If you looked up the word “procrastinate” at Merriam-Webster.com, you would find the following definition:
to put off intentionally and habitually
This word came to mind this past Sunday when our get-together at the neighbor’s house had to be re-scheduled. Suddenly, I had a large chunk of the day which could be devoted to building the drawer for my router table. But guess what? I got zero woodworking done; procrastination had taken firm hold of me and blocked me from my peaceful basement workshop. I place total blame for this sorry situation on the Accuride 3132 under-mount drawer slide.
Here’s the thing – as I started to bring the components for the drawer to final size, I could not get my head around how these drawer slides attach to the drawer. There were notches for the back of the drawer, screws driven at angles at the front, specific reduction to drawer height to deal with, and the kicker: these slides are really meant for overlay drawer fronts, not the inset drawer I had designed.
After mulling this over for quite a while, I decided to box up these slides and return them. I selected the much less perplexing side mount Accuride drawer slides which I have used many times in the past. It’s a shame really, I have always wanted to use those under-mount slides. The ones I purchased looked to be a feat of engineering and really good quality. I’ll give them a try on a future project.
Developing a drawer style
One of the things I want to accomplish with this project is come up with a method for drawer construction which is durable, has a little style and is within my ability to build quickly. I am not skilled in hand cut dovetails which is something I want to begin working on. Until I learn to make the beautiful dovetail joint, I’ll have to settle for another method of drawer joinery.
In 2010, I built a cabinet which had three drawers with through dowels at the corners. I can drill a hole with the best of them and the drawers in question have held up mighty well. I thought for my new router table I’d work on perfecting the pinned drawer joint.
If you look closely at the photo above, you will note the drawer side is 1/2 inch thick pine and the drawer front is slightly thicker at 3/4 inch. I like slender drawer sides; thicker at the front and back which gives me more wood for the dowels to sink into. I like using a drill guide to help me keep the drill as plumb as possible with less wandering of the bit as it enters the wood.
Even though the illustration at the top of the post shows three dowels at each corner, the drawers are tall enough for four. The holes are 1/4 inch and I used cherry hardwood dowels for the pins.
Adding the drawer slides and fitting, and more fitting
With the basic drawer finished I had to come up with something for the drawer slides to attach to. The combination of a face frame and an inset drawer means there is at least a little space between the case sides and the drawer. The contraption below is what I devised to fill this void.
I attached the drawer slide supports to the case sides using glue and screws – I even added a pocket screw to the little filler piece which attaches between the mahogany panels. Then it was time to plane the drawer width and height. Lots of fitting ensued and I became more familiar with my smoothing plane; frequently adjusting the depth of cut. I kept trying to find that sweet spot which combined good wood removal with ease of use, allowing the blade to pass without too much effort.
I then had to attach the mahogany drawer face and do some final fitting to ensure an even reveal all the way around it. I then cut a little chamfer around the edge of the drawer face. Instead of one center drawer knob, I decided to add a simple pull. I had hoped to get some finish on the drawer so I could see the mahogany in all its glory, but I simply ran out of time.
My thinking on this kind of drawer construction? I like it, but it still takes too long to make the drawer and do all the fine adjustments to make it operate smoothly. More development is needed.
In the next episode…
I’ll begin building the base which will really help this thing look like a router table. I’ll add the casters and soon the router table will be too big to sit on my workbench. I also want to plug some of the screw holes you see and add a little more paint. I hope to have another post up next weekend.
One other thing about procrastination – the definition above says the procrastinator intentionally and habitually delays tasks. That isn’t me at all, at least the habitual part. If anything I am more of an intermittent procrastinator, which makes me feel better.
For Further Reading
Fine Woodworking.com – Fine Drawers Without Dovetails
As always, thanks for reading.