Building a Dr. White's Chest #11: Sanding and Fitting the Drawers

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 08-03-2013 03:47 PM 2245 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Building Dovetailed Drawers Part 11 of Building a Dr. White's Chest series Part 12: Applying Finish »

Sanding the Drawers
I’m at the dreaded sanding stage of this large cabinet project. Watch this video to view some of the tools and methods I use to sand the drawers.

The tools pictured in the photo above, from left to right, are the scraping plane blade, card scraper, Veritas sanding block, Fein Multi-Master sander, and the Mirka CEROS sander. The scrapers do a good job of removing excess glue and, when properly sharpened, can leave a surface so smooth that no sanding is needed. The Veritas sanding block uses 1/6 sheet of sandpaper and has a firm felt backing. It is excellent for controlled sanding of flat surfaces; such as scuffing the shellac between coats with 320-grit sandpaper. The Fein sander has a very tight oscillation pattern and is great for cleaning up corners or inside edges. The Mirka CEROS proved itself while sanding this large project. The Mirka’s strengths include lots of torque, low center of gravity, superior dust collection, and excellent ergonomics. Pairing the Mirka CEROS with the Abranet mesh sanding discs resulted in amazing performance. The Abranet sanding discs were durable, allowed efficient dust collection, and left a very smooth sanded surface.

Fitting the Drawers
The half-width drawers are fit with a gap of about 3/32” on each edge. This allows the drawer enough slop to move without binding. A perfectionist might attempt a tighter fit, but that would be counterproductive as the drawers would tend to jam.

The photo above shows the female portion of a guide track installed on the bottom of a full-width drawer. The tracks are fit with about a playing-card width of clearance to ensure smooth sliding and allow for the shellac finish. One drawer gave me troubles after finishing and I simply removed some wood off one edge of the male portion with a shoulder plane and the Fein sander. All of the drawers slid better once sanded and finished. I’ll apply a light coat of paste wax to the contact surfaces to reduce friction and increase the life of the shellac finish.

What’s Next?
In the final blog entry we’ll explore finishing techniques.

-- Mark, Minnesota

3 comments so far

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2093 days

#1 posted 08-03-2013 03:49 PM

Withdrew the post earlier since the video wasn’t playing reliably…seems to be working now.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 2091 days

#2 posted 08-03-2013 09:32 PM

What is that first photo??

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2093 days

#3 posted 08-03-2013 10:23 PM

The first one is the scraping and sanding tools that I use. The second one is the guide track on the bottom of a full-width drawer.

-- Mark, Minnesota

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