Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18

Thread: Chest of drawers help needed! *drawers*

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    SE Minnesota
    Posts
    36

    Chest of drawers help needed! *drawers*

    Hi all,

    I decided a while back to tackle a project outside of my experience and current abilities - a Chest of Drawers. Yeah, I know it's a piece of cake for a LOT of you out there, but it's stretching my abilities, and could use a bit of help. Gotta get this done - it's for my Grandson, and times-a-wastin!

    I have the carcass mostly done - working on the drawers, and am not quite sure how to proceed. I have the drawers "mostly" constructed - HB Dovetails in the front, through Dovetails in the back. QS Oak front, maple sides. Had to cheap out with plywood bottoms, but there you have it. 1/2" bottom drawer, dadoed into a groove in the sides and front. Back is cut short so bottom can be slid in.

    So, questions:

    The drawers have not yet been finished being sized to the individual openings. Wish they were just a tad longer, but we are LONG past that! The gap might be a bit wide....but not too bad, I don't think. With that in mind, what is the process here? Sand interior prior to assembly, then assemble, then finish sizing drawer? If I do that, then I can't pre-finish drawer front. Son wants quite a dark finish - want the pins to really pop next to the light maple sides on the drawers. Seems it would be really tough to size completely well before the drawer has been assembled!

    And - my dovetail creation was just a tad off - how best to level these (see photo)? Orbital sander? other?

    I've never done a dovetail drawer, and REALLY need some help - PLEASE.

    Couple photos attached. (for reference, the black gauge in photo is 1/16" thick. And, idiot that I am, I can't get them turned!!!)

    Again, thanks!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Goleta / Santa Barbara
    Posts
    910
    Gary, take a deep breath. You are doing fine, and all this can be managed.

    Depending on your tools available, if you have a hand plane, i would use that to to take thin shavings of the QS oak, at an angle. Others more knowledgeable than i will chime in, but if it were me, i would make a slight chamber on the front vertical leading edge of the drawer front - mainly to prevent blowout or pieces splintering off the face - and then i would use the flat side of the drawer side as my reference surface and smooth the proud oak until it meets the same plane as the maple side.

    Sander can do it, but go gingerly . . . .

    assuming your boxes are all square, you know from your drawer fronts the dimensions for the openings. I would build the carcass before any final trimming of the top or bottom of the drawer fronts.

    Again, others more experienced than I will be along shortly - or tomorrow - but your will be fine.

    Best, Patrick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    9,014
    Hi Gary

    Well done for taking the risk - that is how we all learn!

    I am assuming that you do not want to reduce the width of the drawer fronts. Therefore, to take down the raised pins - and you do not need to do so ... just call it your design! - what I would do is use a chisel to pare away the pins only. Leave the front section raised. Use a sharp knife to scribe the line behind which you will pare away the waste.

    I would not use a sander - it will destroy you nice, crisp lines. Do not use a hand plane, even a block plane, if you wish to save the section in front of the pins.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 03-03-2023 at 8:57 PM.

  4. #4
    Imho, perfect scenario to use a #4 hand plane. Don't use as sander.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    8,899
    I would finish construction of the carcass if you haven't already done so. Then I would proceed to fit the drawers as Derek recommended. Just pare away the pins until you get to the solid front section. You likely will need the full width of the fronts for fitting them correctly into the carcass.

    If you look at commercial furniture, many chest of drawers are made much as Derek described with respect to the drawers, except they use some type of sander or other machine to radius the transition of the solid section of the drawer front through the pins to where they meet the drawer side. Quite nice, and allows for quite a lot of wiggle room for the drawer to slide in and out. Not as elegant as well fitted drawers, but no one's the wiser because the fronts fit perfectly. And a further benefit of that radius is that it eliminates a hard transition between the side and front that could slam against the cabinet side when the drawer is closed.

    As for finishing the edges of the drawers the same as the front, it will be a simple task once you pare away the pins. Just wrap the drawer side where it meets the drawer front with tape and go to it.

    Very nice looking work so far. You've got this.

    John
    Last edited by John TenEyck; 03-03-2023 at 4:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NE Florida
    Posts
    209
    I also think Derek and John have the right idea...kind of like a rabbeted drawer front...just the rabbet is minimal.


    https://www.woodcraft.com/blog_entri...vetail-drawers
    Chris

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Ogden, UT
    Posts
    1,261
    Blog Entries
    1
    I guess I'm not totally clear what you are doing, but you can use a tablesaw w/ jig (https://youtu.be/AddH8IgL7wY) to flush up the dovetails. I have an expensive router jig for doing this type of work as well, but I like the TS method better. Manufactured jigs almost always seem to be cheesy, no matter how expensive they are.

    Sharp chisels and hand planes are of course always a good choice.

    What we don't know is the cabinet details.. face frame, no face frame, inset, overlay, hardware choice, etc. Not sure what gap you are referencing? The drawers you have look really nice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    63,532
    I'm with Derek, et al...a sharp, wide chisel to carefully pare off each raised pin with a slicing motion. Think of it as a very flat and sharp knife. This is a common technique that many woodworkers use to pare back material for a multitude of reasons. And honestly, you did a really nice job on those dovetails. In every respect, it's preferable to have those pins a hair proud and need to trim them back than the opposite which forces you to have to take material off the whole drawer box, reducing its width. In fact, it's pretty common for folks who hand-cut dovetails to intentionally leave them proud and then to refine them to perfection after the boxes are assembled and square.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    SE Minnesota
    Posts
    36
    Thanks for the input! I'll let you know how the progress goes...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    SE Minnesota
    Posts
    36
    A follow up question, if I mayÖ

    I understand, that I should not be putting any type of oil finish on the inside of the drawers. Iíve also heard that many people simply leave the drawers unfinished. My question is, does finishing the top and bottom edge of the drawer create the same problem? Planning an oil finish on the outside of the dresser, for obvious reasons would like the top and bottom edge of the drawer to look the same. Along the same lines, do I stain the half blind dovetail pins along with the top and bottom edges?

    I feel like this should be obvious and simple, and Iím probably overthinking it. Thank you for your patience and help.

  11. #11
    I use poly for drawers

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    8,899
    It's OK not to finish the drawer boxes, but it's also OK to do so as long as you don't use an oil based product. Shellac or waterborne varnish is fine, both inside and out. I always finish drawers that go into a vanity, for example.

    You should finish the edges of the drawer front the same as the front face. Staining the pins, however, is typically not done because of the difficulty in applying stain only to them w/o getting it on the drawer. Look at old cabinet drawers and you will see no finish was applied to them. In your case, the pins will get finished the same as the drawer sides anyway, so they will be finished.

    Apply no finish to the bottom edges of the drawer sides. They get waxed at the very end.

    John

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    SE Minnesota
    Posts
    36
    Thanks! No issues with having just one side of the wood sealed them? Won't have to worry about warping,etc? Maple drawer sides.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    63,532
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Kittleson View Post
    Thanks! No issues with having just one side of the wood sealed them? Won't have to worry about warping,etc? Maple drawer sides.
    No, there's no issue with leaving the drawers unfinished on the interior relative to meaningful wood movement.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    The reason I use a polyurethane finish on drawers is that it doesn't smell after it cures, gives a nice coat of protection and also keeps the drawer clean-looking. I find unfinished drawers collect dust in a way that makes it seem un-kept over time as the particles embed into the fibers of the wood.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •