Drawers for the workbench on wheels
Having built the frame for the workbench, it was time to build some drawers for it. One of the hardest parts of starting a project is picking out which pieces of lumber to use. At this point, I have more hardwood panels from old dressers than I have soft wood panels, so I figured I might as well make these drawers out of all hardwood. Here's the wood I picked.
Here's how the drawers will go together. My first thought was to just dado join them, but that would look kind of ugly for the front. A stopped dado would be better, but then I figured a stopped dado is a lot like a mortise, so why not just mortise it on the pantorouter?
Setting up the pantorouter for the drawer jointsI figured I'd use two short mortise and tenon joints side by side. I want these centered across the wood. So the first thing I did was to find the center of the wood by scratching from both sides with callipers.
I also want the tenon to be centered vertically. For that, I hold the workpiece over the template holder and line up the horizontal line in the top of the transparent template holder with the top edge of the workpiece.
The fit of the tenons can be adjusted, but the mortise size is determined by the size of the router bit. So before cutting tenons, I need to cut a mortise. So I'm clamping down a test piece on the table using a wooden hold down...
Checking the fit. I normally cut the tenons a bit large (by adjusting the follower to be on the larger part of the templates taper), then try the fit while the workpiece is still clamped down, make it smaller, try again, etc. But I made the mistake of using my tenon workpiece as part of my clamping, so I had to unclamp everything to check the fit.
Oops, major screw-up. I forgot to set the depth stop for the mortises, so I ended up milling right through them and into the table! I can still flip the table over to put this scar on the bottom. Or maybe I should wait for my next major mistake before I flip it!
Next I made a groove in along the bottom edges for the drawers. I stacked several 7 1/4" saw blades in my table saw made a groove of the required thickness. I have a dado stack, but the saw blades are more convenient. Also, a smaller diameter cutter is slightly better for "stopped dadoes". I don't want the grooves to go all the way to the end of all my workpieces.
I realized I could make much better use of the nice baltic birch plywood pieces I had by making the drawer bottom as two parts. This allowed me to get two drawer bottoms out of the piece. I'll add another piece of plywood to the bottom to join them later.
Two strips on the side of each drawer will form an L shape for the drawer to slide in. The part that goes against the side has notches cut out on either side so that it's just under half an inch (12.7 mm) thick. I left that much space on either side so I could still install full extension drawer slides if I want to.
I picked the wood I used for the drawers because the varnish on it was in good shape. I figured that way I wouldn't have to varnish them. But by this stage of the project, the varnish had gotten quite scuffed up.
It turns out, this varnish is shellac, and it's easily damaged. So I scraped it off. Fortunately, Shellac is very easy to scrape off. Mental note: Don't ever use Shellac for stuff that gets used!
Laying out the handle shape on each one. The shape is simple enough that it's not worth bothering with a "design" or templates. I used a full and a nearly empty roll of electrical tape to mark the inside and outside radiuses.
I rigged up a jig for drilling the pilot holes using some scrap wood, just drilling through holes in the wood. It's amazing how much you can spend on drawer handle drilling jigs, considering a few pieces of scrap wood will do the job.
Before mounting the handles, I need to varnish the drawer fronts, and before varnishing them, I need to round over the corners a bit. I do this using my palm plane
I varnished the drawers, mounted the handles (no photos), then took the workbench frame to my big garage workshop where I did the final assembly and glued and installed the wooden drawer slides.
This workbench is on wheels so I can wheel it outside to do some of the smokier work there. The only problem is, it came out much nicer than it needed to be, so it will be mentally hard to abuse it by welding on it.
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