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The Basic Design

I've just begun building a lingerie chest for my wife. I have been working on the design for several months, and it incorporated a number of build features that will challenge. The aim is to design a piece that has simple but feminine lines. The piece also has a few hidden secrets.

With the exception of the drawers, which will be figured Jarrah, the carcase is to be built from Makore. Both are similar in tone, reddish brown timbers.

The front profile looks like this ..



The chest is 48 1/2" high. The reason for this specific height is that the top two drawers will be jewelry trays, and Lynndy, at 5'4", needs to be able to look into them.

As may be seen, the drawers increase in size towards the lower end. The lower most drawer height was limited to the width of the dimensions of the wood I have available.

The drawer rails are 1/2" high and will be hidden behind each drawer front. I am not yet decided whether the top or the bottom of each drawer front will lie flush with and covering the rail. The rail then doubles as a drawer stop.

The sides of the cabinet curve ...

In addition, the drawer fronts will have a shallow convex (outward) curve. Something like this .


The drawers will be coped to fit inside the curved sides, like a Bombe chest drawers typically are done. In fact, this chest may be seen to be a modern Bombe, with flowing curves/flared- rather than bulbous sides, with a curved drawer section both to the front and sides.

The top of the cabinet has a hidden lid, and this lifts to reveal a mirror.

Below is a simple drawing of the top and drawer front - not to scale and not showing the details in the frame-and-panel sides. The yellow section is the section of the lid that will lift, and it should look like a solid panel with moulding around it ...

The idea is that the lid is hinged at the rear (i.e. where it can be hidden), and that the front lifts up with the aid of push stoppers (to obviate the need for an visible, external grip).

The drawers will also open with push stoppers to keep the front clean and handle-free.

The upper section with the mirror will house a mechanism to lock the upper jewellery drawer. 

The design for the sides came down to a choice of these four ..

Originally I was going with "A". The lower section mimics the front. However I decided that the combination would end up with the chest looking like a tent on legs! Choices "B" and "C" were discarded as they introduced a different line (to the basic and top of the front elevation). So it would be "D" - which looks plain here, except that you are not seeing it in 3D, where the sides curve outwards in the lower section.

The stretchers are 45mm wide and 30mm thick. The design calls for a bevel or chamfer on the inside face, which will extend back to the curved drawer fronts (both creating a narrower profile and an “invitation” to open the drawers)..

This drawing is not to scale (it looks quite chunky here), but one I drew up as a reminder for myself what I planned to do ..

To achieve the curved frame-and-panel, the frame will be band sawn from solid. Luckily the grain is working with me and curves exactly as if it had been bent ...

Some of the timber, Makore and Jarrah ..


Figured Jarrah for drawer fronts ..


See you in the next chapter when I begin building the sides.

Regards from Perth


May 2015