Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dovetailed Drawer Web Frames

I was pretty nervous about this part, but with a few helpers I managed to remove most of the human error.  The main thing is to just take your time, go slow, don't take any cuts without checking the fit first.

I started by clamping a square-edged piece of scrap along the knife line.  This serves as a fence for my saw so I can't stray from the line in the wrong direction.  I decided to use my flush cut saw because it doesn't have any set on either side and wouldn't damage my fence as I was cutting.  It's also a pretty delicate blade and encourages me to go nice and easy so I don't break any teeth.

Cheater fence in place.

Press the saw against the fence with your fingers while you're cutting.

Don't cut past your baseline!  I left a tiny bit of extra here so I can pare it with a chisel to a perfect fit.

Both sides cut, so far so good.

Chopping out the waste is pretty easy.  I used a router plane after this just to make sure the slot was parallel with the inside face of the leg.

I thought I was going to use the ramp block (visible in the far left of this next photo) to guide my chisel while clearing out the rest of the waste in each dovetail socket, but it's really hard to pare end grain.  I ended up just being super careful and gradually working my way closer to my knife lines with really sharp chisels.  I did pretty good, surprisingly.  Some sockets have really tiny gaps and if they continue to bother me I can glue little wafers in during assembly, cut them flush, and no one will ever be able to see that a mistake was made.

One leg down. One to go.

This foremost one has what I consider to be a gap.  The baseline is smidge deeper than the dovetail.  Yes, I'm being that fussy.

It's starting to look like something!

Cutting the plywood panels only took a few minutes.

I didn't take many photos of this next part.  It's pretty straightforward.  I fitted these little blocks into the mortises I drilled into the front web frame rails.  They stop the drawer as it's being closed so that the front reveal is uniform for each drawer.

Drawer Closing Stops completed.  I'll plane them to height and tune them after the drawers are built. 

Bringing the brothers in ahead of glue-up day was a good idea.  Matt deduced that I wouldn't be able to drill and mount the opening stops after the carcase was assembled.  The height of the smallest drawers is only 2.75" and  I don't have a screwdriver or drill small enough to fit in that and turn a 90 degree angle.  So I drilled and mounted these so they're good to go.  Saves me a headache later on!  Thanks, Matt.

The hole drilled through the turn-button is as wide as the screw threads.  This prevents the screw from splitting these tiny parts as it's inserted.  There isn't much wood to withstand that kind of force.  The hole in the web frame itself is as wide as the barrel of the screw, allowing the threads to bite and secure the button, pulling the maple against the oak for a tight fit.  Each turn-button is stiff to turn and gives a sense of confidence that it's not going to flop around by vibration alone.  They should only turn when she physically turns them.  

The only really tricky part here was that I had to place the pivot point far enough back on the rail that the inside of the drawer face doesn't hit them (and instead hits the closing stops), but not so far back that the hole falls into the groove that receives the plywood panel.  There wasn't much room, but I managed to fit it.  I got lucky as I didn't plan for this in the original design.

Drawer Opening Turn-button Stops.

Next on the list: 

  • resaw the side panels and drawer kickers
  • drill the drawbore holes for the skirt rails
  • practice dry fitting until I know exactly what to do on assembly day

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