart. Finally, bore a %-inch hole 2 inches from one end of the platen and centered between its edges. Slip the sleeve supplied with the press into the hole. The sleeve will ensure a tight con­nection with the vacuum hose.



Veneering the panel

Use the vacuum press to glue the veneer down to the panel, following the manufacturer’s instructions. For the mod­el shown, insert the hose into the nipple in the bottom of the press bag. Then place the platen in the bag and slide the nip­ple into the platen sleeve. Set the substrate panel on a work surface, apply the glue, and lay the veneer tape-side up on
the substrate. Place a piece of wax paper over the veneer, rest the caul on top, and place the assembly atop the platen. Seal the bag, turn on the pump and leave the assembly under pressure for the recommended length of time (above). Most vacuum presses will automatically shut off when the appro­priate pressure has been reached.


MAKING THE FALL-FRONT Assembling the fall-front

Once the veneer has been secured, remove the tape and gently sand surfaces that will be difficult to reach after the frame is glued together. Ready the frame pieces for plate joints (page 109), apply­ing the glue and wood biscuits at the mitered end of the boards. Do not insert any adhesive in the panel grooves; the panel must be free to move. To prevent the wood biscuits from expanding before everything is put together, assemble the frame as quickly as possible, fitting the frames pieces to the panel (right). With wood pads protecting the frame, secure the plate joints with bar clamps.



Made from plywood, hardwood, and six 9-inch-long press screws, the inex­pensive shop-built veneer press shown below will work as well as a commer­cial model. The dimensions provided in the illustration will yield a press capable of veneering panels up to 16 by 29Уг inches.

Start by cutting the rails and stiles from hardwood. Bore three equidis­tant holes through the middle of each top rail, sized slightly larger than the diameter of the press screw collars you will be using. Next, join the rails and stiles into two rectangular frames.

The press in the illustration is assem­bled with open mortise-and-tenon joints (Inset), but through dovetails can also be used. Whichever joinery method you use, reinforce each joint with glue and three screws.

Now cut the pieces for the base and caul to size. Both are made from two pieces of %-inch plywood face-glued and screwed together. To assemble the press, set the two frames on their sides on a work surface and screw the base to the bottom rails, driving the fasteners from the bottom of the rails. Attach the press screws to the top rails by removing the swivel heads and
collars, then tapping the collars into the holes in the top rails from under­neath. Slip the threaded sections into the collars and reattach them to the swivel heads.

To use the press, apply the glue and lay the veneer tape-side up on the substrate. Set the panel on the base of the press, veneered-face down with a strip of wax paper between the veneer and the base. Starting in the middle of the panel to prevent adhesive from becoming trapped, tighten the press clamps one at a time until a thin glue bead squeezes out from under the panel.





VA" x 3" x 1&/"


5tie VA" x3" x 12"


Open mortise – and-tenon joint



VA" x 16" x 29’A"




Подпись: LoperMAKING THE FALL-FRONTПодпись: Top frame piece of fall-front1 Making the hinge mortises

Use your table saw to cut a %-inch – wide rabbet [page 59) along the sides of the frame. Begin with a shallow depth of cut, increasing the depth by Its inch with each pass until the fall-front’s bottom edge is Уіб inch above the top of the draw­er unit when the fall-front is in position. Once you are satisfied with the fit, lay the fall-front veneer-face down on the lop – ers and butt the bottom edge against the top of the drawer section. Position and outline the three hinges on the pieces—one in the middle and one each near the sides—centering the hinge pin on the seam between the fall-front and the carcase. To cut the hinge mortises, install a У-inch straight bit in your router, set the cutting depth to the hinge leaf thickness, and cut out the waste inside the outline. Use a chisel, a carving gouge, and a wooden mallet to pare to the line (left). Test-fit the hinges in their mortises and use the chisel to deepen or widen any of the recesses, if necessary.


MAKING THE FALL-FRONT1 Outlining the lock faceplate

Open the fall-front to its down posi­tion and place the lock face down on the top frame piece so the key shaft will be centered between the sides; the lock should also be flush with the top edge of the panel. If the key shaft is off-center, as is the case with the lock shown, you will need to use a tape measure and a try square to mark the middle of the fall-front and align the key shaft with it (left). Drill the hole for the key shaft and insert the shaft through the hole. Once the lock is properly positioned, trace the outline of the lock faceplate, then extend the lines onto the top edge of the fall-front.




Routing the lock mortise

Start by using a chisel to cut a shallow mortise for the faceplate lip in the top edge of the fall-front. Next, install a straight bit in your router, set the cutting depth to the face­plate thickness, and cut a mortise within the marked outline. Use the chisel to square the corners and pare to the line. To cut the mortise for the lock housing, measure the distance between the edges of the faceplate and the housing, and trans­fer your measurement to the mortise. Then use a carving gouge to cut the final mortise (above). Test-fit the lock in the cavity and use the chisel or gouge to deepen or widen any of the mortises, if necessary. Finally, screw the lock in place.

Installing the strike plate

Fit the key into the lock. To locate the strike plate for the bolt, turn the key to extend the bolt and use a pencil to coat the end of the bolt with graphite. Retract the bolt and swing the fall-front to the closed position. Extend the bolt against the underside of the carcase top to mark its location. Also extend the bolt against the edge of the top panel and mark its sides on the top (above). Position the strike plate on the carcase top, centering its opening on the pencil marks. Outline the plate, then cut a shallow recess for it and a deeper mortise for the bolt. Finally, mark the plate’s screw holes, bore a pilot hole at each mark, and fasten the plate in position.

MAKING THE FALL-FRONTThe bottom of the secretary’s desk unit sits on a base supported by bracket feet at each corner. The bottom edges of the carcase are concealed by molding, which is attached to the base, but not glued to the carcase. This allows the panels of the desk unit to move with changes in humidity with­out damaging the molding.
















1 Routing the molding

Подпись: FeatherboardПодпись: Roman ogeeMAKING THE FALL-FRONTCut a board longer and wider than you will need for the three pieces of molding. Install a Roman ogee bit (inset) in your router and mount the tool in a table. Align the bit’s pilot bearing with the fence and adjust the cutting height to leave a flat lip no more than % inch thick on the edge of the stock above the molding. Mount two featherboards on the fence and one on the table to secure the workpiece. (In this illustration, the featherboard on the out – feed side of the fence has been removed for clarity.) Turn on the tool and feed the stock (right). To complete the pass, move to the outfeed side of the table and pull the stock through the end of the cut. Make several passes, increasing the width of cut ‘/a inch at a time. Rip the molding strips from the board on your table saw, then cut them to length, mitering both ends of the front piece and the front end of the side pieces.


MAKING THE FALL-FRONT Gluing up the base

Cut the rails of the molding frame and molding base to length, mitering both ends of the front pieces and the front end of the side pieces; omit the back rail for the base. Join the corners of the frames with plate joints (page 109) and clamp them as you did the dust frames (page 112). Next, glue the molding base to the under­side of the frame so the sides of the base extend beyond the frame by about 1 inch. Then cut the bracket feet on your band saw. Spread glue on the contacting surfaces between the molding pieces, the bracket feet, and the molding base, then fit the pieces together and clamp the assembly, protecting the stock with wood pads (left). Once the adhesive has cured, remove the clamps and attach the base to the desk unit by screwing the molding frame to the carcase through elongated screw holes.

Updated: March 19, 2016 — 12:52 am