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Brass Knobs and Pulls

Jeff Greef Woodworking

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Oriental Box of Drawers

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Woods- Teak and mahogany as shown, pick what you like.

Here's a different approach to designing a box. This "box" is really a structure of posts and rails joined with pinned or wedged mortises and tenons. All of the drawer sides are exposed within this structure, and the drawers are supported by it.

If you wish, you can eliminate the curved top rails on this box to simplify its construction. Replace them with straight rails of the same width, and adjust the widths of the front and rear drawer parts for the top drawer accordingly.

Cut out list- Oriental Box of Drawers

Frame- all 3/4" thick
2- 1-1/2 x 16 bottom rails
2- 2 x 15-1/2 top rails
4- 1 x 16-3/4 posts
8- 1-3/8 x 12 side rails
2- 1 x 8-7/8 corner rails
1- 1-1/2 x 12 top center rail
14- 1/4 x 3/4 x 9 slats

4- 3/4 x 4 x 10 fronts and backs, drawers 1 and 2
2- 3/4 x 3-5/8 x 10 front and back, drawer 3
2- 3/4 x 3-1/4 x 10 front and back, top drawer
4- 1/2 x 4 x 10 drawer sides
2- 1/2 x 3-5/8 x 10 drawer sides
2- 1/2 x 2-1/4 x 10 drawer sides
Note- the exact length of the drawer sides will depend on the joinery you choose for the drawers.

Resources for building an Oriental Box of Drawers

Band Saws |  Chisels |  Drill Presses |  Hand Planes |  Routers |  Router Bits |  Router Tables |  Sanders |  Sharpening Tools


Note that the top rail and the two upper drawer fronts on this box were all cut from the same piece of wood, so that the grain matches between the three pieces. The same is true of the bottom rail and bottom drawer. Use this technique where you can, if you have stock that is wide enough to begin with. Matching grain shows an attention to detail that is found only in better woodworking.

Determine what stock you will use for your top rail (and top drawer rails, if you grain match), and draw a centerline on the stock. This centerline is important for locating the relationship of the top drawer curve to the top rail, as well as the location of the mortises in the top rail.

Use the drawing to make your own full sized template of the curved top rail, using a compass to draw the curves. Be sure to include the centerline on your template. Align the centerline of your template onto the centerline of your top rail stock, as shown in photo 1. Cut a hole in the template so you can see where the two centerlines match up as shown in the photo.

Photo 1- Align your tracing to a centerline that you drew on your parts, and transfer the curve to the wood with a sharp screw.

Use a sharp screw to puncture through the template onto the wood below, marking on it where the curve goes. Make these punctures exactly on the line of cut. Remove the template, and sketch along the punctures with a pencil. Use a ruler to continue the straight sections of the rail at the ends. Measure from the centerline to the ends to establish the length of the rail, and hand sketch in the curves on the rail ends.

Delta 9" Band Saw
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Photo 2- Cut out the curves on the band saw. Use a 1/4" blade, and follow the curve slowly and smoothly.

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Cut out the top rail on a band or scroll saw as in photo 2. Note that if you have grain matched the top rail and drawer face, the cut you make between them must be right on the line and must have a smooth curve. Go very slowly and watch the line of the cut carefully. Cut out the curves on the ends of the top and bottom rails too.

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