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Thread: New Project, a "Chester Drawers"

  1. #1
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    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 build....got 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 it...so, 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 fence...now 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
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    Steven,

    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!

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 02-13-2019 at 11:13 PM.

  3. #3
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    Steven,
    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.
    Peter

  4. #4
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    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..
    kicker.JPG
    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..

  5. #5
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    Blood thinners caused a few problems...where the Gall Bladder USED to be...is a hemotoma....so I spent MOST of the weekend in Lima Memorial Hospital...just got home a little bit ago...

    I did stop in at the Harbor Freight store....needed a few new clamps....

    need a good solid, 8 hour sleep,,,,the kind the Hospitals never let you get....then maybe some shop time...

  6. #6
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    need a good solid, 8 hour sleep,,,,the kind the Hospitals never let you get...
    One of the worst things in the hospital is when they sneak into your room at 3:00am and are standing right over your bed reading the monitors and they wake you up. It always scared the bejebbers out of me. After a while they finally followed my request of making a little noise when the came in. If they are going to wake you up at least they can do it in a way that doesn't set your heart to racing and makes it hard to fall back to sleep.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #7
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    Hey Steven,

    Good idea, I think it is a good idea to get some rest and get well after an event that is such that you had to be in the hospital. I am going fairly easy at it also for a while. It is a little over a week until I can get off of light duty.

    (I got chewed out by my wife a bit yesterday.....seems she didn't think it was a good idea for me to be using a belt sander.....she even weighed it on one of her scales. Fortunately it was only 14 pounds, but I was sure it was less than my 20 pound weight limit. She was not convinced until she weighed it. Even so I got a mild chew out, I think just for general principles and she didn't think I should be doing the belt sanding yet. If it had been over 20 pounds I would have been in bigger trouble.)

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 02-17-2019 at 3:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    One of the worst things in the hospital is when they sneak into your room at 3:00am and are standing right over your bed reading the monitors and they wake you up. It always scared the bejebbers out of me. After a while they finally followed my request of making a little noise when the came in. If they are going to wake you up at least they can do it in a way that doesn't set your heart to racing and makes it hard to fall back to sleep.

    jtk
    The one I hate, in the hospital, is when they come in in the evening and wake you up to give you your sleeping pill!

    Jim

  9. #9
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    Was just going to take two Harbor Freight "F" style clamps ( bought them on the way home, today) to the shop....wound up giving the 24" one a try out. Last three webframes are now built...no issues with the clamp. Also picked up a couple 4" C clamps....might need them...later.

    And that was it for today. All the kickers have been trimmed flush. Letting the last 3 frames dry. Depending on the Boss, need to buy a couple boards, tomorrow...

  10. #10
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    Ok..webframes are done..
    all frames completed.JPG
    The frame for the bottom of the case hase 2 kickers....more or less as a "backup" for the bottom of the face frame...
    skil saw.JPG
    Used this vintage saw to cut the two 2 x 4 x 8's down to 43" long...which left a 10" set up block..
    set up block.JPG
    Which I can use to set up the tablesaw cuts....
    set for finished width.JPG
    After I ripped the edges off, I had things set for 3" wide...blade did not cut all the way..
    not deep enough.JPG
    Missed by that much, Chief. Flip boards over, finish the cuts...
    not quite...jpg
    Same with these...in order to get to 1" thick...put a brand new blade on the bandsaw, and completed the cuts..
    Stay tuned, more to come, BRB
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
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    Hmmm, not sure how those "thumbnails" were posted, I didn't..
    Once the scraps were split off and out of the way..
    scraps.JPG
    Had to run a plane along the sawn face...
    planed.JPG
    Nice, flat and smooth. Then set up for a couple rebates...
    front posts.JPG
    Front posts only get one rebate...rails and plywood panels will get nailed and glued here...
    The back posts also get a rebate for a plywood back
    back rebates done.JPG
    Need to clean these up a bit. Just two tablesaw set ups per rebate...
    4 rebates done.JPG
    Set up for one cut, run all four post through, set up for the other cut, and run all four posts through. Then set up for the two cuts for the back.
    Set these aside...was just about enough fun for today...

    Need to haul the 1 x 4s to the shop, next. Reserve the best 26" lengths fo the face frame top and bottom....rest will get get to about 13" long,,and size for rails for the sides of the case.

    Stay tuned...

  12. #12
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    1 x 4s have been cut down. Found two sections 26" long without issues. The rest were cut to 13-1/2" long...then all the rebates were milled.
    rails top and bottom.JPG
    3" bottom rails, and 2-1/4" top rails. rebates on the ends are 3/4". leaves about a 1/4" left. rebate down the sides are 1/4" deep, by 1/2" wide....

    Alos milled 8 mid rails..
    mid rails.JPG
    Details?
    mid rail details.JPG
    Used the same thickness plywood, to set the sizes..
    IMG_7547.JPG
    Will be cutting panels to the correct sizes, as soon as I figure them out. Add a webframe..
    full layout.JPG
    Will use that to help lay out the drawer openings.
    Too many Doctor visits this week....might be a little while, before I get any more shop time..
    Stay tuned..

  13. #13
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    I'm enjoying this project Steven and look forward to the rest of it.

    But I am disappointed in your original post. I was really looking forward to reading why you called it a "Chester Drawers".

    You started out talking about Norm so I was anticipating a story on how Norm called it that in his early days. Or maybe a story about a grandkid or favorite uncle who called it a Chester Drawers.

    Don't leave us hanging.

    I hope you get better soon so you can spend more time in the shop. Same goes for you Stew.
    Marshall
    ---------------------------
    A Stickley fan boy.

  14. #14
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    Depends on where one is at....and how fast you saw it.....hard to write in Norm's accent. Some say "Chest-a draws", Some drag it out..'Chest ...of..Drawers". Some just blur the three words together into "Chester Drawers".

    Season 1 of the New Yankee Workshop, Norm made a 3 drawer piece. Except he used glued up panels for the sides and the top...

    Today, and the next two days....travel to see a different Doctor each day, each in a different city. Can't get a whole lot done, while driving around, all day.

  15. #15
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    Ok, clean bill of health from the Surgeon that worked me over...except for a restriction...nothing over 10 pounds, for the next 30 days. There goes using the Stanley No.8....
    On the way home, did a little shopping....plywood for drawer bottoms, the back of the case. 2 good 1 x 2s for the face frame. and a few supplies.

    Did a bit of layout work....clamped the pairs of corner post together, rebate to rebate...
    layout 1.JPG
    had to decide which end would be the "top" of the case...then start from there...
    top layout 1.JPG
    3 lines...corner block, webframe, kicker....which is why the top rail is a bit wider
    top layout 2.JPG
    from the "kicker" line down to the top of the next webframe is 5"..
    top mid rail.JPG
    These rails cover just the frame and kicker....repeat until I reached the bottom....two spaces @ 5", and the next three @ 6-1/2"
    bottom rail and feet.JPG
    Which left a bit to make into feet, of some sort...needed to clamp one set of post, and it's rails into a dry fit..
    clamped up.JPG
    So I could go along and measure the sizes of the plywood panels I need to cut....
    panel sizes.JPG
    And that was it, for today..
    IF I can't get to the next Doctor's Office tomorrow..( 5" of snow forecast) I may just hang out in the shop...have a new blade for the tablesaw
    new saw blade.JPG
    See how it does on plywood...

    Stay tuned

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