A few days ago I hit my 1-year anniversary with this blog, and this is my 200th post. I wanted to post something really interesting today, but instead I made a drawer.
Things started out pretty good last night, but I found a few small problems with my design that slowed me down quite a bit. I modeled the entire cabinet in 3D to ensure that everything would fit correctly, but I neglected to model up the drawers and spindles. As you may have seen in an earlier post, the spindles were made about 2″ too long, and I had to cut them down. Well, apparently the sheet of plywood that will be the bottom panel of my drawers was a bit too short, and that added a bit of work as well.
I cut and milled down the front and sides for the five drawer frames. Then I set up a bit in my router table to cut a rabbet to receive the 1/4″ plywood bottom panel.
Since the board falls a bit short on the ends, no rabbet is required on them… Instead, I am making a piece of trim that will attach to the drawer side. This will extend the side far enough to cover the bottom panel giving support while covering the shortened panel.
Since I need a piece of cove trim for another section, I am using cove in the drawer as well. That way, I can make all of my trim at one time. To create the cove, I mill down some oak to 3/4″ thick, but leave it wide enough to make a couple of pieces. This is a great use of my off-cuts that were about 2″ wide. I run the board across the cove bit in the router table, then cut the sides off at 3/4″ on the table saw. This is far safer and more stable than cutting the trim to size before cutting the cove.
Once the trim pieces are cut, I ran my finish sander down the edges and corners to remove any cut marks or sharp edges.
Setting the trim aside for now, I started on the drawer sides. the sides need two cradles cut into them to receive the spindles. I start by drilling a 3/4″ hole at the apex of the cradle.
Next I use my speed square to layout a 45 degree angle tangent to each side of the holes.
The lines are then cut on the bandsaw, leaving a triangular cradle, and a funny shaped off-cut piece that my 10-year old loves to save so he can build weird geometric shapes with them.
I clean up the cut with a file and a sander, then set the sides aside.
My current design is to use pocket hole screws to hold the sides to the front. I drilled two pocket holes in the ends of each long board, then clamped everything together.
I discovered a flaw in my logic. Usually the pocket holes are used on face frames, so the screws go into the sides of the boards, apparently when they go into the end of a board, it causes the wood to split…
After discovering this, I pre-drilled a pilot hole in all of the boards that were getting screwed together. It prevented further cracking, but I wasn’t convinced that it would last without getting worse over time. I decided to add some dowels from the outside to lock the side boards in place and prevent cracking. Before doing that, I wanted to ensure that everything was straight and square, so I applied a bead of glue to the rabbet, and set the bottom panel in place.
I attached the panel with 3/4″ pin nails to hold it while the glue dried.
Next, I flipped the drawer over and glued the trim in place on either end. I pressed the trim and panel down flat and nailed the trim to the side, them flipped the drawer back over and nailed the panel to the trim from the bottom.
With the bottom panel attached, I turned the drawer on its side and drilled two holes on the outside edges of the drawer, then glued in a length of dowel, then cut it flush with my pull saw.
With the dowels cut flush and sanded, you hardly notice them.
After drawer number one was complete, I laid in two spindles, just to make sure that they fit well. Everything seems to be good. Even with all of the little issues that I ran into along the way.
Oh well, one down, four more to go. I guess that is tomorrow’s project…