Tom’s Dresser – Drawer Guides

Drawer guides for upper web frame
Drawer guides for upper web frame

I am creating centered drawer guides for this project. The objective is to lessen racking potential with the (mostly) wide drawers, as well use the opportunity to try a new approach.

There are two types of one-inch wide guides: for two full-shelves (fixed horizontal shelf and case bottom) and for three web frames. The upper web frame will support two narrower upper drawers. Guides for fixed shelves will be 1/4 inch proud set in 1/8 dadoes. These guides will be glued into the front portion of the dado and allowed to float beyond that allowing for wood movement.

The web frame guides (4 of these) are fixed into the front frame member and allowed to float at the rear.

Tom’s Dresser – Web Frame Joinery

Testing web frame fit
Testing web frame fit

We are a bit out of sequence here. These steps were done prior to the dry assembly evaluation.

Material was milled for the drawer web frames. Mahogany for the front frame rails. They have tenons into mortises on side assemblies. Rear rails and side runners are poplar. They use sliding dovetails into sockets in the side assemblies. The side pieces have tenons to fit into front and rear rails. They will be glued to front pieces and left to float in rear rails. Side runners also have stopped “tongues” that ride in side dadoes for a bit of support. No glue on these.

The top web frame also has a middle runner that is used for the two side-by-side top drawers. This uses the same mortise and tenon joinery, but without the tongues.

Mortises were cut at the router table and the tenons at the table saw using a dado stack. These were intentionally left slightly oversized in thickness, then were fine tuned using a shoulder plane for a snug fit.

Once the joinery was completed the frame components were placed into the side assemblies to verify fit. In the images you can see a small gap intentionally left at the rear mortise and tenon for wood movement.

The top row vertical divider will be cut after a dry assembly is made to verify location and dimensions. That divider will use a sliding dovetail.

Tom’s Dresser – Evaluating Case Assembly

Dry assemble case
Dry assemble case

Jumping ahead with this post. Primary case components have been created so it is time to see how things fit together. Going through this process made it very clear that I will have multiple opportunities to mess up when using glue. I am marking the pieces as clearly as I can and will continually remind myself to look at those marks.

I have not cut  the Back Vertical Support (middle) and Vertical Divider (top row of drawers) yet. I wanted to take measurements from the case rather than count on my cut list (as if I had one). Then I will cut to size and create the joinery. Mortise and tenons for Back Support and short sliding dovetails for the Vertical Divider.

I’ve posted some images of the case coming together. I only used clamps for specific places required to take the measurements mentioned above. Once Back Support is in place I will finalize my strategy for the back panels. I feel more confident working from this trial assembly than sketches or plans.

I still have not decided on shaping for front apron and bottom of sides. Had thought of a subtle curve running full length. Also have to decide on any leg treatments.

Tom’s Dresser – Joinery, Part Two

Side assembly with more joinery
Side assembly with more joinery

Side assemblies are dry assembled to create mortises for drawer web frames. Front stiles will have mortise and tenons. I had planned to use exposed sliding dovetails, but along the way I decided to have a small reveal between the legs and set back for frames and drawer fronts. So mortise and tenons it will be. Back stiles will use sliding dovetails which will be hidden by the back element. Sides drawer runners (rails) will M&T into front (glued) and to rear stiles (no glue to allow case to expand/contract). These have stopped shallow dadoes (1/4 inch) into the side assemblies.

The upper web frame also has a center runner to provide support for the two side by side narrow drawers. This will be similarly use mortise and tenon into front and back stiles.

Next up: web frame construction

Tom’s Dresser: Sliding Dovetails, part 2

Beginning to look like a case
Beginning to look like a case

I created a taller auxiliary fence for the router table because of the tall panels that will run vertically past the dovetail bit. Making it out of one piece also helps to keep the panels flush during the routing operation. Feather boards are also used before and after the bit.

These cuts were done in small increments until I had a sufficiently tight fit. The micro-fence adjustment feature of the Woodpecker’s router table was much appreciated this task.

Stop cuts (of the sliding dovetails) were made with back saw and chisel.

With the sliding dovetails ready we did a dry assembly of the sides, case top, bottom and horizontal divider. It is beginning to look like a case.

Tom’s Dresser: Sliding Dovetails, part 1

Sliding dovetail routed
Sliding dovetail routed

The case bottom will be attached to the side assemblies using stopped, sliding dovetails. One of the horizontal dividers will be a full shelf and similarly attached. The bottom shelf will be fronted by an apron attached to the legs with mortise and tenon and glued to the shelf. Which means that no mahogany is necessary on that work piece. The horizontal divider has a three inch strip of mahogany for the show edge but no back mahogany edge as that will be behind the case back (design of which is still being pondered).

The router jig shown is from Marc Adam’s timely FWW #282 article. A dado is routed with a 3/8 inch straight bit just shy of full depth (1/2 inch) in two passes. After the four dadoes are cut, the jig is reversed, aligned and the sliding dovetails cut in one pass with a 14 degree dovetail router bit to 1/2 inch deep.

Next the two panels of poplar are glued up and milled to approximately 3/4 thick with edges of mahogany where appropriate. These panels will have sliding dovetails cut to fit the case side dovetail slots.

 

Tom’s Dresser – Joinery, part one

Fitting the case top to side panel.
Fitting the case top to side panel.

The case top is attached to the side assemblies with half blind dovetails. I began by marking and cutting the tail board (case top). Generally, I would have made the tails much wider than the pins, but as I am working without much in the way of plans, my brain got twisted around just a bit. Structurally they should be just fine, but they do look somewhat odd and it is more difficult to keep track of the tails and pins.

In the past, I’ve used a router or drill press to hog out waste on the half blind tail boards (sides) to establish a nice reference surface. I did get out the router and began to set it up, but was not comfortable that I could see my boundaries well. I realized I’d be much more comfortable using the saw, chisels and mallet. Fun stuff.

Next up will be a stopped sliding dovetail to attach the case bottom to the sides. I will use the nasty router for that operation.

Tom’s Dresser – Newly Arrived Mahogany

Belize river-salvaged, old-growth Mahogany
Belize river-salvaged, old-growth Mahogany

Received three boards of Belize river-salvaged, old-growth Mahogany from Greener Lumber, LLC. Love the authentic swamp smell. The 1-3/8 x 9 inch board will be for the Top and the two 1-1/8 x 9 inch boards will yield Drawer Fronts. All boards are from log 282. Big thank you to Rich Petty for helping me select these.

I won’t be using this material for a while. Having the actual boards will allow me to plan exact drawer heights and thus the location of  horizontal divider (full shelf) and web frames with confidence.

Relief Carving

Oxalis xOmel from photograph
Oxalis xOmel from photograph

In late 2013 I began to play with relief carving through Mary May’s wonderful online lessons. I do not foresee adding carvings to my furniture designs, however it is fun and adds depth to understanding cutting tools and techniques.

When the rains (hopefully) and short daylight hours of winter hit the driveway workshop, carving is an activity I can enjoy in my office where I have a small bench.

Mary has well over 100 projects with a new project added each week ranging from simple exercises to very complex. I bounced around the lessons, selecting those that were visually compelling or laid a foundation for those that caught my eye.

Here are some images from those early lessons and a few that were of my own conception.

 

 

Tom’s Dresser – Side Assemblies

Side assemblies
Side assemblies

Side panels are attached to legs to form the dresser sides. Interior surfaces are flush to accommodate drawer web frames. There is an approximate 1/8 inch reveal on outer surfaces [from legs to side panels]. Lots of long grain surface, so three floating tenons are mostly to aid alignment during glue up.

Today I did a dry fit and began to plan and mark up joinery for case top and bottom to the side assemblies. I’ll be using half blind dovetails for top and stopped sliding dovetail at the base to create the base.