The past couple of days have been productive on this project. Before my neighbor helped put it up on my workbench I had cut and sized the pieces of reclaimed fence boards used on the top and for the banding around it. These have been planed on the underside to create a smooth glue surface. Glues and #18 brads secure them to the plywood substrate. I needed my neighbors help to slide the drawer unit between the legs to begin cutting the reclaimed material for that. In the first blog about this project I explained the process of making the drawer unit. The top was left off of it to make fitting the drawers easier.
These drawers are machine dovetailed, something my students are probably aghast over!
Not all work calls for hand cut dovetails but I will tell you that I don’t use this very often. Matter of fact, the jig I use I bought in the early 1970’s, it’s a Craftsman and old enough to be found on eBay, check out this LINK. Same goes for the router, it’s also an oldie from Sears listed as a commercial grade with a 3/4″ h.p. motor. When you think of all the choices you have these days for woodworking tools it’s hard to believe that Craftsman was one of the major players in those days. I remember buying this router in 1972 or so.
Now days I keep it set up with a dovetail bit and as you can see, have the original instructions that came with it. Good thing too because I use it so seldom I couldn’t recall how to lay out the parts. I begins with cutting your groove for the drawer bottom to keep from getting confused. The pieces are placed in the jig “inside out” so labeling the parts as the directions say to do is essential. Oldie but a goodie and still serviceable. Pretty darn noisy though — ear protection required!
After they were glued up and dry, a coat of shellac was applied to them as well as the inside of the drawer space. That will provide an odor free layer of protection for the drawer, I usually wax these as well. When ever I use metal slides I use a full extension, ball bearing unit made by Dynoslide. I get them from Woodworkers Emporium and they are rated for 100 pounds. Here’s my process:
Once I was happy with the drawer action the top of the drawer unit was glued and screwed into place. Now it’s time to begin attaching the reclaimed fence boards. I decided to rip a clean, smooth edge on them to make a cleaner joint. As I mentioned, these are glued and nailed to the Maple plywood substrate. The banding was then mitered and applied around the top.
The drawer unit will need to have the boards nailed on after it is in place between the legs. The plan is to pre-finish those boards and glue/nail them on once it’s screwed in position. To cut the notches for the leg I used a Japanese style razor saw. Markings don’t show on these boards so a piece of tape is put on so I can see what I’m supposed to cut. I was able to select one board with some interesting grain pattern for the front of the drawer unit. I know it’s a rustic piece but I still want that continous grain pattern flowing across the front from drawer to drawer. It’s really hard to see in this picture, the first step of the finish procedure was using a wire brush to remove all of the dirt (and who knows what else!) from the board. Next it will receive multiple coats of clear, satin varnish.
We just had a rain storm move in, not too good for shooting the finish tomorrow so there may be a slight delay. Hope not because I received the Bubinga for the next project — a Mechanical Cellarette.