Tall Chest

A Close Look into the Design Process and Lots of Sliding Dovetails and Veneering

This tall chest is traditionally known as a Lingerie Chest.  The tall, single column of drawers is the hallmark of the Lingerie Chest form.  What you put into these drawers is up to you.  Personally I have all of my triathlon gear in my chest right now.  That's kinda like lingerie right...well minus the swim fins and snorkel.

The skills covered in this video are varied but I spend a great deal of time focuses on the design process.  The first 4 videos in fact are all about meeting the functional and aesthetic requirements for this piece.  One of those videos is all about selecting the right grain for each part to make sure everything matches and complements the design vision.  

From there I get into the knitty gritty construction.  Basic panel glue up and flattening, but then a lot about casework and sliding dovetails and dust frame joinery.  Of course there are 5 drawers to build but I opt not to dovetail them and instead use a metal peg and rabbet construction for a change of pace.  But I also veneer the drawer fronts with a gorgeous Tamo Ash veneer so I spend some time talking about vacuum bag veneering.  The mouldings are a bullnose profile that I use a scraper to create instead of hollows and rounds.

Finally there is the mortise and tenon joinery of the plinth and the sculpting of the curved feet.  Lots of techniques on display for a really fun and challenging build

Lingerie Chest

Full Video Instructions plus so much more...

  • Sketch Up Model
  • PDF Templates
  • Parts List
  • Hand Tool School Community Access
  • The Hand Tool School Tool Library & Sharpening Content
  • Weekly Tip Videos
Lingerie chest initial design

Part 1:Initial Design

I discuss the piece I am wanting to replace and the requirements I have from the "client" and how I can dress up the existing mass produced piece.

lingerie chest sketchup model

Part 2: Refining the Design

In SketchUp I mock up the design and begin to embellish it with my own ideas.

lingerie chest board list

Part 3: Parts & Lumber List

With a design finalized I do the lumber take off to create my parts list and then build a lumber shopping list to allow me to have a successful trip to the lumber yard.

lingerie chest process

Part 4: Matching Boards to Parts

This is my favorite part of any project.  Getting a perfect grain and color match for each part makes such a big difference in the final project.

dovetailing the case

Part 5: Dovetailing the Case

What can I say about dovetails that hasn't already been said.  Here I cut the dovetail joinery and join together the outer case.

chest dust frames

Part 6: Dust Frames

To cut down on weight and add rigidity to the case I build dust frames for the drawer supports using bridle joinery.

sliding dovetails

Part 7: Sliding Dovetails

To overcome the wood movement issues with cross grain, I join the dust frames into the case with sliding dovetails.

Glue up the case

Part 8: Glue Up

The secret to a successful glue up is rehearsal.  Here I walk through how I will manage to get all these parts together quickly.

Ebony mouldings

Part 9: Ebony Mouldings

Precious Ebony means being as efficient as possible to create these tiny bullnose profiles with a scratch stock.  I then miter them and install on the case.

Beveled top

Part 10: The Top

I glue up a panel, flatten it, and add a delicate bevel around the perimeter of the top.  Finally I join it to the case.

feet joinery

Part 11: Feet Joinery

Lots of mortise and tenon joints to tie the aprons and feet together.  But first I have to glue up the feet blanks with a pleasing grain.

sculpting the feet

Part 12: Sculpting the Feet

I create a template for the foot pattern and use it to saw, rasp, and spokeshave them to shape.  Then I add a gentle curve to the aprons to match the feet.

veneered drawer fronts

Part 13: Veneered Drawer Fronts

The real focal point of this piece is the full veneer front.  I discuss using commercial veneer and a vacuum bag to attach the veneer.  But then I focus on fitting the drawer fronts while keeping the grain consistent throughout.

making drawers

Part 14: Drawers

In keeping with the contemporary feel I opt to use steel pegs and rabbet to join the drawers together.  We have cut enough dovetails already.

Lingerie Chest

Part 15: Pore Filling and Finishing

The open pore of the Chest and the closed pores of the Ash veneer don't really mix and I pore fill everything to give me a smooth finish using an epoxy pore filler.  Finally I wrap it all up with a water based varnish.

Plus a Bonus Lesson on Vacuum Veneering

I filmed an additional live broadcast where I walk through vacuum veneering 101 and glue up the drawer fronts in one big panel.

As Usual, we build it all with hand tools...

No electrons were harmed during the building of this chest.  The sliding dovetails are all hand cut and the feet sculpted with rasps and spokeshaves.  All parts prepped with hand planes.  I did plug in the vacuum pump for the veneered drawers.   Finally I apply a water based finish using a brush and rag technique.

Everything You Need to Build this Tall Chest that will wow everyone who sees it