Six Legged Highboy – Part One

2018-02-25T15:31:58+00:00 February 25th, 2018|Cabinetmaking|

My wife has wanted a 6 legged William and Mary highboy forever. I am finally chipping away at it bit by bit. The process is interesting, so here is what I have so far.

I started out by turning the six legs from some beautiful air dried walnut. The legs are made in two parts so the dowels on the feet can pass through the stretchers and up into the legs, holding the stretchers in place.

Here the legs have been turned and bored. The feet are not glued into the legs. The top of each leg has a pin that will be fitted into a hole bored in the case.
Six Legged Highboy - Legs

The cases, both upper and lower, are dovetailed boxes, the upper one with the grain of the sides running vertically, the bottom ones running horizontally. Here the back of the bottom case can be seen dovetailed into the walnut side.
Six Legged Highboy - Back of Case dovetails

Once I made the bottom case, I sawed out the arches in the front. The front will be veneered with maple over the pine. The arches are cut here and the dovetailing shows the walnut sides attached to the front. The draws are then cut out of the front. Six Legged Highboy - Arches

I attached some interior dividers to separate the draws and then hammer veneered bookmatched figured maple veneer over the front. Six Legged Highboy - Interior Dividers

To protect the veneer edges, I bent some birch that I steamed in the microwave wrapped in a wet cloth.

As in the period ones, I nailed the edging on with tacks. Around the draw openings I’ve nailed a double arched molding to protect the veneer from damage when the draws get opened. Six Legged Highboy - Edging

The same molding will be put around the draws in the upper case. Once the lower case work is done, the legs are glued on. Six Legged Highboy - Molding

The stretchers have been made, half lapped at the corners. I bored through the stretchers into the case so that all the holes would line up. The case has blocks glued in to receive the legs. Six Legged Highboy - stretchers

Progress is slow, but last week I made the first piece of waist molding and screwed it to the case with modern screws. Six Legged Highboy - Molding

There will be another piece of molding on top of this one to capture the upper case, an ogee that I made with a plane. Six Legged Highboy - Ogee

This is my progress so far. The upper case is dovetailed together and I just dovetailed the first draw blade into the case. Here the blades are fit into the dadoes for the draw runners, awaiting dovetailing. Six Legged Highboy - Draw Runners

So, my long suffering wife may get her highboy after all! Next step will be constructing the draws and veneering the fronts, maybe with some herringbone banding along the edges. Stay tuned! Six Legged Highboy - Legs