Charles Neil lowboy build-along, # 15
When we left off in the last installment, we had the drawers together and we had sanded the inside and started to sand the outside. Continuing on, I used a number of different sanders to sand the outside of the drawers. I own a number of belt sanders, so to speed up the process I have three belt sanders with three different grits of sand paper to sand just the outside sides.
I use them very carefully as a belt sander can wipe-out a project quicker than any other sanders. After light passes with the belt sanders I use my random orbital sander and sand the remaining edges and finish up the sides, using up to 180 grit. I use the same ball shape router bit to sand the concave dimple in the back of the small drawer, but now have some PSA sandpaper attached to it.
Next comes the fitting of the drawers to the case. This involves a number of steps. The first step is that I take all the drawers and cut about 3/16 “off of the bottom of the drawer fronts with the table saw.
This insures there’s no catching of the drawer front on the case. The next step is to check and see how level the drawers fit on the drawer shelves. In other words, when you press on any of the drawers when in place, will they tilt or bounce up and down. To adjust any bounce, you can adjust the back of the drawer shelves where they are screwed to the back of the case. If I hadn’t mentioned it earlier, the holes in the back of the drawer shelves are oversized just for the purpose of adjustment. It may also necessary to plane a little off the bottom edge of any drawer that still bounces after adjusting the back screws. The next step is to install the drawers and see how they fit in each opening. After that, you start to install the side guides in the case
and then the wider center side guides that help tie the drawer shelves together, but still act as side guides for the drawers. After your drawers are adjusted so that they have no bounce and slide in and out without a large amount of side play , you’re ready for the next step. Now you take each drawer and put a bevel on the bottom edge just below where the drawer bottoms will slide in.
I used a rabbiting plane because it seems to fit the area pretty well.
It’s important not to bevel the first two inches or so. After planing the bevel so they were fairly even, I sand them a little just to clean them up. Now I put them back in the case and check how flat the drawers fronts are compared to the scroll board and the rest of the front of the case and line them up so that the lowest part of the drawer fronts are even with the front of the case.
Being very careful not to move the drawers from their alignment, I take some small blocks of wood that have been sized so their height won’t interfere with the drawer bottom and glue them on the case at the front corner of each side of the front inside corner of each drawer.
These will serve as stops for the drawers and also keep the drawers aligned side to side. Notice the tape at the corner where each stop goes. If you glue the drawer in place, you might destroy it trying to get it out. You might guess that the bevel put on the bottoms of the drawer s were to insure there is no binding with the alignment blocks.
This is typical of Charles’ woodworking genius and simple effect approaches to a problem of drawers that might otherwise would get jammed going in and out, no matter how much time you spend fitting them.
Now I’m ready for the next step, sanding the front of case and drawer all flush. That’s where we will start next time.
Remember, the techniques used are from Charles Neil’s subscription online webisode.
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