Tag Archives: round-over bit

One Becomes Three

Photo courtesy of H. L. Chalfant Antiques in Wets Chester, PA

Photo courtesy of H. L. Chalfant Antiques in Wets Chester, PA

When talking about antique chest of drawers, “chest speak” often mentions drawer layout to describe a piece. You’ll read in a magazine advertisement, in an auction catalog or on a web site that it’s a three-over-five design, or a two-over-three-over four design. What is being described is the number of drawers stacked over the next bank of drawers. The first example would be three drawers set in the top row with five full-width drawers set below. The second example would have two drawer in the top row, and three drawers that make up the second row, with four full-width drawers stacked below. (The top rows are often reversed as shown in the opening photo.) Combinations are endless, but you don’t often see numbers get out of hand.

There is something to keep in mind as you look at drawer layout. Is the bank of drawers actually divided into two or three drawers, or is that a single-width drawer made to look like it’s divided? If it’s a single drawer made to look like three, what’s an easy way to duplicate that if you were building the chest? One way is to use an ovolo router bit.

An ovolo bit is similar to a roundover router bit, but there is nothing attached IMG_1599to the bit to guide it path – no pilot (that’s a throw-back design) or bearing such as what we have on most roundover bits. In the right-hand photo you can see the difference between the two different bits that basically cut the same profiles. Both router bits shown have a 1/4″ roundover profile. (Click the photo to enlarge the image.)

The way to use an ovolo bit is to first profile the edge of your drawer front using a roundover bit. Next, chuck the ovolo bit into your router, set the depth of cut to match the roundover profile, clamp a straightedge to the workpiece and run test cut. Measure the distance from your straightedge to the exact center of your ovolo profile. You’ll need that as you layout for the cut in your drawer front. (With my ovolo bit the width of the completed profile is 1″.) Layout work can be tricky. If you don’t pay attention, it’s easy to get the faux fronts a bit off in width.

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Once the layout work is done, measure from the layout line to where you need to set your straightedge, clamp it in position and you’re ready to divide your drawer front. Work slow as you rout, it’s easy to flip out the profile as the router bit enters the cut.

How can you tell the drawer front is not really three individual drawers? Look closely at the vertical divider areas. You’ll see a small gap at the top of each divider if the drawer front is a single-width front and the furnituremaker was attempting to fool your eye.

Build Something Great!

Glen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Antique Pieces, Design, Power Tools, Routers

Router-made Columns

IMG_1410Last week I finished the work on the goose-neck mouldings and the carved rosettes. At the left, you can see the mouldings and rosettes in place (click the photo to make it larger). This week I turned my attention to the columns that flank each side of the hood at the front and back.

These columns are reeded and need to fit a 3/4″ opening in the brass capitals. To make things work, I need to make the columns a larger diameter, then create the reeds, which extend beyond the 3/4″ diameter. I decided to make the columns 1″ round and to scratch in the reeds. The extra diameter allows for the reeds and provides a bit more material if needed.

My first thought was to turn the columns at my lathe. Even with a copy lathe, the process is slow and laborious – I need eight columns, four for each clock (I’m building two). IMG_1411There is no shape to these columns. No undulating whatsoever. They are straight from top to bottom.

After the first column, I remembered a technique to produce round dowels using a router table setup. It’s way faster. All you need is the correct router bit and material that is about 4″ (2″ extra at each end of the column) longer than the final length of the dowels. The router bit is a round-over bit that is half the total diameter of your dowel. IMG_1414In this case I am making 1″-diameter dowels, so I need a 1/2″ round-over bit. (If your dowels were 3/4″, you would need a 3/8″ round-over bit.)

I needed 16″-long columns. To work this technique with the added 4″ of material, I needed a minimum table length of 34″ (twice the column plus 2″). My router table top is nowhere near that length, so I whipped up an auxiliary top made from a piece of 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood. I positioned the router bit so the bearing was flush with my fence, and set the height just even with the top edge of the plywood.

You need to pivot the material into the cut so you leave a short section of square material at the leading end. As the material contacts the fence, cut the profile just as you would normally do, but do not run through the entire length. IMG_1416At the trailing end, stop short, leaving 2″ or less of square material. It’s those square sections that keep the dowel from turning as you make the last pass.

After you complete one pass, rotate the material 90° and make another pass. Four passes later you have a rounded dowel that rolls across your bench.

I completed all eight dowels (plus an extra just in case) in about 15 minutes after I had the setup ready to go. Wham. Bam. Thank you, ma’am.

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Now to come up with a way to hold the dowels as I scratch the small reeds. I remember seeing a setup that Jeff Headley concocted for a similar purpose. Think I’ll dig that up.

Build Something Great!

Glen

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Filed under Methods of Work, Power Tools, Routers, Shop Tips, Tall Clock