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Curving Wood Continued

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Part II in the series "Creating the Curved End-Tables"

I wanted the walls of the curves to be at least 3/4" thick. This would cost quite a bit in walnut so I used a filler in the core of the glued curve. The filler I used is called Bendy Board or Wiggle Wood. As it sounds, it is constructed to bend in one direction. I had some laying around so I began milling and gathering the pieces I needed to create two equal curves. In case you are planning on taking this on, theory and reality are very different. I can't stress this enough. Plan, test, adjust your plan and test again. Testing a glue-up procedure is essential. Remember, once the glue is added to the mix, everything changes and there's no time to waste. In fact, if you are working alone you must hurry. If the temperatures are warm and dry where you are you may want to do this at night or use a different glue that allows more working time.

I made the core narrower than the faces and filled this with short cut-offs of my big curves. This way the final piece looks like a full walnut lamination. The pieces added together must equal the same thickness.

Here's what this 14-piece glue-up looked like:

After the assembly is in the press, it's a good idea to wait some time to allow the inner glue to cure. Wood glue on the outside will dry but the interior will remain wet for some days. Some people wait a week, some pull it out right away. Your environment has a lot to do with this detail. After all this work, I play it safe and let it crisp up in the press.

Both curves came out great! Now I trim them to length and width. You can see on this form that I have numbers and markings on the ends. The numbers refer to the fact that the outer pieces of walnut needed to be longer than the inner pieces.

My next steps were to cut out 1/2" plywood decks that fit inside this curve and an MDF core that is parallel to fit inside this "sandwich". Each Walnut curve will be cut where the drawer face will land so next I need to locate the drawer and establish those cuts.

I only attach the bottom deck first so I can build the box interior. This ensures a drawer cabinet that is straight up and down, gives me precise ends to trim, and keeps the curved cabinets identical. I write notes on the pieces with chalk to make sure if I'm upside down or backward when I'm gluing I still know exactly where I do not want glue!

The bottom deck also gets cut back where the drawer face will be. This allows room for a bumper and keeps the wood face for the drawer away from the cabinet base. If they hit the finish will rub or stick and you don't want either.

The interior of each drawer cabinet has walls for hardware and a string of support pieces to glue on the top plywood of the cabinet.

Have I mentioned testing? Yes, there is a lot of testing in woodworking to ensure that things are square, parallel, and aligned.

Next, the wood at the top of this cabinet, and the bottom veneer all need to line up with the opposite end table. Remember these are matching cases that can go together. If the lines of these boards or veneers are off it will show. Stay tuned!

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