Thursday, August 16

Thursday – Drawers

I have quite a lot to get done today, in many small steps, so I got to work right off.

I started with a task that really belonged to yesterdays assignment, but couldn’t be done yesterday because the tea chest cases were in clamps; that is to fit and attach the base moldings. I had already milled the molding strips, but needed to cut them to exact length with mitered the corners and attach them to the case. If you’ve never tried this, it’s a little trickier than it looks. Getting one corner perfect is a snap – as long as you can cut a perfect 45° miter – but getting both front corners to fit precisely takes some fussing. But I got it the first try… on both tea chests.

Now we launch into today’s assignment: making drawers. I have two, three drawer chests, so I need 6 drawers. I had roughed out the stock for the drawers boxes earlier so today I just cut it into finished sized pieces, add grooves and rabbets where the parts all fit together and viola – drawers!

Along the way, however, I must take care to keep an eye on the orientation of all the pieces. Unlike mass production shops who use very bland, colorless wood so they don’t have to worry about color matching, we like to use “interesting” wood. These drawer boxes are being made of silver maple, which has some nice coloring to it. But that means pairing up the sides and the drawer end so they look like they go together, it also means keeping track of which edge is “up” and which faces are “in” and “out”. It takes a lot of concentration to keep it all straight as we work through the various milling steps.

Once all that is done, I dry-fit all the drawers using masking tape to hold them together and look for misalignments, then test fit them in their slots in the case. If needed, I make adjustments. When I’m happy with the fit, I take the parts for each drawer to my glue-up station and assemble the drawers with glue and small nails. The nails are not so much insurance against the joint falling apart as they are a substitute for clamps. It would take 5 clamps per drawer, 6 drawers = 30 clamps to do all the drawers at once. Or do as many as I have clamps for then go do something else until the glue dries. To get around all that, I just use the nails.

There are drawer stops installed in the rear of each drawer slot that stops the drawer at a precise point. I adjust these until all the drawers line up with just the right amount of protrusion from the case. With the double round-over moldings and the rounded drawer front edges, it all comes together for a very classy look, don’t you think?

The last step is to use a centering square to locate dead center on the drawers and bore the holes needed for the drawer pulls. Bryan ordered our Tea Pot & Cup pulls, which are the only pulls we make ourselves. But I ran out of Epoxy before finishing his, so I’ll stand down until Marie gets here with more.

While I’m waiting I’ll clean up the shop and put away the tools. We’re pretty much done with construction on these tea chests now, ready to go into the finishing stage. Once chest will get a clear lacquer finish and go to the Treasures of Appalachia gallery to sell as an On-Hand item. The other is for Bryan’s order. But, when Bryan placed the order he instructed us to “finish it in dark brown to match the kitchen cabinetry”. But, having never seen Bryan’s kitchen we have no idea what color it is and so can not match that color. His chest will get set aside while we wait for him to answer our e-mails about his color selection. The other we can go ahead and finish.

Tomorrow is my turn to be shopkeeper at Treasures, so I will be out of the workshop all day. I’ll make up for the missed time over the weekend. So, I’ll see you good folks again on Monday.


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