I’m thoroughly convinced that I don’t know how to make drawers. Every single project I’ve made required me to make some drawers. Of course, since I’m making a chest of drawers, that would mean the drawers are the main feature. Of course, one would think that because I’ve made almost 20 drawers total when it comes to all my projects that I’d have a procedure down. Until the other day, I thought I had a procedure that worked too.
My first major mistake came from the wood selection. I wasn’t really careful about what I was picking up from the store, and I got a piece that seemed to be less cupped than it really was. Turns out it was pretty twisted. I should have gone out to get another piece of wood, but I wanted to see if I could save it.
My second major mistake came in my cutting order for making the drawer front joinery. I had (stupidly) cut rabbets out first to create the lip for the drawer. I figured this would be fine until I started cutting the grooves for the joinery. The first thing I did wrong after that was that I didn’t reference the correct face against the fence so that I would get the appropriate sized tongue that would fit the drawer sides. The second thing I did was after I noticed it was off, I tried to center the groove and see if that would help. It didn’t, and I basically lost all my drawer fronts to a really stupid error. Then I dropped one of the drawer fronts and it hit the ground right on the corner and split right at the rabbet. I decided to call it a night because I was plenty frustrated at that point and I didn’t want to be angry and distracted while using my table saw.
I did go and buy some better pieces of wood and I was able to redo the drawer fronts properly. One of the pieces has a tongue that doesn’t quite match up perfectly, but I have a solution for that worked out. I did a dry fit with a sample piece and it looks like it’s a go this time, so I can groove the sides and put the drawers together tomorrow. I have the bottoms rough-sized, and won’t cut those until I do a full dry-fit and can get an actual size. If there’s one place I tend to mess up the most, it’s on drawer bottoms. I’ve had to re-cut more of those than I’d like to admit.
I’ve learned very quickly that I need to be more diligent with wood selection. I also need to invest in a planer and possibly a jointer very soon. Trying to make perfect stuff with wood from the Borg is an exercise in frustration.
If there is a silver lining to all this, it’s this—I do have to make myself a nightstand, and after measuring up what was left of my old drawer fronts, I found that I have enough material to make the top, so I cut off the parts I messed up, used my router table to “joint” the edges, and glued up a panel that I can now use to make my nightstand. I’m glad I didn’t have to relegate all the pine I used to firewood, and it gives me a head-start on another project.
I still need to finish the chest of drawers, but with my drawer issues seemingly out of the way, I think that I can get it done in the next day or two. Once drawers are done, I have to size up the top and make the base, but I have a feeling that will be much easier than what I’ve been dealing with when it comes to the drawers. I’m hoping my woodworking slump will be over soon. Making mistakes like this sucks. The only thing I can be grateful for is that pine is cheap.