Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Drawer pulls...

I've been working on the drawer pulls since my last post. This involves designing the pulls, selecting the preferred wood to use for the pulls, deciding on a size for the pulls, laying out the pulls, and shaping them. I have to admit this is one of my most enjoyable processes. Pulls often add considerably to a cabinet both in aesthetics and design. The pulls are often a draw to the cabinet if they complement the cabinet yet impart a unique addition to the cabinet. The pull design I came up with is a rectangular one with a tenon extending out. The pulls are of mixed cocobolo so both heartwood and sapwood create a nice contrast in colors. The tenon has shoulders on four sides to overlay the drawer front. This tenon fits into a matching mortise in the drawer front. The mortise is marked and created using hand tools, namely small chisels.

Creating the tenon is meticulous work and I used a small, fine saw to delineate the tenon from the actual pull area. Once this is done, I use a skew rabbet block plane and some small chisels to shape the sides of the tenon. The important part of this sequence is to accurately mark the mortise to fit the tenon. A mistake here could ruin the drawer front or involve a re-design of the pulls to correct the error. The tenons of the drawer pulls fit tightly into the mortise and then glued in. I also take some time to orient the drawer pull graphics and orientation to match each other.

After completing and installing the three drawers pulls I proceeded to the right hand door of the cabinet. This door pull is similar to the drawer pulls to maintain harmony in the design. This design involves one pull on this door to distinguish this door as the one to open first. I've always liked the idea of having a single pull on the cabinet front, it just looks like a clean, minimalist design. This door pull is also slightly offset towards the bottom of the door to minimize any impact it might have on the door graphics as more of the door graphics are now visible above the door pull.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Drawer bottoms...

Creating and fitting the drawer bottoms was the last step for me in the drawer creation process for the cabinet. The conventional approach for installing drawer bottoms is to create a groove in each of the sides as well as in the drawer front. These grooves are carefully marked to maintain enough material below the groove while keeping the groove itself as low in the drawer as possible. Another consideration in the location of these grooves is to not affect the dovetail joint, or at least the visible part of the joint. Once this is performed I needed to create the drawer bottoms.

The drawer bottoms fit into the grooves in the sides and drawer front. The drawer bottom is accurately fitted so the grain orientation is from front to back. This allows the drawer bottom to remain tight in the grooves and instead any movement is directed towards the back of the drawer bottom. The thickness of the drawer bottoms is another consideration. I wanted to maintain strength in the bottom but at the same time make the bottoms fit into the narrow grooves. This is accomplished by rabbeting the drawer bottoms to fit the grooves while the rest of the drawer bottom remains thicker, in this case a little over 1/8 inch thicker. The rabbets are also created while maintaining a small reveal in the two sides and the drawer front. This can be seen in the above photo. The drawer bottoms are now strong, fit tightly, are replaceable, and are pinned to the back of the drawer. The drawer bottoms are loosely pinned to the drawer backs to allow for wood movement.

Next I will continue to fine tune the fit of the drawers into their respective drawer compartments and then I will create and fit the drawer pulls.