Home > Woodworking > 10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Part 3

10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Part 3

I was blessed with one day in the shop this weekend as Saturday was a road trip day for me and Susan. I finished up last weekend’s effort realizing that the drawer sides, backs and fronts were all proud and had to be fit to the case. Better too big than too small I suppose but having already glued up 4 of the 10 drawers meant it wouldn’t be as easy as running them through the table saw or so I found out.

Build Day 5 – Gluing and Fitting Drawer Sides

I thought that I had been careful to dial in my measurements when milling the drawer sides. I took my time and got it just right before starting on the sides glue up last weekend. After the glue-up I found none of the 4 fit and were both too tall and too wide for the case. Sigh. I’m really not surprised after all I have no previous experience with this sort of work so I’m reading and learning as I go. I reasoned that I could trim up the frame on the table saw which turned out to be true in the width dimension. The frame was wide and sturdy and when laid flat up against the rip fence the cut was smooth with just a bit of tear out on the end grain as the saw blade left the work piece. The tear out was worse on the oak face so I learned to lead with the oak, trimming approximately half off of each side of the frame until I dialed in the fit.

I found trimming the height on the table saw turned out to be a different story. I probably could have trimmed the awkward frame if I had bothered to make a tall fence jig to hold the piece vertically. I tried sawing one without a tall fence and it turned out how you might have predicted a real mess. Butchered it up pretty good but… I was able to salvage it by cleaning it up with a plane and using it on the top drawer which as it turns out was the smallest of all the evenly sized drawers. At this point I got real busy with the  block plane and it took a while but I was able to fit the 4 glued frames to the case.

Drawer Shavings  4 Down 6 Left to Go

Now that I had a better idea of sizing the sides, I took the unassembled pieces back to the table saw for tweaking prior to gluing.

Re-sized Drawer Sides and Fronts

I decided to see if my corner clamps were of any benefit gluing up these frames and I found that using all 4 provide great results.

Corner Clamps

I started by locking all four sides in place, squaring up the corners. Then I gently loosened the two clamps which held the front, applied glue then gently locked it back in place. Before cinching it down I applied quick clamps on both sides to draw the pieces together then locked it back with the miter clamp. I could then take the quick clamps off and repeat for the drawer back. The only draw back is that I could only glue up one frame at a time having to let things set up before moving to the next frame. I’m glad I tried it and would have completed all the frames this way had I experimented earlier.

10 Drawer Sides Glued

So the afternoon’s work found me with 10 glued up drawer frames. My next session I’ll be fitting the remaining drawers and then gluing the frames to the draw bottoms. After that I’ll be able to think about beading the drawers and fitting pulls. I predict it will be 2 or 3 more build days then I can start finishing the piece. Please don’t get me wrong, this hobby has taught me humility and patience and I’m not in a hurry. I enjoy my time working in the shop so it takes as long as it takes and that’s OK by me.

Lesson’s Learned

I’m learning shop tips and tricks all the time and some are pretty basic but very important. Last Friday I stumbled upon a Forrest Saw Blade video which happened to be sponsored by Woodcraft. I learned that the blade should be raised way above the work piece for ripping cuts, about one inch above the work piece for cross cuts and just clearing the tooth gullet for plywood. Dude, no wonder my rips were almost catching the wood on fire. Yes, you really need to be careful of that wicked spinning blade but I couldn’t believe the difference. I had been raising the blade so that the gullets just clear the wood for all cuts and on rips I could easily stop the blade the blade and lots of burning on the edges. Education is a good thing.

Using the miter clamps was good thing also and I’ve no doubt this trick will be useful on future builds.

And one other trick that I’ve yet to use but will do so once the drawers are finished and that is to the fix the chest so that it doesn’t rock. As I have learned, furniture with 4 legs often have this problem. With 3 points of attachment, you define a plane and if you add the 4th point, it too must be on the same plane or else you have rocking. Gary Rogowski, Director of The Northwest Woodworking Studio provided a great video tutorial on Leveling Chair Legs showing us how this problem can be easily and efficiently fixed. I won’t say “I can’t wait to try this” but I know I’m going to have to give it go because my chest rocks and that ain’t cool.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

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