In my last post you noticed I took a break from the cabinet and played around with carving an egg! That was a fun break but I knew the drawers weren’t going to assemble and install themselves so that is now almost complete. It’s really no wonder that most contemporary furniture pieces have metal slides for the drawer systems. By comparison, they’re a snap to install with their slotted screw holes for easy adjustment. Make it a box with a separate face to adjust your reveal and you can understand why wooden drawers and guides are so much more expensive unless, of course, it’s found at places like Cost Plus where the drawers barely open!
After the struggle I had with flattening out the drawer sides I knew I needed to pay careful attention to how these go together. The middle drawer is about 1/4″ wider than the two on the side so that was assembled first. A piece of 1/4″ plywood was temporarily slid into the drawer during assembly to maintain squareness. The front corners were mitered off and a cut out at the junction of the sides and back prevented any glue from permanently attaching that plywood piece. After assembling the middle drawer, that plywood piece was cut to fit the two outer ones. Once assembled they were planed to size.
This was made a bit more difficult due to the nature of the sides, I’ve lamented about them enough so I have to leave it at “it is what it is”! This was my first attempt at these large sized drawers. In the past the traditional drawers I’ve done were single ones in a table and much smaller than these 6″ tall by 13″ wide ones. Rather than using separate runners and kickers for them, this cabinet has a drawer web that is dadoed into the sides. To separate the inner drawers I screwed a piece of Alder to it. This turned out to be a good decision as I was able to loosen the screws and tap them perfectly square.
Where the panel and frame pieces had a little bit of a discrepancy, a rabbet block plane smoothed out that transition. Just a side note here, many times my students will ask for tool recommendations and my usual response is to wait until you have the need for a specific tool and then buy the very best quality you can afford. A quality tool won’t necessarily make you a better woodworker but they do make your work more enjoyable and a bit easier to attain.
It’s been quite a process getting the drawers to what I considered being acceptable. Are they perfect? — not quite but I know I’ve given it all that I can to get them as close as possible. Seasonal changes will affect their look too. The final step to the installation was making a drawer stop. What I came up with was a plywood strip, attached with screws through oversized holes. The drawer was installed and the strip aligned with the back of it. After marking the holes with a gimlet the holes were pre-drilled. Sometimes an “old fashioned” method is the best! The strip was then screwed down snug but loose enough to put the drawer in and move to the desired position. Once there, the screws were tightened. Love the gleam on the wood and the backs of the Big Leaf Maple doors!
Here’s a shot of all the drawer stops in place. The back of the cabinet is panel and frame and will be attached with screws. That way, if needed it can be removed for access to the drawers. Never know, once the piece is in the house humidity changes may make that something I’ll need to do but I hope not! Plan to begin the finishing process on the drawers and mortising in the pulls. Using platinum shellac, rubbed out with mineral oil, then waxed.