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Sweet Chest of Drawers Build #10: Biggest Blog Yet--The guts: part 2- Drawer runners/kickers

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Blog entry by Kyle posted 12-14-2012 05:21 AM 1912 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: The guts: part 1 Part 10 of Sweet Chest of Drawers Build series Part 11: Finish the panels before the glue-up »

To start off, I wanted to let you know that I’ve tried to put this blog together so you can read the words above the pictures and look at the picture at the same time. I’ve certainly come a long way since the beginning. Now it’s time to work on the drawer runners, as the title suggests. For me, this is where things are a bit more complicated. I decided to do mortise and tenon to join them to the front and back drawer dividers. I honestly can’t remember all the thought processes that went on in my head to get to where I ended up and it took a while for me to commit but I’ve committed.
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Here I’ve layed out all the pieces of poplar that will end up being the runners/kickers. The vertical drawer dividers are what make this a little tricky but I figured out how I want them to be. One thing I’ve had to think about are drawer guides; Since this is a frame and panel piece and not a solid case, my plan is to make some guides that will be under and inside the drawer sides. I know there has been talk on this site about how Charles Neil makes them, and if you know what I’m talking about, that’s my goal. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I can’t remember the link to where I saw them. Anyways, I’m not a big fan of drawers that have the routed groove on the sides of the drawers, so that’s the reason I’m doing it this way.
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I took a scrap piece of poplar and kind of showed my dad how I wanted the runner to look but since the I’ll be assembling the carcass and then the inside, I’m not sure it would be possible for it to look this way along with the mortise and tenon. My original idea was to put the drawer guides on the outside of the drawer, but that’s when I found the stuff on how Charles Neil did it.
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Gosh, I think that looks so good…
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Really good… But it’s not how I end up doing it.
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My intention is for the tops of the runners to act as runners, and the bottoms to act as the kickers. I’m pretty sure that’s an acceptable method. With that being said, the very top drawers need kickers as well but since there are no drawers above them, I need to make kickers for them, which will ultimately attach to the top. I think a lot of us on this website are picture people and not so much wordy people. I don’t know if anyone really reads any of the stuff I type or they just look at the pictures but I’ll continue to type my thoughts and hopefully I can satisfy both types of people at least a little bit. :)
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Note the sliding dovetails for the drawer dividers and how they recess into the rails. This was one reason I wished that I did stopped sliding dovetails. I’m really not worried about it because I’ll be conscious of them come glue up time to prevent them from recessing like that. I just wish I could glue them, hammer them home, and then move on. Oh well, lesson learned.
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So, as you guys can see, these pictures are mostly just layouts that help me get to where I want to go. Sometimes I wish I had plans for this, but I really enjoy doing it this way. I know my dad does too, “it’s a build-as-you-go,” he’s said to me before. I sometimes wonder how many of you lumberjocks are build-as-you-go people.
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On the right side (as well as the unseen left side) of the picture below this, there will be kickers that will be butt jointed to the sides since, dovetailing them to the front and back rails wouldn’t be possible during glue up. This is going to be over-engineered and the order of glue up of this puzzle would make it impossible to do it that way. You will see what I’m talking about when it comes to the blog about the glue up.
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So, while I thought and pondered and pondered and pondered on how I’m going to do these runners exactly, I disassembled the whole piece and routed a groove on the bottom and threw a bottom in there… Looks pretty, but unless I drop something under the dresser, I’ll never see it.
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Time to commit. Below, I slammed a bunch of mortises into the back rails without disassembling the piece…
Just kidding. I took all the rails out but still slammed the mortises into them where the runners will be. Note on the very bottom, there are no mortises and that’s because the rails were a lot easier to just take out and mortise. Unlike the bottom parts which are part of the carcass, I’ll have to disassemble the whole thing and make the mortises. For now, we’ll just stick with the easy stuff.
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Just a bunch of mortises.
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After all those were done, I made the tenons for the back part of the runners, and slid them on in. Nothing like a good fitting tenon.
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Yep…
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It looks like the bottom two are off angle but I assure you, they’re not, they’re just sagging. Those were a little on the loose side but I’m really not worried at all. The tops of the runners are under a 1/16” above the perpendicular rails, so the drawers will ride on the runners and not on the rails.
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After I made all the tenons for the back rails, I cut the runners to length (accounting for the front tenons) and made the front mortise and tenons.
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Yeah, I’m happy with that.
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Really happy…
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The reason I made the double tenon wider runner here is because, I thought it would be easier to put three drawer runners in at a time during glue up, rather than four and trying to line things up.
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Little by little…
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What looks like a runner on the top right will actually just serve as a kicker for the drawers below it.
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Looks all fancy.
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Still no screws in this baby.
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Now I need to make kickers for the top drawers since all of the other drawers have them so far.
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My goal is to make a double wide kicker just like the other ones just for ease of assembly. Since I can’t do mortise and tenon because of how the front and back top rails will be locked in with the vertical drawer divider’s sliding dovetails, I decided to do a half lapped double dovetail (terminology?).
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Cut the tails, then mark them out.
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Bang out the dovetail mortises. You may have noticed how the vertical divider below where the kicker is going to go is a little proud. I just cut a notch into the divider so the kicker can fit in there.
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See?
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Then I did it to the divider for the front.
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Tap it in place, stand back and admire.
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Same with the front. In the picture below, the divider looks recessed but I assure you, it’s not. This whole thing is still dry and for the pictures sake, I just put it in there so you could get the idea. Throughout this whole process of making the parts, I’m assembling and disassembling over and over again. It’s flush for sure in real life.
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The kicker and rails are the same thickness and I needed something for the kicker to fit into. Doing it through wouldn’t work for obvious reasons so that’s why they’re half lapped(?).
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Rafters…
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Dovetail-o-mania…
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Another shot of some of the joinery that no one will ever see (after assembly) besides these pictures.
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Remember when I said I didn’t make the bottom runners because I’d have to disassemble the whole carcass in order to make them? Well, it’s time to do that. I busted out some mortises in those rails and took another glance at another unseen joint.
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And here it is… the bottom runner. Imagine what the glue up is going to be like for this bottom portion. I’ve got the corner mortise and tenons, a bottom to fit into the groove, and the mortise and tenon drawer runners. We’ll see how that turns out when the time comes.
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I couldn’t get any more anti-climactic with this last photo. It’s just the glue up of the top side frame rails to the kickers. Unfortunately at this very moment, I forgot to take some pictures after assembling it all. Sorry guys.
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So maybe I’ll leave you with a little recap of this blog…
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Thanks for reading and/or looking.

-- Kyle



7 comments so far

View s2h's profile

s2h

29 posts in 740 days


#1 posted 12-14-2012 05:38 AM

Beautiful work. I love all the hidden details. In the end its about the quality you know that is in the piece. It looks fantastic.

View redryder's profile

redryder

2158 posts in 1755 days


#2 posted 12-14-2012 07:29 AM

Who are you, Roy Underhill??
How much time do you have in this project??

That’s enough questions. Nice sliding dovetails…....................

-- mike...............

View lj61673's profile

lj61673

231 posts in 1053 days


#3 posted 12-14-2012 12:07 PM

Certainly a very unconventional way of constructing a chest but….
You are missing a very important component, that is a “doubler”. These are mounted between the side rails (which you have ommitted) at each drawer location. They “double” the width of the rails and allow the rails to be flush with the legs, and also provide a guide for the drawer sides. Without them (like your pics) the drawers will skew a bit and hang up preevnting them from closing properly. Also, kickers are joined at the back with a half lap joint at the bottom of the ledger and a short tenon in front. The runners are joined at the ledger also with a half lap joint but this time on top and again at the front with a short tenon. This allows glue up of the case FIRST and fitting of the interior pieces after, not all at once like your double tenon requires.
Also, those dovetails at the top of your corner pieces are incorrect, they leave too little material and are sure to crack under any stress at all. You might like the way they look but they are weakening that connection.The proper connection is a mortise and tenon at the side rails with a double dovetail at the front between the corner leg and the top doubler…..
There is a reason why chests of drawers are constructed in a certain way. Many fine furniture makers have developed these techniques over many years accounting for strength and wood movement. Do some research and discover not only how a case is contructed but why.

View dub560's profile

dub560

606 posts in 1567 days


#4 posted 12-14-2012 10:04 PM

really nice work dude

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View Kyle's profile

Kyle

109 posts in 1297 days


#5 posted 12-15-2012 02:12 AM

s2h—Thank you. I sure have taken my time in building this and feel pretty good about most things. Some things I would have done differently but I think they’re fine for what this will be used for… storing clothes in my room.

Mike—I have spent a bunch of weekends since April, 2012 on it. I haven’t been keeping track because I’m just making it for myself and I just work on it when I don’t have anything else to do. I’m guessing I could be done by next April but I honestly don’t know. Work and school consume my life. Thanks

lj61673—Thank you for comparing my chest of drawers to fine furniture.

dub560—Thank you.

-- Kyle

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3360 posts in 1467 days


#6 posted 01-03-2013 07:35 PM

Kyle,
I would almost put a glass top on that dresser to show off all those half lap dovetails!
Looking really nice, keep up the good work.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Kyle's profile

Kyle

109 posts in 1297 days


#7 posted 01-06-2013 06:47 PM

Thanks, Willie… Maybe I’ll replace the raised panels will raised panels of glass too. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

This is sort of how I plan on doing the drawer guides. I’m not going to worry about them until I actually get the case glued up. This quarter in school will be jam-packed so, I don’t know how much progress I’ll make in the next couple months. You can bet I’ll be watching your blog and you flying by me with your progress.

-- Kyle

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