Home > Woodworking > 10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Part 4

10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Part 4

I hope all my US friends had a safe and rewarding Labor Day weekend. I was able to get a couple things done around the house including a huge mowing job and some laundry. Better yet, I cobbled together a day of work on the tool chest

Build Day 6

Work has been slow but study with respect to gluing up the drawer bottoms to the frames. I bring two frames and two bottoms over to my bench and after applying glue to the perimeter of the frame, glue and pin nail. Then the bottoms of the two frames are placed face to face and I glued the assembly adding 10 clamps about the perimeter. I set the timer for 30 minutes after which I unclamp the drawers and slice off the glue squeeze out. This process is repeated until all the drawer bottoms have been glued. During the 30 minute glue setup period, I fit the previously glued drawers to the case using a block plane on the plywood sides. All but two of the drawers slide easily now with two that work OK but I’m still not happy with them.

Once I had the drawers completed, I could move to the next step, attaching the drawer pulls. The plans called for 3/4″ purple heart plugs made with a plug cutter. As I previously mentioned, I wasn’t going to use purple heart this time and although I could have made plugs out of pine, or oak or cypress, I decided the best course was to use the poplar dowel I had purchased for the job. This would save me time and I was concerned the plugs would not look good. Pine is too soft and the sides of the plug look would not be suitable for pulls. Using a hand saw I cut 10 3/4″ poplar blanks from my dowel and then trued them up on my belt sander. To give them a bit of character, I beveled the exposed edges by hand, to give them a “rustic hand-made” appearance. Right, well if I had cobbled up some sort of jig perhaps I could have made them a bit more uniform but being a novice, I opted to embrace the whole “it’s not perfect because it’s made by hand” theme.

Using a 1/4″ ply cut-off I made a template of the drawer face, drilling an 1/8″ hole where I wanted the pulls to be mounted. I chucked up an 1/8″ drill bit and a set a depth stop collar to prevent me from carelessly drilling right on through my drawer front (Yikes!). Pulls were attached using an 1/8″ dowel so  hole also had to be drilled in the center of each pull. Mr. Stack shows jig he used on the drill press, essentially a board with V notch cut so the plug can be held exactly in place. I tried this but my holes weren’t in the center of the pull. This has been a nagging problem in my skill set and I’m still looking for a good circle center finder tool. I have one but it doesn’t work. Anyway, the next time I do this I’m going to try drilling a slightly over-sized hole the size of the plug so that I know the plug can’t move, then dial in the center using test pieces. For this assembly however I worked a different solution. Even though my dowel hole wasn’t perfectly centered, I drilled all 10 pulls the same. During the glue up, I spun them all around so that the pull reached its lowest point and thus they would all be essentially lined up. Of course I just eye-balled it but I now repeat the adage, “if it looks fair it is fair” and it will just add to that “rustic charm”.

Build Day 7 – (couple hours)

The final step of the actual build phase will be to route 1/4″ beads along the top and bottom of each drawer. As I’ve said before, I have a love-hate relationship with the router and although I respect its capabilities, she scares me a bit. The first thing I had to do was to even figure out which router bit I needed to purchase to make the bead. I didn’t even know what it was called and when I searched for beading router bits I learned there were many profiles including the humble and venerable round over bit. I finally found this profile called either “traditional beading” or in other cases “corner beading”. Then I couldn’t decide which bit to purchase Amana, Whiteside, CMT, Freud, etc. and then I balked at the prices. So then I started looking at the possibility of making a scratch stock beading profile and found it entirely approachable. So much so that I’d love to try my hand at it, sometime but for this project I pulled the trigger on a CMT 1/4″ radius 1/2″ shank corner beading bit. Being a Prime Member (hey I’m special!) I promptly received the bit in 2 days and only when I opened it up did I realize the mistake I had made. Although the plans call for a 1/4″ bead I needed an 1/8″ radius bit to make that 1/4″ bead. Truly a Rookie mistake but one that didn’t really surprise me because earlier I had read a review about a customer complaining that he ordered the right bit but they had labeled it incorrectly and it was the confusion thing between radius versus full bead (diameter) being double.  So the good thing about being a Prime Member is I can quickly and easily order another bit, this time in the correct size. It should be delivered tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I chucked up my flush trim router bit and routed the leading edge of the drawer bottoms flush to the drawer fronts. I had left these proud both to leave me wiggle room but also to have something to grab so I could open the drawers before the pulls were installed. This only took me an hour or so once I removed all the lumber from my router table. The only trick here was to clamp on a couple pieces of ply to the sides to give the bearing something to track on. Remember these pieces extend beyond the drawer face and I didn’t want to round them over carelessly. With the fronts of the bottoms now flush with the drawer fronts, I’m ready to route the beads. I have a funeral to attend this Saturday but with luck, I’ll be about to complete this final step on Sunday.

Then it will be my favorite pastime – finishing! If I get some time prior to the weekend, I can get the case and drawers sanded. I’ll have to clean up the drawers after beading but in theory I could seal and coat the case ahead of time. I’m going with shellac.

Nearing Completion of the Build

Nearing Completion of the Build

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

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