Saturday, November 1, 2008

Drawer completion...

The three drawers are fairly complete now. There is some back and forth between my bench and the cabinet to test fit each of the drawers and tune them to their respective openings, almost like a ballet. Everything went smoothly with relatively minor tuning and fitting. I don't have the drawers too tight in their opening to allow for seasonal changes in movement of the wood. I had the drawer fronts just a tad proud of the opening and dialed them in just so.

I normally don't attach the back of the cabinet until the later stages of completion, but it's been such a long time with this particular cabinet, I guess I did permanently attach the back panel months ago. The small problem this introduces is that I cannot fit the drawers in completely for there is no way to get them out again without a pull on the drawer fronts. Fortunately, the fit was so good that a strip of masking tape is all I needed to pull the drawers out from their fully closed positions.

There is considerable hand tool work involved in fitting the drawers, but relatively no dust is generated, just fine shavings. I also prepared the bottoms for the drawers by rabbeting a solid wood panel on three sides. The rabbeted portion fits into the groove on the drawer front and sides. The drawer bottoms are easily removed for any reason which might come up. I also loosely attach the drawer bottom to the back of the drawer to allow for some wood movement between seasons. In the photo, the lipped drawer in the foreground has the bottom partially installed with rabbets and grooves visible. Next I make the final test fitting of the drawers and install the cabinet interior divider I prepared in the meantime.


Paul Kierstead said...

I have visions of pushing a drawer in to feel how tight it is, going to pull it out and realizing your kind of pooched. Now that is something to keep in mind of the future; I've never had the back, top and bottom all in place while fitting drawers, but I'll bet it could happen one day.

Norman Pirollo said...

I had an alternative at the ready just in case one or more of the drawers would bind when fully closed :)

Install a couple of small brass screws in the mortise area of each drawer to serve as temporary pulls.

In my previous cabinet, I had the foresight to make the drawer compartment a completely separate assembly and do the fitting of the drawers outside the main cabinet, worked out kind of well.

Of course, not every design will allow this.