Little Late This Morning


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Running a little late this morning, been on the phone yesterday and this morning talking economy and woodworking for my write which I will wrap up today, so again, if you want a copy of my article about woodworking as a business, just email me,.

Okay, I got the face frames on the night stands. Now…I had an issue, but I knew we would. In this type of construction, where you have a simple 3/4″ thick x 1″ wide piece as a drawer divider, or face frame rail if you choose, it will have a lot of flex as it is face grain. Secondly, and even more the issue, it is almost impossible to get them perfectly straight and remain. So….I simply back them up. After the face frame was installed, I went
in behind and glued a backer which was straight. Simple as that. I also attached my drawer runners (blades) to it. Drilled two 1/4″ holes so I can screw them to the sides (1/4″, the screw is 1/8″) and while not visable, by rocking the drill a little, I slotted the back of the hole. This will allow for expansion and contraction. I won’t screw them fast until I actually set the drawer in, that way if I have to “tweak” them a little to set flat under the drawer, I can. Once they are set, I will put a very small glue block under the runner so it can’t drop, but it will glue only to the case and not the runner so as not to impede the expansion/contraction thing. The block will only be about an inch long. Doesn’t take much. Here is a case where I could have put a dado to receive the runner, no glue blocks would be needed, but a lot of you don’t have dado blades or router bits to make the dados so I wanted to show you an option.

Using Plywood Spacers for Drawer Spacing

Using Plywood Spacers for Drawer Spacing

There are many, many ways to achieve the same result. In this case it is getting drawer runners that will support the drawers while maintaining expansion and contraction. In almost all old antiques, the runners are simply nailed in place. Later pieces they used screws. Rarely in the really old pieces did you see a dado. It was just too time consuming and laborious to do so.

Using Plywood Patterns for Drawer Spacers

Drawer Frames Attached

In this case, where these runners can be tweaked, the reason is simple. Getting a drawer square as a box is easy. Do diagonal measurement to insure it is square. Let the glue dry and your good to go…but…if when you dovetail it, your not square vertically, meaning your ends of the boards and your dovetails are not square, you can get a slight “twist” and the drawer will set unlevel. I always make my drawers and set them on a good flat surface to insure they are level.

Face Frame Attached

Face Frame Attached

Even then you can get a little twist, so I always make my drawers full height, meaning I fill the opening as close as I can and still get the drawer in. I make my half pins on top and bottom heavier, then I can hand plane or saw the top and bottom of the drawer to insure it is level. When I’m done, I want about 1/8″ clearance at the top of each drawer. Since I’m building in October, the heat is on and the humidity is only about 25%, come next July/August when it is 95 degrees and 70% humidity, these drawers are going to expand so I need room.

Okay, I got the cases sanded and ready to install some moldings on the bottom and some feet, so I’m going to go do that and we’ll take a look tomorrow.

Catch Ya Later!

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3 Responses to Little Late This Morning

  1. Nate says:

    Hi Charles,

    Are the glued backers for the face frame(horizontal parts) attached to the sides?

    How did you attach the drawer runners to the glued backers?


  2. Newton EUNICE says:

    You answered several questions I had about making drawers and their height in relation to opening. Do you ever do something to keep the drawers from being pulled all the way out inadvertly? Also if the drawers are not overlay do you put a stop in the back. Really enjoying being able to follow along as you build these I know it increases you time spent but please know it is worth it to us. docnewt

  3. intheworkshop says:

    hey Nate,the backers are not glued to the sides.but you could that still allows the unit to expand and contract..but dont glue the runners…that would not work…the runners were attached with a 3/8 dowel…but i could have usesd a mortise and tenon, biscuit or even a pocket screw..there is not alot of stress here..mainly an alignment thing with the backer.

    and Doc, yes we do make drawer stops, I plan to show you two ways…and you can use stops in the back for flush drawers, but we got another way we do it as well gonna show ya that also…hang in there

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