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Thread: New Project, a "Chester Drawers"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio

    New Project, a "Chester Drawers"

    First, a little "backstory", if you will. Long time ago( about Norm's first or second season) I started out in a 2-1/2 car garage shop...started making the usual hope chests/toy boxes, porch benchs, tables....then someone asked IF I could build a chest of drawers? I hadn't, yet, but gave it a try. Got to the point, word of mouth, and I was building about one a week..delivered. Had to find a few ways to move things along quicker....

    So, I developed a few ways to quickly build a 4 or 5 drawer chest of drawers...IF everything was in the shop on a Saturday morning...I was able to have something standing there, awaiting a finish on Sunday. Got pretty good at changing saw blade set-ups, too.....Throw in the other items people were wanting me to to be too much like just a job, and I already had one, Had sold and delivered over 130 chest of drawers....was getting a bit much.

    later, I toned things down, mainly just friends and family orders. Thought I could, with this next project, go over some of the things I did to build a chest of drawers...won't be any deadlines to meet, no real "Delivery" date. Basically, I took Norm Abram's 3 drawer chest of drawers, changed a few details. Instead of glued up panels for the sides, I made a frame & panel side. Instead of a glued up panel for the top, I designed a frame & panel style. One of the old selling points, I could climb up and sit on top of any of the chest of drawers I made. " 'ell fer stout".....So, if nobody minds, this next project will be about a new, improved version....

    I start with a trip to the lumberyards. Usually, I pick through, getting the best #2 Pine they have. Used to involve 2 x 4s, and 1 x s....A 1 x 8 x8' plank was enough for one drawer. 2 x 4s...needed four corner posts, the other 3 out of the 5 were ripped down into 1 x 2s. Webframes, kickers, rails for between the corner posts...plywood for the panels. Plus for the back of the case, and into a frame around the top. Used this sort of construction on the dresser I build for the Dungeon Shop a while back....

    I had a note pad in the shop....I needed to lay out the drawer spacings, and other details....wasn't a "formal" plan...well, today..I drew up a modern version of that "plan"
    plan 1.JPG
    Shaky hands don't work that well, this is a view from the side of the case..
    plan 2.JPG
    A view from the front....bottom rail may get a bit fancy...older ones were just straight across
    plan 3.JPG
    IF you were to look straight down the side panel, this is what you would find. The rail sits in rebates into the corner posts, rail also has a rebate to house a plywood panel. Posts are 1" thick, rails are 3/4" thick. Usually, a cove , or round-over detail between them. All these cuts were done at the tablesaw.

    Lumber has been bought, most of, today I hauled a few 1 x 2s to the shop...goal was to crosscut parts for the webframes...and maybe have them assembled by this weekend. Not as fast as I used to be...
    all done.JPG
    Needed 12 stiles, and 12 rails, the two "extras" are for the 17" long kickers. Stiles got a groove milled on the tablesaw, just like the old days...
    webframe stiles.JPG
    These are 24" long. Set up the fence, and made a couple passes, to center the groove..
    groove cleaner.JPG
    usually had a thin strip running right down the center....old days meant a quick adjust to the a days, I use a thin chisel( Has an Arrow logo) Plane is for leveling things a bit, flattening out a few curves/hills
    junior shavings.JPG
    Junior Jack, Millers Falls No. 11, Type 2. First half are done, second half is waiting their turn. Reset the fence and blade on the saw, and made a test tenon..
    tenon test fit 2.JPG
    Once I get this to fit the way I want, I can run the rails through. 4 rails, though, will need to be a tad thicker on the tenons...will do all that..tomorrow..back was having issues, and the Laundry ( i was on Laundry Detail) was done, I swept the floor, and hauled the clothes upstairs...that be enough, for one day..

    Stay tuned...7 days since surgery....trying to get moving around a bit better...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Borger, Texas

    Given your background in making these, this is going to be a fun build to follow, and also one where I will continue to learn from.

    Looking forward to it!

    Hope you are doing well with the recovery. I had surgery about 2&1/2 weeks ago, but at least got to go back to work after a dozen days. It is what it is, and I am on light duty, 20 lbs weight limit, but our superintendent told me that MY weight limit while at work is not 20 lbs, it is the weight of my (fairly good sized) coffee cup. Fortunately quite a bit of what I do does not involve heavy work. If I have to do heavier work I have to go get help.

    Thank you for the build, again it is going to be fun to follow. I am sure that there will be a lot of us following it!

    Last edited by Stew Denton; Yesterday at 12:13 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Sydney, Australia
    Looking forward to this one.
    I am getting closer to a start on 2 very similar units - made in Victorian Ash: a local hardwood down here.
    Mine will also have 5 drawers each with heights pretty much as you have drawn. I think I will be considerably slower than you.
    Hope the recovery goes well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
    Been a bit slow, today....all the tenons have been milled and fitted..
    6 done.JPG
    Tenons were cut on the tablesaw...had to keep adjusting the blade height, to either thicken, or thin to match a groove...Clamps kept things neat on the bench, and things didn't fall over..
    tenon trimmer.JPG
    And, in case a tenon was a hair too fat...we have ways...chin-powered tenon trimmer.

    Then a "little assembly" was tried....first, I needed to find enough stock to make 7 kickers..
    Then drill and counter-sink each end for a screw. 3/4" wire nails and glue to join the frames...used a clamp to pull things tight, and a square....finally, got 3 frames done!
    3 done.JPG
    Will try to do the other 3 frames tomorrow?
    countersink drill.JPG
    Still using the old countersink drill...
    counter sunk kicker.JPG
    1-1/8" long screw, and a smear of glue....roughly centered on the frame....
    brad corner.JPG
    "Couple of brads, while the glue dries"....
    Kind of tired and sore, I think that will be enough "PT" for today...
    Stay tuned..

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