Little Tansu Inspired Case #3: Drawers

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Blog entry by Dorje posted 02-21-2008 11:14 AM 7428 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Keyed Miters and Drawer Parts Part 3 of Little Tansu Inspired Case series no next part

I had some time in the evening to continue on my little case…

I was able to get the drawer lock joints cut on the four little drawers. Fortunately, I set this up the other day. Without instructions, it took me a little longer than it probably should have. Once you dial in the height for a good fit, it’s all in the fence adjustment. Pretty decent little machine joint, that’ll be a lot faster to perform the next time:

Next up, I cut the grooves for the bottoms (on the table saw, but was wishing for one of those little LV plow planes), marked out for fielding the bottom panels, and fielded them with a block plane:

Here are a couple of dry fit drawers:

Glued ‘em, clamped ‘em, squared ‘em, and there you have it – the drawers will be ready to fit to the carcase next…

I’m pretty pleased with the process so far. I haven’t invested too much time and it seems to be coming along at a relatively smooth pace…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

18 comments so far

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3983 days

#1 posted 02-21-2008 11:29 AM

This is fun to watch. Great pics too!

-- Eric at

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3995 days

#2 posted 02-21-2008 12:27 PM

Still looking good Dorje! This thing will be very nice when you done!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4021 days

#3 posted 02-21-2008 01:22 PM

You are making progress.

By the way I looked up tansu and have a general idea what it is now. If it wasn’t for your post I might never have stumbled over this term. Thanks for educational inspiration.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4359 days

#4 posted 02-21-2008 01:26 PM

I, too, am enjoying the process

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4178 days

#5 posted 02-21-2008 02:42 PM

Nice job Dorje.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4187 days

#6 posted 02-21-2008 03:47 PM

Pretty cool.

Is there one height setting with that bit? Then just cut one piece flat and the other on end?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View SteveL's profile


173 posts in 3967 days

#7 posted 02-21-2008 03:56 PM

Very nice job with the drawers—I like the way the figure matches drawer-to-drawer on the entire drawer front stack.

-- SteveL

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4190 days

#8 posted 02-21-2008 04:35 PM

Looking good Dorje. I’m always really impressed with your photography, what kind of gear are you using (the colors and the lighting always seem spot on)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4289 days

#9 posted 02-21-2008 04:52 PM

Looking good. Nice grain patterns on those drawer fronts.

I cut that joint with a tablesaw for my planer cart, but used a very iniffecient method. Nice work.

How will those attach to the case?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4073 days

#10 posted 02-21-2008 07:47 PM

Your great sense of craftsmanship is showing in this process, Dorje. I like your attention to detail and use of traditional methods. This will be really nice when it’s done.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4196 days

#11 posted 02-22-2008 07:42 AM

Thanks all for your comments -

Gary – On the drawer lock bit, you set the height so positives and negatives match; it stays the same through the process. Fronts and backs are routed flat down on the table (as I’m sure you can imagine) and the sides are routed on edge. The kicker is that the fence is set back from the upper cutter, the width of the sides (or more for overlap drawers), when you do the fronts and backs, and then you move the fence in to set it dead on to the lower cutter when you do the sides.

Damian – I just use an Olympus didgtal camera…2.0megapixel or something. It’s pretty old at this point. I take a bunch of pics and a few usually turn out okay…Thanks for the nice words on the photos.

John – not sure I understand the question about attaching to the case…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4304 days

#12 posted 02-22-2008 08:01 PM

I was going to ask the camera question too. The light in your shop must be really good natural light, because those photos look great!

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4081 days

#13 posted 02-22-2008 09:09 PM

I had missed the first two posts on this little baby. Very nice. Thanks for sharing.
So I take it, you like the lock joint and would use it again? Just a lot of tweaking to setup?
I have done locking rabbets on the TS, but this has that nice little chamfer with it….

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4196 days

#14 posted 02-23-2008 01:28 AM

Thanks for you comments guys…

Jon – I have very little natural light in there and these were taken at night under regular incandescent bulbs…go figure.

Steve – I would use it again – and next time it wouldn’t take as much tweaking because I understand the geometry of the joint now…which is a relief.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View hobbylogger's profile


21 posts in 3912 days

#15 posted 03-29-2008 06:06 AM

Looks like a really fun project. the woods look very warm. Are they softwoods? I can’t wait to see the finished product. Looks great!

-- Daniel, Tumwater, Wa U.S.A.

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