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Shaker Cherry Nightstand - Handtool heavy #8: Step 8: drawer and French Bottom assembly

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Blog entry by Bertha posted 1221 days ago 3389 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Step 7: Fitting and constructing the drawer Part 8 of Shaker Cherry Nightstand - Handtool heavy series Part 9: Step #9: Final assembly-stop, guide, and button »

I’m getting started on the dovetailed & French Bottom’d drawer. For a discussion of the French Bottom, see:

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/24794

Mine will be a bit of a Modified French Bottom, as I’m not going to raise a significant panel on the drawer bottom. As promised, this project is fit-as-you-go, so I need to take some measurements and make some markings. Many will disapprove of my dovetails, as I prefer them coarse with very visible saw marks/marking gauge marks. These dovetails will be 1:6.

Now to turn my attention to the French Bottom! I want to first mill the sides within which the drawer bottom will float.

And cut them to fit within the drawer:

Now I’ll turn my attention to the dados. For this, I’ll use the trusty Stanley #50 because it’s fence is much less obtrusive compared to the #45.

Here’s how it will ultimately fit, however I’ll slightly tenon the drawer bottom so the fit isn’t this snug. I want there to be a drop-off between the bottom and the sides. Plus, for those who think I should have raised paneled my aprons, I promise that I know how to make them!!

Now I’ll start working on glueing up the drawer bottom. I’ll cut the components oversized, joint the edges, and glue up the panel.

Now, all that’s left is to fit the drawer bottom & rabbet the front/rear aprons; install the drawer and the top buttons to keep the top on. Thanks for looking!

OK, here’s the new drawer bottom & I’m glad I made the effort. I like this maple one much better. The Sweetheart scraper puts the final touches on the surface that will receive amber shellac.

I cut the drawer bottom to size on the RAS in honor of Neil (who I equate with the RAS and who’s responsible for my purchase, Craftsman that it is (sigh)).

For rebates, the Stanley #78 is my favorite plane. I’m going to execute a 3/8” rabbet to insert into the receiver on the French Bottom. This will give me 1/8” of play.

Oh yeah, the fit is what I’m looking for & the drawer bottom will be flush with the French Bottom receivers (what do you call these things anyway!):

This is how the drawer bottom will look:

Now I’ll trim the French Bottom receivers for a perfect fit:

I dado’d the drawer front 1/4” to receive the bottom. Look, I may an idiot, but I’m no fool. I cut the stopped dado on the router table & trimmed with a chisel & router plane. I included the router bit in the photo so I’d have no choice but to be honest! :)

Now, I’ll notch the rear drawer panel so that the bottom can be easily removed for cleaning:

Here’s how the drawer parts will come together:

Now for the glue-up, a complicated one (French bottom & dovetails simultaneously):

Now, if I might take the opportunity to share. For those who can’t or won’t purchase a $4000 cabinet saw with atomic clock, pneumatic self leveling, and integrated defibrillator, I can rip a 1/32” strip for feet with my $200 vintage JET contractor saw (with the motor hanging out of the back) with it’s original fence. I’d hate for someone to miss out on all this joy because they think they can’t afford to get into it.

I took the opportunity to coat the drawer botton with t 50:50 amber shellac while the drawer is drying:

OK, the drawer is off the clamps. I’m pretty pleased with the results & I think the French Bottom (or modified, in my case, since it’s sans the raising) is in my future:

Here’s the bottom for an idea of how it all comes together:

So here’s where we are now:

Now there’s only a few things left to do: 1) fix the rear drawer guides & stop block with pins/glue, 2) mount some shallow drawer guides on top of the main drawer guides, 3) button the top to the aprons, and 4) Finish!

For finish, I’m thinking amber shellac & wax for the innards. I’m thinking tinted Danish oil wetsanded on the outside. I like the glassy finish of wetsanded oils & I need this piece many shades darker to match my existing furniture. In truth, I’m more of a walnut guy but when a friend gives you wood, you cut the wood. I’m open to any and all suggestions about finishing. Thanks for looking!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog



15 comments so far

View therookie's profile

therookie

887 posts in 1424 days


#1 posted 1221 days ago

looking good cant wait till it is finished

-- http://aewoodworks.webs.com

View stockmaker's profile

stockmaker

160 posts in 1245 days


#2 posted 1221 days ago

nice tight work, keep up the pics.

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1711 days


#3 posted 1221 days ago

well now you have confused me … not that it take much to do so… LOL
but why make a glue up before you sharpen the drawknife on the clamp .. ?. ?. ?

take care
Dennis

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1289 days


#4 posted 1221 days ago

Ha! Dennis, you made me spit out my coffee! I’ve already apologized for shamelessly including pics of my favorite hand tools! That drawknife is a James Swan & I haven’t had the nerve yet to sharpen it.

But I do have a change of plans to report. I’m not happy with the bottom glue-up from yesterday and have re-started it (my right, right? :) ) I milled a piece of maple down to 5/8” thickness & I’m going to rabbet the top so that it will meet flush with the French Bottom sides. Although I prefer the look of the step-down, my fiance’ prefers a dead flat bottom. It’s glued up right now so I’ll post pics later!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1711 days


#5 posted 1221 days ago

don´t mess with the coffee .. shame on you :-)

I tend to agree with your fiancé a bottom has to bee flat and beside from the step down
is missing you will still have the look of a frence bottom .. so I will say its a fair compromis
to lieve with
I wuold just have med two growes in the side of the drawer and had the bottom slide
in from the back and fastned it with a screw ….. I´m so laazy I know that .. LOL

Dennis

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1770 days


#6 posted 1221 days ago

Okay. I’m starting NOT to like you.

You’re patient.
You’re methodical.
You don’t move without considering options.
You seem to plan your work and work your plan.
You improvise where improvisation is indicated.

AND … you seem to have very cool tools.

I want my money back.

:-)

Looking great ! Love the Dove (tails). Proportion is an entirely personal thing—at least until your improvisation begins to weaken the mechanical strength of a joint—so … I love it. Love everything about it.

But that’s me.

-- -- Neil

View Dave's profile

Dave

11141 posts in 1436 days


#7 posted 1221 days ago

Great work Al. Careful I once had a blog that made Dennis laugh and he pored his coffee into his keyboard. Would you consider loaning the vintage Stanley for a test run at my shop. jk;) That is on lovely looking plane.
I have to ask are you using tightbond III because of the open time and or the strength? I use III on most of my tails because of the open time.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1711 days


#8 posted 1220 days ago

OOh yah and the keybord still hang to dry just beside the big Pc jsu as a warning to me
it has been a very expencive year in keybords sofare ….. but I think I have learn only
to sip when I read comments on L J….. well I´m sure you guy´s will do everything to
catch me unprepared from now on …. :-( ..... LOL

take care
Dennis

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1289 days


#9 posted 1220 days ago

I’ll buy keyboards by the dozen if I ruin them over woodworking comments! To Neil, don’t hate me for my woodworking; there are plenty of other valid reasons to hate me. To wit, I’m pretty environmental unconscious and drive a truck that gets sub 10mpg; I’m also generally insensitive and pick through a nut mix, leaving the undesirables for my fiance’. See, plenty to hate outside of this hobby!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1289 days


#10 posted 1220 days ago

OK, updates posted above.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1770 days


#11 posted 1220 days ago

Luckily, Al, it isn’t an either/or proposition.

I can hate you for all of that, AND for your woodworking :-)

Cherry picking the trail mix … IS pretty uncool ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1289 days


#12 posted 1220 days ago

Neil, it is most definitely uncool but my finace’ engages in it as well. I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed one of those little pumpernickle crisps from a bag of Gardetto’s. Strangely, the open bags never contain them.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1770 days


#13 posted 1220 days ago

And neither does OUR trail mix EVER contain M&M’s.

... least … that’s my story, and I AM sticking with it !

I consider it an exercise in both dexterity AND hand-eye coordination, so … it’s about health :-)

-- -- Neil

View SouthpawCA's profile

SouthpawCA

254 posts in 1829 days


#14 posted 1220 days ago

OK … I love the french bottom. I did one around all 3 sides just for the fun of it out of contrasting wood. Another thing you could have done to get an almost flat bottom is to chamfer the french bottom pieces to almost meet the insert. However, the boss knows what she wants. I love that Stanley #50 I need to get me something like that.

-- Don

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1711 days


#15 posted 1220 days ago

thank´s for the updated picture´s Bertha :-)

Dennis

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