Making dresser drawers(Seven-drawer dresser build, part 1)
Rachel wanted a bigger dresser to store stuff in. Dressers can be found for free from time to time, but they are usually banged up and ugly, not the right size, and most don't make very good use of the internal space for storage. So I'm building one.
The one I'm building is to be seven drawers high, and that takes up a lot of wood for the drawers. I had been picking stuff up off the curb that could be cut up into drawers, and I had enough wood without having to buy any.
Dowel-tenon jointsFirst challenge: How to join the drawer sides to the front. I want the front of the drawer to extend past the sides to hide the drawer slides.
In better quality furniture, this joint is often made as a sliding dovetail joint, but it's hard to get it right, and the deep dovetail really weakens the drawer front.
Box joints are much stronger, but a box joint is not ideal this far from the corner. I have used box joints for this joint before, but it was a lot of work. Another super strong option, which I used for my tool stand drawers is a lot of narrow tenons. But again, lots of work. I figured I'd try fewer, larger tenons, and then I thought I might as well make them round, so I could drill holes instead cutting mortises.
To make the round tenons, I needed a template for my pantorouter. I cut out some circles with the bandsaw table at an angle to make some cones, then made a jig to sand them perfectly round on my disk sander.
But part-way through cutting the 14 joints, I realized I hadn't tightened the follower clamp, so it drifted and some of the tenons were under-sized. So I re-cut them all to 9/16" (14 mm). That's still larger than any dowel one would normally put into the 18 mm thick boards. But with the dowels cut from the board itself, I don't have to worry about whether there is enough wood around the dowels.
I had to swing the drill press table out of the way, with just a corner reaching under the drill so as not to interfere with the clamps I used. That's why I don't use a fancy drill press table. Though in retrospect, if I used a wider piece of wood for the drill guide, I could have moved the C-clamps further away from where I drilled.
Box joints for the back cornersNext question: How to join the back corner?
It's more intuitive to make the cuts from the top down, but cutting them bottom-up throws the shavings down instead. That makes for less of a mess around the machine, though I need to clean the shavings out from time to time.
Before assembling the drawers, I needed to cut a rabbet on the bottom edge of the front boards. The drawer bottoms will just glue flat on the drawers, visible from the side, but it goes in a rabbet on the front to hide it.
Normally, drawer bottoms are put in a dado, but by gluing them flat on, construction is simplified, and I get more space inside the drawers. The glue is as strong as the wood, so it's stronger this way because I get a better glue area and I don't have to weaken the sides with a slot.
Veneer for the drawersI wanted some nice veneer for the drawer fronts. I had some pieces of an old mahogany desk top, which I picked up along with these antique drawers, from the garbage.
Then cut them to veneers, about 4 mm thick on my 18" bandsaw
The yield was not as good as I had hoped. Some of the boards had these slots cut in the bottom side, and a lot were joined edge to edge with dowels, which made for a lot of waste. The boards were not long enough for two drawer widths. With the poor yield, I figured I'd have to splice some pieces end to end to get enough material, so I also cut the shorter pieces into veneer while I was at it.
The wood I used had finish on both sides, and wood glue won't stick to that. So I had to plane the front of the drawers to expose the bare wood. I used a hand plane for that, just to avoid planing too much material off the wood. That, and I wasn't sure if the varnish would dull the jointer knives. But I think I would have been ok, because it didn't dull the hand plane very fast. If you ever tried to plane white paint off a piece of wood, you will know what I'm referring to.
A scrap of carpeting serves as a pad to get even pressure. I previously used towels for gluing thin layers and veneers on drawer fronts, but the carpeting is better because one layer is enough and I don't have to worry about ruining it.
Attaching the bottomsNext, applying glue for the bottom. The bottom is glued straight on the edge of the drawers, except for the front, which has a rabbet cut into it (the front extends down a bit further than the rest of the drawer).
I scraped the plastic coating off the paneling wherever it needed to be glued. Here, I'm applying glue to add a strip of plywood over the joint. I then put another piece of plywood on top of the strip and weighed it down while the glue dried.
Plugs for the screw holesSome of the veneer had some screw holes in it. I have some plug cutters for making plugs to fill holes, but the smallest I have is 3/8" (10 mm), and I didn't want to drill that large a hole. So I made some 1/4" (6 mm) plugs on my pantorouter.
I was plaing around with a timelapse camera while making the drawers. So you can see all the action. But just straight up work is really not that exciting. If it's interesting, I shoot video of it.
Under bed drawers
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