Walnut Sideboard – Making the Sideboard Carcass

After the Walnut had acclimatized in the workshop I started machining up the components of the sideboard carcass.

I purchased 52mm boards so that I would be able to cut a 5mm veneer from both faces of the board and still have enough thickness to get my carcass boards out of it. The veneers will be used to make up the doors.

It was pure carnage in the workshop while machining the boards and cutting the veneers. Some of the veneers were 8″ (200mm) wide. I thought my 20″ Wadkin BZB bandsaw might have difficulty cutting them – but it worked a dream, although I did manage to get through eight bandsaw blades.

The bandsaw setup for cutting veneers

You can see here the setup on the bandsaw.

Sideboard components stacked in the workshop

After all the main machining was completed the workshop was filled with stacked veneers, sideboard carcass components, and offcuts.

At this point most of the components have been labelled with their numbers and marked up for handing. Certain components will also be paired so as to ensure continuity in the grain pattern, for instance with the handles, in the image below.

Sideboard carcass components cut and labelled

The next thing was to get the main boards of the sideboard carcass planed up with the No7 jointer plane, and then glue up the panels. I used loose tenons in the edges to assist with marrying up the boards, and a pair of winding sticks to ensure a twist free glue up.

Glueing up the main panels for the sideboard carcass


Panel glued and clamped

After all the panels were glued up, I started the substantial task of planing them flat and thicknessing them by hand.

Marking high areas with white pencil


Hand planing panels

By locating the high areas and marking with a white pencil, and planing the length and width of the boards, it is possible to achieve a very flat surface, again using winding sticks to eliminate any twist.

Hand planing

A  large pile of shavings after the first day of planing.

Pile of wood shavings after planing

Once I was happy with the panels I moved onto marking out the lap dovetails of the top of the sideboard carcass.

Lap-dovetails marked out


Lap dovetails marked out

Some of the panels were over 2 meters long so I made up a frame and fixed it to the end of the bench to support them while I stood on the bench cutting the dovetails with a gents saw, and coping saw.

Cutting dovetails with a gents saw

I drilled out some of the waste around the pins and then chiselled out the rest.

Lap dovetail

Note the left and right-hand skew chisels used to get into the corners around the pins.

Lap dovetails and the cutting tools for them

I marked out all the mortises and drilled out the waste on the pillar drill. I then pared back to the scalpel line ensuring the faces of the mortise are square and not under cut as this would produce glue lines later during the clean up.

Mortises cut

Once the mortises were complete it was possible to mark out the housings and tenons.

Mortices, housings and tenons

I made up a temporary frame to support the panels while dry fitting.

Panels supported by temporary frame

The moment of truth!

Fitting mortises on to tenons

While fitting the side panel mortises on to the tenons for the first time with the help of a wooden block and mallet, I could hear the tension building up in the side panel.

Tenons in mortises

A good fit on the mortises, however the housing needed a bit more attention.

Dry assembly of carcass

All Clamped up during a dry fit.

Now we can make out the housing for the shelves.

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