Friday, December 14, 2007

Drawer build (2)...

I've been busy building the dovetailed drawers. At this time, I have seven of eight drawers fairly complete (new,updated photo, all eight done). You can see the parts for the last one in the photo along with the completed drawers. Not long into the process, I developed a rhythm and the dovetails came along a little quicker than at the very beginning. This is one of those techniques where you need to keep practising otherwise the skills begin to lapse. If the saw cuts are placed correctly, or to use the expression "split the line"... the tails and pins go together quite well and snug. I hardly bother to test fit the tails and pins together, just apply glue and tap them together. You can usually tell if there is going to be a hangup in the mating process simply by aligning the pins and tails and pressing the two together with a little pressure. Another important consideration in the dovetail process is to make sure the baseline of both the tails and pins is aligned and parallel to the edge of the boards.

The drawer bottoms need to be measured, cut and inserted next, they are simply pinned at the bottom of the back of the drawer.... this allows the drawer bottom to be removable and replaceable if necessary. There is more than sufficient strength for the drawer bottoms as they are located within a groove on the sides and front of the drawer.The drawers are very lightly oiled at this point and I'll apply wax to them later on in the finishing process. The drawer fronts are for the most part, quartersawn or rift sawn grain orientation, this allows any expansion and contraction to occur in the thickness of the drawer front, and also creates a more stable drawer front. Quartersawn oriented grain also allows the drawer fronts to remain fairly snug in their respective drawer opening with hardly any movement in height, this maintains a consistent reveal around each drawer opening. Each drawer will also be lined and have removable drawer inserts forming small compartments within the drawer. The drawer fronts slowly become darker and the contrast with the drawer sides becomes more enhanced.

I need to begin designing and creating the drawer pulls next. The drawer pulls will be mortised into the center of each drawer front. At this time I'm leaning towards rectangular pulls with a small tenon which fits into a small horizontal groove in the drawer front. I haven't decide whether to use blackwood (original design) or a more subtle wood. I need to take into consideration the fact that the cherry slowly darkens over time, changing the contrast with the drawer pull.

I've been looking forward to seeing these drawers in their drawer openings, it gives me a sense that the completion of this armoire is not far away. Some of the next steps are the completion of a stand for the jewelry armoire, some detailed decorative work time permitting, and of course the finishing process. All this will occur within the next few days.

We need to brace ourselves up here, a huge winter snow storm is on its way and should arrive here this Sunday. Winter doesn't technically begin until next Friday, Dec. 21, but we're well into it already. This contrasts with a relatively mild winter we had last year. I also can't believe how close Christmas is, seems like it was autumn just a short time ago.


amish said...

i just stumbled onto your page and WOW! great stuff! i just have a question about your last post concerning the mortise for the drawer pulls. is the drawer already glued up when you cut the mortise? and what in your opinion would be the best way to cut this mortise?

Norman Pirollo said...

Good question.. and it is really going to depend on the drawer pull design. My original design calls for a flat rectangular black pull with a short tenon and two shoulders on either side. I was going to use a router table to create the initial groove and then square the sides of the groove with a small detail chisel. In this case, I want the mortise walls to be as clean and straight looking as possible as they are partially visible.

No I'm leaning towards a similar rectangular pull but with a tenon and four shoulders instead. The shoulders are all around and this enable me to completely house the tenon within the mortise. If I do it this way I can go ahead and simply create the rectangular mortise with hand tools i.e. chisels ,without too much emphasis on the perfect mortise. Hope this answers your question. Stay tuned for what I decide on, and thanks for asking.