I’m not exactly sure when or why I began to refer to the 3 drawer section of the Armoire as a “doghouse”. Since it is my original design I suppose it can be called anything I want! In any case, these drawers need to be side hung with shop made wooden slides. This was my first attempt at doing this with flush fit drawers. With a 5 piece drawer that has an overlaid front it’s pretty simple since you can make the drawer narrower than the opening, make your wooden slides, and the drawer front will conceal them. Hadn’t really thought this out completely so much of it is designed on the fly.
Obviously, the first step to this process was to assemble the drawers. This began with cutting a 1/4″ x 5/8″ dado into each of the sides. After sanding the inside surfaces of them they were assembled with Old Brown Glue, clamped and allowed to dry.
In the right hand picture you can see the cauls used to put pressure on the tails only. I also use a piece of MDF sized to fit the bottom to help the drawer stay square. The corners are cut off to prevent any glue from sticking to it plus the edges of that piece are waxed. Now that I have the drawers assembled it’s time to begin making the runners. They’re made from a piece of quarter sawn, White Oak which should prove to be stable over the years. The middle upright is a panel and frame construction which means there are only two places to attach the right-hand side drawer runners, that’s easiest to understand by looking at the pictures. These are slightly more than an inch wide with a mounting tab at each end which yields a runner of approximately 1/4″.
To ensure that the bottom of those tabs was square I remembered something from Fine Woodworking magazine called a speed tenon. They removed all of the material by holding the board against the miter gauge and slowly advancing it while sliding it across the blade to the rip fence which was set for the tenon length. There was some controversy about the safety of that operation so cutting the bulk of the wood by hand seemed like the prudent thing to do.
Essentially, you only have one chance to get these in position correctly because of the way they are mounted. After drilling and countersinking the mounting holes a spacer was made to install the runners. The width of it was the distance of the bottom of the drawer to the bottom of the dado plus 1/16″ for clearance. Since the dado runs the entire length of the side, the drawer front will act as the drawer stop — this is 1/4″. After clamping the spacer to the right-hand side of the cabinet, that 1/4″ distance was set with a combination square, mounting holes pre-drilled and runner secured in place. So far so good!
The drawer was then inserted from the front to fit the left-side runner. This can only be accomplished from the rear of the cabinet. To fine tune it, the backside of the runner is planed until there is a nice fit between it and the drawer. Once I was satisfied with the fit it was attached the same way with spacer to establish the distance from the bottom and the square to measure the set back.
The same process was used to install the other two drawers. Knowing that the dado is in the exact same location on all of the drawers it was a matter of placing the spacer on top of the installed drawer and repeat the process. I purposely lowered the dovetail on the top of the upper drawer so it could be trimmed to fit the remaining space at the top, good pre-planning because it needed trimming!
After all of this the shop was pretty messy as this panoramic shot shows so it’s time to clean it up, try to get organized, and call it a day! I’m sure I’m not the only one that has tools, wood, screws, etc. strewn about the shop. Don’t know about you but I have a hard time functioning when the shop looks like this, hate to waste time trying to find things.