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Thread: Transformations: The drawer - Part 1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Transformations: The drawer - Part 1






    It was my intention from the outset to hide the drawer as best as possible. This required that the drawer not have a pull or handle visible on the outside. To achieve this end, the drawer would need to be opened from the underside.


    Issue: Opening from the underside meant that the drawer would need to rest in a case which was open from below. Without a case bottom (i.e. drawer blades) on which the drawer could rest, the common method for a drawer would be a form of side hang.


    There are two methods for a side hung drawer that I know of, and I dislike both of them intensely! Partly because they require thick drawer sides, which lack aesthetic appeal for me.


    The first is a wooden slide (ugh!) which requires grooving the outside of the drawer sides ...





    The second method involves a metal slide (double ugh!!), which is ugly and belongs in a kitchen ...





    In the end I decided that I could build a drawer case with drawer blades open at the front. I have not seen anything like this before, but I live a sheltered life. I doubt this is original ... just re-inventing the wheel.





    There are four parts to the drawer build: the drawer size and design, the drawer case, fitting the drawer case, and the drawer.


    The drawer size and design





    The drawer is 230mm (9") wide and 280mm (11") deep. The width represents one third of the length of the apron. This works well since the depth of the drawer needs to be greater than the width to avoid racking. Racking would not be an issue if there were side slides (ugh!), but we are avoiding those thingies.


    Note the lip on the underside of the drawer front ...





    See the drawer lining up with the apron ... going ... going ..





    ... gone ...





    That lip is the drawer pull, and it doubles as the drawer stop.




    The drawer case


    Let's make the face of the drawer case.


    The original aprons were 100mm high. The new apron was to be 65mm, which was the height I calculated (with a life size drawing on a MDF sheet).


    The 65mm height included the drawer front, which would be 45mm high. That would leave a 20mm rail above the drawer.





    The first step here is to rip away 45mm from the original apron ...





    These two sections are jointed so that they may be perfectly flush once glued back together, and no join evident. The jointing was done on my large shooting board ...





    The drawer front is marked off - with a knife, not a pencil - from the centre of the 45mm wide board ...





    And then the drawer front is crosscut on the table saw. The cut area is covered in blue tape to minimise spelching ...



  2. #2
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    We are now left with four sections - the wide top, the two lower side sections, and the middle drawer front. The sections are glued back (taking care not to glue the drawer front back!) ...





    Once the glue has dried, plane the board flat ...





    Did you see it before?





    Now the board is ripped down to 65mm, leaving a 20mm rail above the drawer front.


    Here you can see the front and rear aprons. They have also been cut to length, given a tenon at each end. The apron tenons are angled 3 degrees for the splayed legs ...





    Part 2 will complete the drawer.


    Regards from Perth


    Derek

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Nicely done Derek. I had a suspicion you were going in that direction, but only because I just used much the same technique on a Limbert table to get the cut outs in the stretchers. If not for that table work I would have been puzzled. Clean, elegant solution with the drawer blades. Cool work.
    If it wasn't for the "last minute", nothing would ever get done.

  4. #4
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    I agree with Bill. Nice, clean, tight work as always Derek. I am surprised somewhat by your use of a TS to make the crosscuts on the drawer front, not for any "hand tool purity" clause nor to question your practice, just that I would have thought that a fine set, small tooth backsaw would seem to remove less material than a TS blade and present less interruption to the horizontal grain flow across the drawer front. But, from here, it looks like a laser cut to me. Many, many years ago I designed a simple drafting table style desktop with a shallow pencil drawer that hangs from runners as you designed and then accidently discovered that I did not need to order/fab pulls because of the underneath access. Pure accident on my part that I had forgotten about. Thanks for reminding me of that neat feature that can be used for drawer pulls. Returning to the table as a whole, your leg treatment was spot on and I hope to take some knowledge from that for some upcoming work I have in mind. Thanks for sharing.
    David

  5. #5
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    Great work Derek. I really don’t care for pulls on anything. Your solution is very good. I also like your shooting board, seen it before in your posts. Had to laugh a bit at the photo. When you do a quick take it appears you have the dust collector hooked to your shooting plane��

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    N. Idaho
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    Hi Derek,

    Great transformation and I've always admired 'hidden' drawers like yours. In your solution, I presume the top is thick enough to compensate for the thin (20 mm) rail?

    Thanks for sharing,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  7. #7
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    I think your friend is going to love the table. It's great to see the change from a blocky serviceable thing into an aesthetically pleasing piece.

    I made a desk one time with a full height cut-out drawer in the apron (and yeah, I used wooden slides and grooved the outside of the drawer box!).
    For strength I attached a 3/4" x 3/4" strip of wood along the inside bottom of the apron. My apron is 3 7/8" tall so I could do this, and I relieved the bottom back of the drawer front so fingers can grip it.

    One day, I swear, I'll be competent at making dovetails. The integrated drawer front is the bubbly in the champagne.
    Last edited by Mark Gibney; 07-03-2020 at 12:50 AM. Reason: clarification

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Eisenhauer View Post
    ... I am surprised somewhat by your use of a TS to make the crosscuts on the drawer front, not for any "hand tool purity" clause nor to question your practice, just that I would have thought that a fine set, small tooth backsaw would seem to remove less material than a TS blade and present less interruption to the horizontal grain flow across the drawer front. ...
    Hi David

    My reasoning was this: I could cut with a Japanese saw, which leaves a fine surface and a fine kerf. But I am still going to have to shoot the ends to ensure that they are perfectly square to one another - that is, both sides. That can add up to a wider kerf. The other factor is that Jarrah is brittle, and shooting an end runs the risk of spelching (even though I know how to minimise this by using a very fine chamfer - and that chamfer adds to the kerf).

    So, go for the table saw, which will leave a fine and square cut with a predictable cut/kerf. And examine the grain carefully - ultimately that determines what you can/cannot do.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

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