Penguin Tool Chest #10: Fitting Drawers and Making Mistakes

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Blog entry by bobasaurus posted 02-07-2012 05:33 AM 4159 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Slow Drawer Progress Part 10 of Penguin Tool Chest series Part 11: Attaching the Lid and Final Sanding »

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 (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

3 comments so far

View Woodenwizard's profile


1340 posts in 3184 days

#1 posted 02-07-2012 05:48 AM

WOW! This is really strating to look GREAT!

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Egor's profile


135 posts in 4091 days

#2 posted 02-07-2012 06:06 AM

Looking good.

-- Brock, Illinois

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2831 days

#3 posted 02-08-2012 02:43 AM

I still maintain that is the nicest tool chest I have seen. Your patience and perseverence is being rewarded. I know you have been at this for a while as I’ve been following along and enjoying the journey. Routing the dado on the back is no big deal (proves you’re human) and I like the idea of contrasting strip to hide the goof.Keep up the good work.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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