002: a rolling base for my planer #2: flush sanding, a drawer, and a nice big mistake

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 05-20-2009 01:33 PM 6327 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: general assembly Part 2 of 002: a rolling base for my planer series Part 3: at last, a drawer »

I got the casters on yesterday, cutting some scrap wood board to fit along the edges inside the bottom, and joining them in with pocket hole screws from underneath. Extra sturdy now, and the wheels are all in plane with each other. I wasn’t sure how tall they were, and it was critical, as I was designing this to be as high as possible, while still fitting comfortably under my work table. I have Rockler’s digital height gauge, and it showed me they were all exactly 2.5” (actually about 2.46”-2.48” :).

planer on rolling base

I factored the wheel heights into my on-the-fly designing, and when I put the planer on the top of the assembled cabinet (w/ wheels), it was all exactly 1/4” shorter than the table’s clearance. It fits perfectly. Sweet!

The aggressive 60-grit random orbital sanding got everything flushed up pretty well, too, as seen here:

front of planer rolling base

That baltic birch is always so amazing to me, after a lifetime of construction grade ply.

flushly sanded face frame and top

Note that the handles stick over, in case I need to lift it again one day. I hate picking this thing up. It’s like dead lifting. I have to stretch everything out first, shake out my hands, crack my shoulders, elbow, neck, wrists, jump up and down and wobble my head left and right, like I’m preparing for a boxing match. Then I take a deep breath, and straining, hoist it into the air finally. This cart is supposed to do away with all of that forever.

more flush sanding on the edges

That poplar can be pretty nice looking. Here’s the drawer glue-up, all made of scrap ply and 1/4” hardboard from different projects. It’s so nice to dig into scrap, and only scrap. All my projects require trip after trip to Home Depot, because no scrap is quite right. I guess I finally reached critical mass:

drawer glue-up

I used simple rabbet joints for the drawer, glue-only, clamped tightly. With minimal sanding it was all very flush. I over-sanded a bit on the front panel, but that will have a decorative poplar piece that matches the rest of the cabinet screwed over it, so it doesn’t matter:

rabbet joint on drawer sides

I cut the rabbets with 4 passes through the saw table, moving the ShopStop on the Incra Miter 3000. It has teeth that positively lock every 1/32”, so I could pretty quickly run through the cuts. No need for a dado set, or for cleaning off the currently-buried router table. I’m rearranging for better flow, so the router should be easily accessible again soon.

I’ve made a handful of drawers before, but I think this was the most sharp and clean one yet:

bottom of drawer

And now for the bad news, the ‘big mistake’ in the title. I didn’t forget, but rather completely failed to notice that the rabbet joints made the drawer a 1/2” wider, so my very exacting work gave me a glued-up drawer that is exactly 1/2” too wide. I was doing so well, too! I screwed the bottom-mount drawer slides in, and did a test fit. Each drawer slide needs 1/2” clearance between the drawer wall and cabinet wall. With the drawer 1/2” too wide, one slide fits in, as does the drawer, and then the other slide is completely out of the hole, which is exactly right, for a drawer that is exactly 1/2” too wide:

drawer is too wide to fit

I have a couple of ideas to remedy this. I ran through a lot of options, from remaking the drawer, to routing the slides into the drawer 1/8”, to routing the slides into the cabinet walls, and relieving the front so the slides could slide in, etc, and didn’t like any option. I don’t want to buy new slides (e.g. for mounting under entirely, avoiding clearance issues altogether) as I want to keep this built entirely of my scrap, to deplete my pile, not add more hardware to the mix. My ideas are about fixing the drawer so it’s the right length, with minimal redoing of anything. I’ll post on that next, when and if it works.

Wish me luck!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3240 days

#1 posted 05-20-2009 03:02 PM

Been there and done that as well. But I am sure that the next time you make a drawer it will have 1” of clearance! I have often said that we learn more from our mistakes than we do our successes. And, I can honestly say that I have learned a lot. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3410 days

#2 posted 05-20-2009 03:36 PM

I really like this project Gary because I really hate having to lift my ‘portable’ planer too, urgh.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 2919 days

#3 posted 05-20-2009 03:42 PM

Agree 100 % with Scott I have the same issue in my tiny shop>

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3067 days

#4 posted 05-20-2009 04:28 PM

Just redo the drawer- pretty straight forward, and least likely to mess anything else up – after all, youve got the cabinet so nice and clean – why mess it up with relief cuts, or narrow it’s thickness?

itll be less work for you to just rebuild the drawer – if you only glued those rabbet joints, you should be able to hammer it apart – even if the edges get tear out – you’ll be shortening those anyways…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Splinterman's profile


23066 posts in 2780 days

#5 posted 05-20-2009 05:26 PM

If anyone tells you that they have never made a mistake in woodworking….......they are a complete fool and a liar…............hang in there….........its looking good.

View Bret's profile


162 posts in 2913 days

#6 posted 05-20-2009 05:38 PM

Wow! Nicely done. Makes me wish for a similar base for my planer….

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2996 days

#7 posted 05-20-2009 05:46 PM

Hey Gary
Good stand. All you have to do is cut one side of your drawer by cutting it on the table saw being careful not to cut the bottom and reattach the one side with biscuits or screws. If you have 3/4” drawers you can just run each side on the jointer until you have the clearance you need. I’m sure you have considered all this already.

-- Custom furniture

View DaleM's profile


952 posts in 2802 days

#8 posted 05-20-2009 08:19 PM

I would just resaw 1/4 inch off each side on the bandsaw.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

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