Had a blast up at the Great Wolf Lodge this past weekend—as proof of our never-say-die, got to keep playing as long as we can attitude at the indoor water park hotel/resort, I offer a picture of my youngest the next day passed out in my recliner.
This is as quiet as he as ever been outside of his crib in his entire life! The kids are, needless to say, pooped. I am too, but the clock is ticking—we’re well into November now and Christmas is looming on the horizon. I have plenty of time to finish, but no time to screw around…so here we go.
First order of business was to clear-coat the legs and base now that everything is painted and dry and cured. I put on three thin coats for each, letting them dry a good 10 minutes or so between coats. It went on smooth and uniform, just like the primer and paint—I’m pretty impressed with the quality of these Rustoleum products.
While everything dried (that stuff stinks, by the way), I switched gears and took a deep breath. It was time for some serious joinery.
I’ve been thinking about these drawers for a while now. I marked out my tails and pulled out the mini-Moxon bench. Time to finally break in my little Veritas dovetail saw (I picked this up last year with a Woodcraft gift card at Christmas and never used it yet!):
After I cut the first set of tails (buttery smooth by the way, this saw is great!) I came to a dreadful realization: The wood I’m using (1/4” Aspen) is just too jittery and thin for my rudimentary dovetailing skills. After layout and cutting one side, I realized I still had 15 more to go—and this took almost 40 minutes. That’s too long, and likely going to be too sloppy. As much as I’d like to have dovetailed drawers on this thing, I’d also like to get it finished by December 25th.
That was much faster—I used the pull saw (man, I love that little saw) and my Bailey chisels and made short work of the cut and paring. In less than 5 minutes, one side was ready (compared to the 40 minutes for dovetailing).
It looked a lot cleaner too. I shrugged and carried on, cutting the next three sides and making rabbets in the front and back. With everything cut, I added glue and started to put it all together, hammering in nails as I went. I used a piece of painter’s tape to hold the frame together while I added the last piece. It kept things nice and square for me.
The only thing I had left to do was cut free a piece of 1/8” hardboard to serve as a base and nail it on. This, however, was an exercise in frustration—I don’t know how many times I had nails blow out through the sides as I tried to get this stupid piece of hardboard tacked on. Finally, after much swearing and plier pulling, I persuaded enough nails to stay in place and the base was nice and solid. Whew.
That’s when it hit me—I spent my entire shop time today on one drawer. And it’s not even done—I need to smooth out the sides and then fashion the false front and attach that before I can think about adding the rails…I need to rethink my method…the drawer I finished had three rabbeted corners and one half-dovetailed corner. It has about 10 nail holes from blowouts and because my saw cuts were not exactly true (when I cut the pieces to length—the rabbets are nice and sharp) the thing looks…rough.
Time to go think on how I can improve my cuts and make the next drawer look sharper. I may just chalk this one up to practice…
-- Steve http://vaughtwoodworks.wordpress.com