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