A Cockbead drawer front WIP

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danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
Well I started a thread about a cherry and maple or cherry and walnut table and Jeremy sent along some questions about drawer construction. One of the drawers I encourage builders to consider is the cockbead drawer. If you think veneer is something you might like to learn to do, this drawer type is a nice add on for you.

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The drawer can be built in a couple of ways but I favor the stacked/laminated technique that was common with German builders back in the 18th century.
Jeremy asked me about this drawer construction in another thread which was about a table so I thought rather than do a "thread departure" I would start a new thread for those that did not wander in to the other one.

Cockbeading allows the builder to include dramatic veneers on the drawer front. It also allows the builder to move along quickly when faced with lots of drawers like a desk project with lots of small drawers in the build. Unlike the one below with serpentine fronts that take forever to build, flat cockbeading was fast and good looking.

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These are not cockbead drawers so I will get back to the explanation.

When I looked at the beads that Jeremy cut I realized he put too much effort into playing with his tablesaw. I looked on Youtube and found the reason immediately.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLCqYGyvzpg

This is another example of how confused you can get watching youtube.. especially if the person has video skills you tend to think they have woodworking skills? No this is not axiomatic.

The guy in this video is so attached to his tablesaw, he can't figure out how easy it would be to just get a handsaw and chisel and he could be done in half the time he spends doodling with the on off switch and lining up beads that don't fit the period or the piece he is building. They are just too FAT.

Cockbeading 101 Jeremy.



It starts out with a simple drawer front that is fit to the existing opening. These full dovetails will be covered with the next step. You don't have to chop half blind dovetails.

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Take the drawer front and rip the face to make room for the bead. Cut the walnut substrate at the same setting on your TS
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shorten the length of the face by 1/8" for the bead then glue to the base.
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Make the bead with a handsaw and a miter jack.

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Use a chisel if you really want to get it tight.
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If the small pieces for the end grain are the same, use the good one to set the length and cut.
Forget the dust collection, ear muffs, goggles, and face mask.. just cut and trim with your handsaw. Done.
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All you have to do really is learn to cut to a line and have confidence. Its like committing to learning your scales. Once that happens without thinking, you can play lots of jazz tunes by simply hitting a flat note in the scale at will. If you want to do this forget the power switch, consider your hands and put in some practice. Forget Lee Valley crutches, just practice a little and it will come.

Good Luck










 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Am I correct in assuming the cockbeading is 1/8 wide meaning the bead itself has a radius of 1/16?
 

Jeremy Scuteri

Jeremy
Staff member
Let me make sure I am getting this right.

You are ripping 1/8" off of each edge of the drawer front (1/8" is thickness of cockbead)
The width of this cockbead piece is the thickness of the drawer front + the thickness of the veneered substrate?

Veneered substrate is cut to the same size as the drawer front, then 1/8" is remove off of the short edges of the veneered substrate.
The width of this cockbead piece is just the thickness of the veneered substrate?
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
If I'm looking at the photos correctly, the cockbeading is proud of the veneer ~1/8" or more.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
Let me make sure I am getting this right.

You are ripping 1/8" off of each edge of the drawer front (1/8" is thickness of cockbead).

On the long axis only yes I am "ripping" off the same thickness as the bead. Essentially the drawer is fit then cut down, then built back up to the original size along the long grain.

The width of this cockbead piece is the thickness of the drawer front + the thickness of the veneered substrate?

Don't forget to add a little more width so the bead stands PROUD of the veneered surface.

Veneered substrate is cut to the same size as the drawer front, then 1/8" is remove off of the short edges of the veneered substrate.
The width of this cockbead piece is just the thickness of the veneered substrate?

Close but remember to add a little width so the bead is proud and matching the bead at the miter. See the first photo above
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
Am I correct in assuming the cockbeading is 1/8 wide meaning the bead itself has a radius of 1/16?

Correct. I make the rounded edge with a scratch stock or a block plane. For smaller drawers you can go with a light 1/8 but I think the fat bead is just down right ugly. Make some up and look at it and I think you will agree.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
If I'm looking at the photos correctly, the cockbeading is proud of the veneer ~1/8" or more.

It is proud but only a hair. I determine the height of the bead with each project. It is something you will see when its too much.

I started this thread after I saw some beading that Jeremy made up that was too thick and it had a lip.

I thought of a youtube video someone said was the best way to do cockbeaded drawers. The man does the beading with his tablesaw. This is a high risk way of doing it and it takes longer to do it that way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLCqYGyvzpg

If you look closely at his drawer construction, you can tell he uses a machine/ jig method of making the basic drawer so the cockbead being done with the tablesaw seems consistent with his approach.

He only cuts half of the long grain edge of the drawer and this leaves a seam that I don't like. This is what you get from the factory.

I think the machine method he demonstrates takes longer to do and the end results do not appeal to me. This is another skill that you can master with a sharp handsaw and a chisel.
 
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Jeff

New User
Jeff
I'm trying to understand this concept, and when, where, and why to cockbead anything.

I guess a simple drawer front (without veneer) could be cockbeaded with the same wood as the drawer front or a different wood. Correct?

I'm not clear on how to make and shape the cockbead strips that go around the drawer front. ??????
 
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Roy G

Roy
Senior User
I like a walnut bead around a cherry drawer front. I do the beads with a turning beading chisel that I use like a scraper. I had the chisel and it was the right size, so I didn't have to make a scratch stock beader.

Roy G
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
I'm trying to understand this concept, and when, where, and why to cockbead anything.

I guess a simple drawer front (without veneer) could be cockbeaded with the same wood as the drawer front or a different wood. Correct?

Many drawers were cockbeaded with a alternate for the bead. The face was a flat drawer front that the builder felt needed some detail.

I'm not clear on how to make and shape the cockbead strips that go around the drawer front. ??????


There are several ways really. Sometimes I scratch the bead on a board then rip it off on the TS. Other times I have tons of long strips I cut to 1/8 x 1" x 3' in maple walnut and other straight grain woods. This is the base stock.

I take old hack saw blades and worn out bandsaw blade(wide resaw blades) and grind and file to the bead radius I like. As Phil mentioned mine are 1/16 radius for a nice round 1/8 bead. This is "eyeball" not micrometer work here. I just go with the feel but I can see immediately if its too bulky.

I have used my Stanley 45 to cut some small beads like the demonstrator below and cut it off.

I just changed out my cutterhead in my DW735. I went from the OEM 3 blade to the Byrd Shelix cutter. In the past I had to scrape the saw marks from the strips I cut but now I can run 1/8" strips over a backer board thru the planer and they come out like I never imagined. So I have another easy way to spruce up an otherwise plain drawer front.

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I'm going to go out on a limb and say: every furniture builder should have a scratchstock tool. Truthfully, I think having several is a better idea. The possibilities are endless.

This plain shaker cabinet is transformed with the simple bead running up the face frame. Hard to see here Sorry.

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Here is a beading scratch stock for chair hoops. Without the double bead on the hoop it looks incomplete. Like the builder went home early or something.



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not the greatest photo but you can see the bead on the hoop
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Like they say.. the devils in the details. Hope this helps

 

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Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
IMO, the original purpose of cockbeading would have been to hide the edge of the veneer and give it more depth. Kinda like edge banding a laminate top with oak or some other wood.
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
Dan, given the apparent interest, "cockbeading techniques" may be an idea for a future workshop. If it happens, put me on the list.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
IMO, the original purpose of cockbeading would have been to hide the edge of the veneer and give it more depth. Kinda like edge banding a laminate top with oak or some other wood.

In general I would agree with you Dennis, but I have also seen lots of solid wood drawer fronts with applied cockbead around the edge. From what I could tell it was applied to break up the flat surface. In other cases I have seen the cockbead applied to the wood case around the drawer.

In the end, it seems like a good way to treat a veneered surface is my guess too. Regardless of the reason for doing it I think its a good design and skill to explore.

Right now its something to take my mind off of this storm and the tornado warnings in front of me.

later
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
For those interested, I do mine a little different using traditional technique.

After fitting the drawers with appropriate gaps, cut the rabbet for the cock beading on the table saw.

The top and bottom are simple rip cuts, the sides are done carefully using a miter sled and sacrificial fence.

I've also done them using a dado blade. Scribe the sides prior to cutting to avoid tear out.

Chisel out a small wedge to avoid tear out.

Fasten the cockbeading with cut nails.

Sorry for the pics out of order, but I think you'll see what I'm talking about.

Side cockbead rabbet prior to ripping top and bottom: (Be SURE to scribe veneer before cutting)
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A jig for shooting the 45's.
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Clip off pin nails to hold cockbead when gluing:
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Cutting rabbets in sides first.
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Finished drawer:
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