When I was a carpenter there was an expression that went something like this: “with every nail you drive, you’re driving yourself out of work”. Well, that may be true but it sure is nice to see the progress you make based on the work you’ve done. With that in mind I’m ecstatic to know that a major hurdle has been passed for the Armoire, it is now assembled. Such a great feeling to go from a drawing to seeing the actual piece take shape right before your eyes.
I knew going in that this would be a very complicated assembly process but based on the pegged mortise and tenon construction of the front and rear pieces I just couldn’t come up with any other way to go about it. That meant there were 20 mortise and tenon joints that needed to go together at one time with a total of 7 panels in between them. These had to be glued. Add to that the 12 drawer runners with tenons at each end that also needed to placed into their proper mortise! I doubt that I’m the only woodworker out there that gets stressed when it’s time to glue up and go through the process in their mind time and time again! I arranged to have some help this morning, they arrived at 7:00 am and the temps were in the mid-80’s. To make sure my mental plan would work I carefully labeled all of the parts and did a dry fit the day before by myself. I figured that if I could manage it alone without glue then with the help it was a doable process!
Diane handed us clamps and a mallet when needed but also took a bunch of pictures I’ll share as a slide show:
As you can see there was a lot to this process. I used my favorite glue for this type of work, Old Brown Glue. It has a long open time and is easy to clean up which is why I use it. Once we had the top frame part way onto the tenons, we stood it up. Now everyone of those drawer runners needed to be positioned. As we got closer and things lined up it was time to start clamping them home. The panels were a bit of a hassle but with the three of us coaxing it we succeeded. We hustled knowing the heat would cause the glue to gel so like they say “time is of the essence”. Since there were three of us I bought two more bottles of glue. With our time crunch, sharing one bottle between the three of us just didn’t seem like a good option!
The glue will dry over-night before removing the clamps. In the meantime, a 2×4 screwed to a furniture dolly will allow me to move it around. The drawer sides and back will be dovetailed and made of soft Maple. You can see that the Alder runners are slightly proud of the case members to give a uniform reveal. Years ago I read a woodworking article that suggested sizing each drawer side prior to dovetailing them so now I’ll have the chance to try this. As near as I can tell, the runners are pretty square. If needed there is a bit of movement and I may pin them from the bottom. Next up will be adding the enclosure for the three smaller, side hung drawers located in the top center section. Still have a long way to go before this piece is upstairs but we’re making progress!