Massachusetts Block-Front Chest


Step 15 With the angle cut, next make the second cut that will allow the waste area to be removed.


Step 16 Set up the table saw with a stacked dado blade set to a 13/16” cut. Raise the blade to cut an 1/8” deep. Set the fence to cut at the layout lines that define the drawer dividers. Make the cuts in each Case Sides, for each Divider, making sure to position the piece in the correct orientation. The cut can plow completely through the Side.


Step 17 Using a 3/4”, 14 degree dovetail router bit along with a 3/4” outside diameter bushing, set the fence to 1/32” past the line of the Divider (centering the router bit into the Divider area) Run the cut with the router into the Case Side to a depth of 1-5/8”.


Step 18 The next operation that needs to be done to the Case Sides before they are ready to assemble, is to run a half-dovetail along the top edge of the Sides. Bury the router bit into an auxiliary fence so that the bit just cuts into the sides and cut the pieces on the interior face only. The bit height should be 1/2”.


Step 19 To complete the steps for the Case Sides, form a two step rabbet on the back edge of the Sides. This will house the backboards when we finish the Chest.


Step 20 Turning to the Drawer Dividers, set up the router bit, the same one used in step #17, with a scrape piece that was milled at the same time that the dividers were milled. Once the position is set, cut the dovetail profile on both sides of both ends of the Dividers.


Step 21 Remove the back portion of the dovetailed ends, leaving 2” of material on the ends. Use the saw fence as a stop. You need to remove the material on all the ends of the Dividers.


Step 22 Next, you need to remove the top edge of that same dovetailed end. I elected to use my miter saw and set the depth of cut to remove the 1/2” needed. I chose this over the table saw because it allows me to see the cuts as they are made. Setting a stop block allows you to work directly to the block on each end.


Step 23 Time for some assembly. Apply glue to the pins of the Bottom and slide the two together. Spread a small amount of glue into the dovetail socket in the Case Sides and a bit on the Divider ends, then assemble the Divider into the Case. The top edge of the Dividers dovetailed end should be flush with the Case Sides. Clamp the pieces until the joint is set.


Step 24 Mill the Case Top to size and return to the dado blade. Adjust the thickness of cut to 1/2” and make a straight cut that is set just to the overhang amount. The cut will be along the Top ends and be the length of the Case Sides. You will need to drop cut one end and stop cut the opposite end. To accomplish this, raise the blade to 1/2” and mark the spot where the blade dips both above & below the table saw top. Mark these on the fence and proceed to make the cuts by dropping the front edge of the Top at the line on the out feed side of the blade, then continue the cut through the top. The opposite cut will begin by pushing the top through the blade and stopping the cut when the front edge of the Top reaches the layout line on the in feed side of the blade.


Step 25 Load the 3/4” dovetail bit and bushing back in the router, set a straight edge fence to a line that is spaced 13/16” from the far edge of the dado cut, then slightly offset, 1/16”, the fence at the back edge of the Top. Essentially this will create a sliding dovetail slot. Make the cuts on the two sides of the Top and check the fit to the Case Sides. As you run the Sides into the slot, they will get tighter as you slide forward toward the front edge of the case. You want to just have to tap the final inch or so to tighten the fit completely. If you need to loosen the fit use sandpaper on the dovetailed edge of the Case Sides.


Step 26 Remove the Top and position the assembled case with the front edge of the Top so that 5/8” extends in front. Then, use a washer as we did in step #10 to draw the line of the front edge of the Top. Make sure that the Top is centered with the Case.


Step 27 Straighten the interior corners like before and cut the profile onto the front edge of the Top. Next, use a classical ogee bit to route the edges of the Top.


Step 28 Place the Bottom Front Molding into position with the front edge of the Sculpted Bottom and use the washer to define the profiled edge. This is the same set up that we used to determine the Top profile. Cut the piece and round over the edge with a  3/8” bit.


Step 29 Position the piece to the assembled case and clamp the two together. Make sure to have equal spacing between the two pieces. Mark the mitered edge from the Sculpted Bottom, then cut the 45 degree cuts at the miter saw.


Step 30 Attach the Bottom Front Molding to the case with glue and brads. Cut the Bottom Spacers to 3” (+,-) pieces and attach them to the case as shown again with glue and brads.


Step 31 Move back to the Case to install the Drawer Runners. Mill the pieces to size and cut a 45 degree cut at the rear end of each Runner. Pre-drill the Runners as shown, place a small amount of glue in the first 4” of the dadoed area, and attach the Runners with nails (N-7, 1-1/2” Horton Brass)


Step 32 Mill the feet stock to size according to the cut sheet and transfer the foot profile to a piece of plywood for a pattern. Layout the pattern so that there is two Side Feet for both the right and left side of the chest, as well as two opposing Front Feet from the 1-1/2” material. Cut and shape the profiles, then drill the center area that forms the spur of the foot at the drill press.


Step 33 Position the Front Foot to the Case and transfer the pattern of the Front Bottom Molding onto the top of the Foot. Extend a line from the beginning of the rounded section of the Foot to the front edge and down the face as well.