New SawStop — Now what do you do?

John's Armoire Plan

John’s Armoire Plan

Why hand work of course!  The armoire project is just waiting to get out of the bathtub and back under construction.  You may recall the post where I assembled the front and rear frames.  Now that the excitement and set up of the new tablesaw is over (at least until the sliding table arrives!) it’s time to go back to the Armoire.  After glue up I noticed that I forgot to mortise out for one of the drawers.  It’s the lowest one on the left side, the mortises should have been cut on the dovetailed rail that spans the bottom of the piece.

The first step was to cut the rabbet on the drawer runner.  You know it’s a good practice to make an extra part and usually you don’t need it — this time that practice came in handy.  There are a total of  twelve runners required which I machined out during this blog.   To make just one it’s easier to do it with hand tools only beginning with the rabbet used to locate the drawer side guide.  I used the spare piece for my guide. Thought I’d try making a little video of this process, ended up doing it in two parts so here’s the first one:

Since watching someone planing is not the most exciting thing in the world, the rabbet is finished up (almost) in this second part:

Now it’s time to cut the pieces to size and add the tenons at each end.  I had thought of going to the SawStop but since hand work is really enjoyable I decided to use that approach instead.  You always hear that most of these processes can be done by hand in less time that it takes to set up power equipment.  Just for fun, I checked and it took me about 6 minutes to cut a mortise from start to finish.  I couldn’t fit a mortise gauge in between the  members of the frame so used the hollow mortise chisel for that once the lines were scribed to locate it.  The only dedicated mortise chisel I own is a 1/4″ and these are 3/8″ but it worked out okay.  Here’s the process:

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I found that the hollow chisel mortiser bit locked into the scribed lines that outlined the mortise.  I use the same technique as Peter Follensbee to cut mortises; start at the center and gradually work to the outer edges at an angle first then vertical as you reach the ends.

Next up is doing the tenons to match, again a pretty straight forward operation.  The wood I’m using is Alder and it cuts quite nicely.  Just a note on the pictures, I use the Black Diamond headlamp to help me see what I’m doing and it changes the coloration of the photos.

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The final step to making these drawer runners was to add the side guide, this is accomplished with glue and some brads.  My goal is to have the side guide and bottom runner end up being a strong  32nd. of an inch proud of the frame.  This will establish the reveal around each drawer.  I’ve had success with this on a single drawer so anxious to see how this will end up for this project.  I believe I can fine tune the reveal by using a rabbet block plane if needed.

SawStop with guard in place

SawStop with guard in place

Couldn’t let the day go without firing up the SawStop!  Decided to go OSHA approved and use the blade guard.  On the positive side of it, hooking up the vacuum virtually eliminated all of the sawdust, the negative is I feel as if the guard is blocking my vision and the way I’m comfortable guiding a piece through the saw.  I can see the advantage of using it if there is a lot of ripping to be done and the pieces are wide enough to handle next to the fence.  Other than that, I don’t like the feeling of having that piece disappear as it goes under the guard and not see it until it re-appears on the other side — feel as if I’ve lost control!  Does the phrase “teaching an old dog new tricks” have some validity here!


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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2 Responses to New SawStop — Now what do you do?

  1. forbeskm says:

    Very nice demo. I have a 78 myself but have not really used it yet. I have seen some people complain about the fence since its only one rod. Have you had any issues with the fence? I find I can do more things by hand faster these days than I can with my power tools, except for the bands saw :). I have destroyed many a piece with the router, of course I have created many things with it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. With the #78 I wrap my left hand around the fence and under the board pressing against it. Right hand pushes forward and things work out okay. Challenge will be when I begin to work on the panels for this unit and have to go against the grain — might wish for a skewed block plane or a router!


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