Author Topic: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels  (Read 3040 times)

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Offline edwarmr

  • Posts: 323
Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« on: October 24, 2022, 10:50 PM »
Hello everyone!

I wanted to share a project I’ve been working on for quite some time. I made a couple nightstands to match a bed frame I made a few years back. This was my most challenging project to date as I decided to do full-extension sliding dovetail drawer slides taking advantage of the repeatability and accuracy of the Incra LS Positioner. This was very difficult since I couldn’t find a whole lot of info on how to do this online. With a lot of planning though it worked out :)

It is made of quartersawn sapele, with claro walnut panels. The front panel on the door is curly claro walnut. The drawer and door have claro walnut cock beading as do the panels on the side and back (overkill I know  [eek]).



The sliding drawers consist of three parts: a maple runner  on the inside of the cabinet, a sapele slide, and the maple drawer sides. There are two stopped grooves on the inside of the sapele slide that act as stops for the catches. The first catch is a #8 screw attached to the drawer sides in a strategic location. The drawer pulls out about halfway and the catch hits the stop in the groove. Then the slides come out of the cabinet until the second catch, which is a #8 screw in the runner on the cabinet side, hits its stop. This brings the drawer to full extension.



The doors of the cabinet have bullet catches from Brusso along with Brusso offset knife hinges. Brusso makes beautiful (but expensive) brass hardware. The claro walnut panels received a dye stain made by Behlen (I believe Mohawk bought them out now) so the walnut color does not fade.

The tops were coated with danish oil to bring out the ribbons on the quartersawn sapele. They were then coated with Minwax poly along with the rest of the cabinet parts. The walnut panels were finished with gloss to bring out the amazing figure in the wood. The rest of the nightstands were coated in satin and rubbed out with steel wool, white scotch brite pads, and paste wax.

This was a really fun project I nearly finished last year until the cold MN weather prevented me from spraying finish 🥶 I procrastinated this year but just finished before it got too cold.

Thanks for looking!
Michael

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Offline deepcreek

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2022, 11:34 PM »
Outstanding work!  They look great!
Joe Adams
TimberFire Studio
Houston, Texas

http://www.facebook.com/timberfire

Offline edwarmr

  • Posts: 323
Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2022, 11:55 PM »
Outstanding work!  They look great!

I appreciate that, thanks 😊

Offline woodbutcherbower

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2022, 12:14 AM »
That’s fabulous work. Beautiful material, expertly crafted. Well done sir.

Offline luvmytoolz

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2022, 04:18 AM »
Sensational work! I love the slider design, very nice indeed!

Offline RJNeal

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2022, 07:39 AM »
Michael, what a beautiful piece. You put a lot of thought in to it with the design,material,hardware,and finish. And it shows. Wow. Enjoy.
Rick.
Have you walked your saw today?

Offline Steve1

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2022, 08:00 AM »
Really nice.
I love those wooden full extension slides.

I haven't worked with sapele before, but I am planning on using it for my upcoming book-cases.

Offline neilc

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2022, 08:18 AM »
Sapele is a beautiful wood.  Great job on the details!

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2022, 09:04 AM »
Beautifully done, Michael!   [thumbs up]
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline Cheese

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2022, 10:25 AM »
Nice Michael...very nice, love the drawer extensions.  [smile]   Did you prototype them first or just wing-it?

Offline edwarmr

  • Posts: 323
Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2022, 11:18 AM »
@woodbutcherbower @luvmytoolz @RJNeal @Steve1 @neilc @Sparktrician
Thanks for all the kind words guys :) I really appreciate it!

Offline edwarmr

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2022, 11:33 AM »
Nice Michael...very nice, love the drawer extensions.  [smile]   Did you prototype them first or just wing-it?

@Cheese Thanks!

I somewhat prototyped them and somewhat winged them. I didn't do wood prototypes but I did do full scale drawings to make sure everything was clear in my head and that I wouldn't mess up the cuts. I used graph paper and placed the graph paper on Incra's full scale drawings in their template book. Since the graph paper was somewhat transparent I then was able to trace the dovetails onto my paper and decided which cuts I needed to skip or change to make the sliding dovetails work. Incra's cuts are labeled 1A, 2A... 1B, 2B... 1C, 2C... 1D, 2D, etc. I wrote down every cut number/letter that I needed to make. Since I only had one shot at this without milling up more lumber I really took my time and made sure that every cut would be correct.

I plan on doing this again for a coffee table drawer in the future. If I do I will have to take notes of the step by step process so I can explain it better. I wish Incra would put out a video on how to do this. Mark Mueller mentions full extension dovetail slides briefly in one of the Incra videos but doesn't show the full process.

Offline Vtshopdog

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2022, 01:56 PM »
That’s awesome.  Love the wood combo.
Incra positioner is a very capable tool and you pushed it to a new level.

Offline Muttley000

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2022, 07:05 PM »
These are incredibly nice, fine work for sure!  Really like the slides as well.
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Online Crazyraceguy

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2022, 08:30 PM »
Those are really spectacular. I especially like the drawer guides.
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Offline WillB

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2022, 09:46 PM »
Ditto everyone's compliments,
so nice to see "out of the box" ww components.
Did u get these tall dovetail slides from the Incra video, but not in their book?
Did they have pre made patterns (inserts scales) for this?
More importantly, how well do they function?
and one last question ;)   has such tall dovetail drawer slides been used on historical furniture?  I never recall seeing anything like this? (with this much height of course)

Offline edwarmr

  • Posts: 323
Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2022, 09:53 AM »
@Vtshopdog @Muttley000 @Crazyraceguy

Thank you very much :)

@WillB
They don't demonstrate the sliding dovetails in the video but they mention it in passing. The book does not mention how to do this either. I did use the Incra templates or inserts but I had to adjust some of the cuts to make it work. I will try to post more information when I get a chance.

I don't know about something like this being used on historical furniture but Fine Woodworking has an article on a similar sliding dovetail that is pretty tall. They don't do it with the LS Positioner and only use a single dovetail for the slide.

https://www.finewoodworking.com/1996/04/01/all-wood-extension-drawer-slides

This forum shows something similar. It's the closest thing I could find to what I did. My technique was a little different though.
https://www.finewoodworking.com/forum/sliding-dovetail-drawer-guides

And they slide smooth as butter  ;D
I did a little shimming with plastic shim stock on the back of the runners in the cabinet to get them to slide nice and smooth. You don't want them too tight or too loose. It took a little trial and error to get the fit just right.

« Last Edit: October 26, 2022, 09:59 AM by edwarmr »

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 10184
Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2022, 10:47 AM »
I somewhat prototyped them and somewhat winged them. I didn't do wood prototypes but I did do full scale drawings to make sure everything was clear in my head and that I wouldn't mess up the cuts. I used graph paper and placed the graph paper on Incra's full scale drawings in their template book. Since the graph paper was somewhat transparent I then was able to trace the dovetails onto my paper and decided which cuts I needed to skip or change to make the sliding dovetails work.

Interesting, with all the modern aids available, you solved the problem the old fashioned way...tracing paper, a sharp 4B pencil, a ruler & a calculator.  [smile]. I'm also a big fan of patterns.

FWIW...on old Anderson sliding windows, Anderson recommended a light application of candle wax on the sliding wood surfaces. That treatment really did significantly ease the movement of the window.

A little wax goes a long way, the wax I think is used to close the pores/grain of each sliding wood piece so that they just skim across each other. Too much wax and it becomes sticky.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2022, 10:52 AM by Cheese »

Offline WillB

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2022, 01:56 PM »
Agree with Cheese... u went old school, which was all that was required here, sometimes we all can over tech stuff, which sometimes takes more time, and the end result is sometimes no better, and even sometimes worse.  The exception is, when the tech is used by highly skilled tech guys and for procedures done over n over, no learning curve, like there is for a single task!

Thx for the related links.  One of the articles shared my exact thoughts... soo much that can go wrong with sliding dovetails of this size.  It's so critical to get the width spot on so the dovetails have no excess friction.  Of course, as all the wood moves over time, I imagine it's still vulnerable to added friction.  As only a few thou could take it from butter smooth to sticky.  Should be interesting.  I thought shims was only way to achieve the ideal fit.  I have sheet shims I often find invaluable for exact fits.  Lots of wax should solve any future friction up to a point.

I have the Incra system on both my router table and TS, and I have always wanted to put it to such good use for projects like this...but higher priority projects and life keeps getting in the way!

So refreshing to see something in ww I never saw before!  And executed with such skill and craftsmanship... thx for sharing !


Offline Bugsysiegals

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2022, 09:27 AM »
I also have the Incra fence on my SS but never dreamed to make these dovetail wooden drawer slides ... I assume you flipped it 180 and have a router table extension wing on the TS or use the system on a dedicated router table?

I really love these ... I'd be afraid of ever scratching them.  Maybe I missed it but how did you finish these?

Offline edwarmr

  • Posts: 323
Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2022, 05:56 PM »
@Cheese

Yeah I definitely went old school  ;D I don’t have a PC so things like Sketch Up are unavailable to me on my iPad.

And I agree 100% on the wax. I used Minwax paste wax to coat the pieces. Special dark paste wax on the sapele and natural paste wax on the maple.


@WillB

You’re welcome!

And you’re absolutely right about the width needing to be spot on. If anything you need your drawer to be more on the narrower side width wise so you can shim it out for a perfect fit. That’s exactly what I ended up doing. This is the shim set I got. It’s a little spendy but worked great. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007UQ74VA?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

I honestly don’t foresee too many problems with the slides even with expansion and contraction. The drawer and slides won’t expand much in width. They will expand a bit in height but I left maybe 0.015” to 0.020” clearance between the mating dovetails height wise. So the drawers should stay tight side to side keeping the motion smooth and if they expand in height there is wiggle room to keep them running smooth as well. Of course only time will tell 😬

Thanks again for the kind words!


@Bugsysiegals

So I had the Incra LS Positioner attached to my MFT/3 at the time and used it with my CMS-VL with a custom setup I made. The fence was actually not Incra. It was the Jessem TA fence and I used the Mite-R-Slide II to cut the dovetails. I have since sold that setup and I am in between tables. I will be ordering the Incra table in the near future.

Thanks! Yeah I was a little worried about scratching them too but I don’t think I need to worry. I coated them with Minwax polyurethane followed by paste wax so I hope they hold up!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2022, 06:22 PM by edwarmr »

Offline Steve1

  • Posts: 234
Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2022, 08:39 AM »
One's eyes are drawn to the wooden drawer slides, but as I look closely, I find other really nice details.

It looks like on swinging doors, you banded it with perhaps 1/2" profiled wood (is that sapele also ?).  I suppose that hides the rail/stile joinery and end grain on the stile, and adds a nice finished touch. 
Did you do that to the drawer front also ? 

What I like about this forum is how I can learn from the work of others.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2022, 08:42 AM by Steve1 »

Online Crazyraceguy

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2022, 08:18 AM »
One's eyes are drawn to the wooden drawer slides, but as I look closely, I find other really nice details.

It looks like on swinging doors, you banded it with perhaps 1/2" profiled wood (is that sapele also ?).  I suppose that hides the rail/stile joinery and end grain on the stile, and adds a nice finished touch. 
Did you do that to the drawer front also ? 

What I like about this forum is how I can learn from the work of others.

That is known as a cock-bead or astragal. It is applied to overhang the face of the drawer front or door by the amount of the radius. Sometimes there is a thin flat groove separating the bead from the edge. This can also be called a quirk-bead.
It's a fairly old furniture technique. Not really sure of the origin though? maybe to cover up some "less than stellar" dovetails? Apprentice marks?
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Offline Steve1

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2022, 04:03 PM »
Thank you for the explanation.

Offline edwarmr

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2022, 08:09 PM »
One's eyes are drawn to the wooden drawer slides, but as I look closely, I find other really nice details.

It looks like on swinging doors, you banded it with perhaps 1/2" profiled wood (is that sapele also ?).  I suppose that hides the rail/stile joinery and end grain on the stile, and adds a nice finished touch. 
Did you do that to the drawer front also ? 

What I like about this forum is how I can learn from the work of others.

@Steve1

It is curly walnut cock beading. I used it on both the drawers and the door panel as well as around the rails and stiles on the side and back panels (regular claro walnut on the back and sides). I agree with @Crazyraceguy that it can cover some things up  ;D The ends of my rails and stiles were not perfect and the beading makes it look a lot better. It did make mortising the Brusso offset knife hinges on the doors very difficult though. I created a jig to route the profile and just squared the corners up with a chisel.

In hindsight I wish I didn't dye the walnut panels so dark. In certain lighting and at certain angles they look incredible but where they sit in my bedroom the lighting hides the figure somewhat. Live and learn I guess.

Online Crazyraceguy

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2022, 06:57 AM »
In hindsight I wish I didn't dye the walnut panels so dark. In certain lighting and at certain angles they look incredible but where they sit in my bedroom the lighting hides the figure somewhat. Live and learn I guess.

That is kind of the live nature of wood. It does its own thing. I'm not particularly a fan of staining walnut at all, the downside is that it will fade and get lighter if you don't. Which is quite the contrast with cherry, doing the opposite, getting darker.
The finish you use can have some effect on it too.
Over all, great looking project.
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Offline edwarmr

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2022, 03:32 PM »
I wouldn’t use a regular stain on walnut but dye stains are great. It enhances the curl if you apply it, sand it off, and repeat a couple times. The dye stays in the curl but is removed from the surface wood by sanding. This increases the contrast. Also the dye is UV resistant so the color should last a long time.

I also did a thin strip of black glaze on the curly walnut door front right by the top raised portion of the panel. This added some nice contrast as well.

I’ll have to post some pictures of the matching bed frame I made 5 years ago. I like the dye color I used on the bed frame better. I should have recorded what mixture of dye and alcohol I used.

Thanks for the encouraging words :)

Offline fritter63

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2022, 04:37 PM »
Beautiful! That's a whole lot of 'I hate metal slides" in there!

Please let us know how those hold up to warping over time.

Offline Steve1

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Re: Sapele Nightstands with Claro Walnut Panels
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2022, 08:53 AM »
I have a sapele project coming up, so the photos here were very helpful.

I did some finish tests, and come up with pretty similar to what the OP did.  But I used Tung oil rather than Danish, not sure if there is much difference.
Top to bottom is:
- GF Hi-Performance poly only - not bad but grain is much too visible for my taste
- tung oil, then blonde shellac, then grain filler, then GF poly - my favorite.  Really brings out the ribbons
- garnet shellac, right hand side additionally has grain filler, then GF poly - also pretty good, I like it better with the grain filler.
- Khaya (african mahogany), with garnet shellac/grain filler - probably will use this for inset panels
« Last Edit: October 31, 2022, 08:56 AM by Steve1 »