I finally finished dovetailing the last of the drawers. The next step was to sand the sides until they would slide easily into the tool chest (I made them a little too large to facilitate the fitting process). After getting all six little drawers to fit without runners (crowning the sides a bit with the orbital sander, unfortunately, but I’ll flatten them better later on), I screwed their drawer runners in place:
I had applied one coat of finish to the dados and backs of the runners beforehand to seal against moisture, etc, without having to remove the runners again later and risk stripping the wood screw holes. The next step was routing the drawer sides for the runners. I spent ages measuring things with calipers, calculating exact distances, and doing test routes in scrap before routing the first drawer. And of course, it came out a little off anyways… sigh. I adjusted the cut a bit and rerouted the drawer and it fits okay now, though a little loose. The rest of the drawer routing went smoothly until I made one grave error:
I routed the damn back instead of the side on the first pass. And I thought I was being careful in the setup, too. At least it was on the back of the drawer instead of the front. I’ll cut a strip of wood and fill the slot, maybe even put a contrasting color or something in there to look different “on purpose” instead of an obvious fix.
Here are the first few drawers sliding in:
The bottom drawer took a bit more work. I sanded the sides smooth with a block to avoid the problems the orbital was having crowning the smaller drawers’ sides. Worked great, but took forever. Also, the middle divider of the carcass had bowed down a little, stopping insertion of the drawer while test fitting. I managed to get it flattened with a little block plane that would fit in the recess, followed by some sanding to remove the tracks (I’m not a great hand-planer yet). After a bit of planing on the drawer edges, I managed to get it pushed into place:
Looking pretty good, if uneven. Some sanding and planing will be required to flush the drawer faces after I’ve routed the bottom drawer sides. It’s starting to look complete, incredibly.
-- Allen, Colorado