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Chest of Drawers #1: Case Construction

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Blog entry by mitchota posted 08-29-2013 10:51 PM 1212 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Chest of Drawers series Part 2: Still can't make drawers to save my life »

I started work on a chest of drawers yesterday for my bedroom. My original plan was to make it out of oak plywood and solid oak for the face frame, drawer fronts, and moldings, but as luck would have it, there was no oak plywood anywhere I could get it easily. I did, however, find some nice looking pieces of birch plywood, so I grabbed a sheet of that and I have to pick up the solid material today. I think I’m just going to use pine since this is supposed to be a Shaker inspired design.

Cutting out the plywood gave me a fair chance to use my outfeed table for its intended purpose. I worked out my cutlist so that I would end up with a 6’ long piece of plywood that I would rip down to make the sides, top, bottom, and associated small frame parts. Ripping it was no problem, and my outfeed worked exactly how it should have. Safe work is always a good thing!

After I ripped out the big pieces, I started working on making dust frames. This chest of drawers is just about 36” wide, so I decided to make the dust frame pieces a little wider than I thought I should since I wasn’t using solid wood and I didn’t want the frames to sag. I know that I’ll eliminate any sagging by putting on the face frame, but I just wanted to be sure.

After I got the dust frames together, I cut all the necessary dadoes and stuff last night and did a quick dry-fit. Everything went together fine and I left it for last night and restarted work on it this morning.

Assembly took me a bit of time since this is the first time I’ve put together something this large. I switched out to Titebond III so that I had a few more minutes of open assembly time, and it definitely came in helpful. I channeled my inner Norm and toe-nailed the frames to the sides. This was also my first chance to use a narrow crown stapler I got from Harbor Freight, and to my surprise, it worked extremely well for stapling on the plywood back. Everything measured out as square as I could get it, and I’m waiting for the glue to dry.

I did get a really quick learning moment while using my brad nailer that I should have attached my dust frames to the sides in the opposite order that I did since I ran out of room to get the nailer into the middle of the case, so the glue is doing all the work there. Had I done it the opposite way, I think it would have worked out better.

Overall, I don’t have too many headaches from this build so far. I’m sure I’ll probably do something dumb like miscut a drawer bottom since I always seem to do that. At least I have the knowledge that 1/4” plywood is cheap, so I can get another sheet if I really have to.



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