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Old 08-29-2011, 05:15 PM
derekcohen's Avatar
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Default First stages in drawer building.

I put in several hours this weekend on the chests, and yet it feels no further along. There is a question I have for you about management of work. It's a good topic here for discussion, especially for us weekend warriors who are limited for time and have to deal with longer builds.

It had got to the stage where I was ready to build the drawers. My first reaction was "Oh Boy!". I love dovetails. Generally I like making drawers. Then I began to plan out what was needed to build 12 drawers, and how to manage this area. Building one or two is relatively simple; building 12 is quite a different proposition.

Here is where I ended off last weekend - a pile of thicknessed Kauri Pine boards for the drawers, along with drawer fronts that I had painstakingly fitted to an exact, tight fit ...



Here are the drawer fronts now planed (but unfinished) ...



I was asked why fit the drawers fronts this way (the alternative is to shape them after the drawer is completed)? Now I can only offer my thoughts and method, and I put them out here for critique. This is how I learn.

Basic answer, I use the drawer fronts as a template for the rest of the drawer. I aim to work with as much precision as I can muster so that minimal adjustments are needed, and then these will only be required to the drawer sides.

One of the pleasures of working with wood is seeing the grain appear with the first swipe of a handplane on a rough sawn board ..



After the drawer fronts are done it is the turn of the drawer sides. I am using Kauri Pine. This is a light but strong and straight-grained wood. I have hand planed it to 3/8" thick ..



... and dimensioned it on the tablesaw and shooting board ...



A reference edge and end are chosen. The grain is optimised to run from the front to the rear of the drawer so not to threaten the halfblind dovetails when planing the sides ...



The drawer front and side are placed against a straight edge. I am using here the fence of my sliding table ..



Now it is easy to transfer the same height with a straight edge ..



I used the tablesaw to get close to the line, then fine tuned with the shooting board ...



Do the other side. A tip for the rule is to glue 240 grit sandpaper as nonslip. Fantastic!



Finally I ended with a 24 drawer sides, 12 drawer fronts and 12 drawer backs ...



It left a few shavings behind ...



I spent time carefully marking every piece, drawer-by-drawer, coding each drawer ...



The drawer backs have been thicknessed but are left oversize at this point. They will only be sawn to size once I have completed the slips for the drawers. The slips have to be completed before I can be certain where the groove will be placed at the rear of the drawer front, and of course the drawer back will be sawn to end at the top of the groove within the slip. So the slip comes next.

I decided on Jarrah for the slips. This will be hard wearing, and the contrasting colour will link to the carcase. The slips are 3/4" in the vertical (although I may shorten this), 3/8" in the horizontal, and have a 1/4" x 1/4" groove. The slips follw the guidelines of Richard Jones (thanks Richard).

I prepared 3/4" thick boards. The grooves were created at the edge on the router table (I can live with this), then sliced off on the bandsaw. Out came the jointer to plane them to flat and to size ..



And the result was 24 lengths of slips in the basic shape (yet to be finsihed to the final shape ... next weekend) ...



I have also still to make the drawer bottoms, which will be 3/8" thick Kauri Pine. I am planning to use muntins for the longer drawers (about 600mm wide). Is there a rule about when they are to be included? It just makes sense to me here.

In addition to comments about the work order and methods, how would you do to store the pieces until the next work session?

Regards from Perth

Derek
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: First stages in drawer building.

Derek,

I am wondering how things work for you with tight fitting drawer fronts. Here in Connecticut, we get a wide variation in humidity throughout the year, so if I am finishing drawers in the winter, I need to allow for swelling that will occur in the summer, when the humidity increases. This means that the moisture content of the drawer fronts needs to be measured, and provision made for the inevitable cross-grain wood expansion.

Is your humidity more constant than ours?

Charles
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: First stages in drawer building.

Hi Charles

We get low humidity. However it is also Winter in Perth, and the Summer heat is more likely to cause the wood to shrink slightly. So the closer the fit now the better.

Regards from Perth

Derek
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Last edited by derekcohen; 08-30-2011 at 05:23 AM.
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