Popular Woodworking 2009-11 № 179, страница 47
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It's a compound cut. Use a bevel gauge, set to the angle planed on your key, to align your saw as you define the dovetailed channel. After the edges of the channel are sawn, use a chisel to waste out the material.
A different application. A spring lock is fit into a drawer bottom. From here, it's easy to fine-tune the fit so the lock catches the drawer blade and holds the drawer closed.
Another secret revealed. Quaker locks are perfect for use in fall-front desks. The prospectus is held secure, as are the secrets captured within the exposed compartment, until the owner depresses the spring to free the box from the interior.
paperclip to depress the spring and slide the prospectus from the desk interior.
The next type of lock is the sliding dovetail key. It is very similar to the Quaker lock except that the dovetailed key is positioned flush with the surface into which it is being set. Usually the dovetailed key slides inside a dovetailed channel and is captured in a mortise in an adjacent piece.
Start with the piece into which the dovetailed channel is to be cut. Install a dovetail bit into a router with the depth of cut set to the thickness of the key (in my case, a piece of 3fl6" oak), then set a fence to guide the router and run the channel into the piece, which is usually a case side or bottom. I seldom make my dovetailed keys longer than a couple inches, so be sure to plan the length of the key before you run the slot with the router.
After the channel is cut, use a chisel to square up the end. Now it's time to fit the dovetailed key. You can either shape the key with a router set in a table, set up a table saw with the appropriate angle or just use a handplane to cut the key to size, like I did on the Quaker lock. Remember that the key needs to taper toward the top along both edges just like the Quaker lock; this keeps the key from falling out. Fit the key into the slot using a handplane until you get a nice slip fit. Use a carving gouge and a bench chisel to add a finger grip to the key so the key is easy to slide.
This is one of the favorite locks of the spice chest builder. You'll commonly find
Compact and flush. The sliding dovetailed key, nestled into its slot, is sometimes missed during inspection due to the flush fit.
them holding up the back of the chest. One merely needs to remove the appropriate drawer from the chest, slide the lock forward and the backboard slides down to expose the secret compartment. For the lumber guy's spice chest, I used a series of both types of locks to keep the interior of the chest from being easily removed. One merely needed to remove the proper drawers, in the proper sequence, and release the lock within to eventually remove the entire interior of the chest. That accomplished, another complete bank of hidden drawers behind it was exposed.
The sliding dovetailed key can be used to stop a drawer or an entire interior case from moving. In the photograph at right you can see a sliding dovetailed key protruding from the side of a desk prospectus.
These two common locking mechanisms are very versatile. If you use a little imagination they can help you create secret compartments in nearly all your furniture projects, as long as you plan for it.
Secret drawers give you the chance to expand your skills and show how clever you can be. You'll have fun planning and making them. Your friends and family will have fun hunting for the locking mechanisms and discovering the secrets. You'll have even more
Is power the choice? The sliding key is flush, so you can use a router to make the dovetailed slot. Set the depth of cut equal to the sliding key thickness, set a straight fence to run against then cut the slot. Or cut the slot by hand.
A tiny and mighty lock. This small dovetailed key lock, slid through the side of a tiger maple fall front desk prospectus, has held the unit in place for hundreds of years with its secrets intact.
fun watching them in the pursuit. If you're like me, however, you'll find great pleasure in the secrets themselves. This is particularly true in the case of my lumber guy's spice chest. You see, I never told him there were any locks or hidden compartments in his spice chest. To this day, I don't know if he's discovered every secret. PW
Charles is a nationally renowned period furniture maker near Philadelphia, Pa., and is the lead instructor of The Acanthus Workshop. To learn more about his furniture and the school, or to contact him, visit acanthus.com.
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