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By AndyT
#945268
I think it's time to start on something challenging again. Ages ago now, I had a lot of fun stretching my skills making a chair that turned into steps, but I've only made little quick things since. Also, I have an accumulation of wood that needs to be used.

So the idea is to make a chest of drawers. This will replace a grotty little plywood bedside cupboard which has been 'good enough' for years, so it's a small scale job to fit in the space available. However, I want it to have proper trad construction - all proper wood, proper joints and all by hand, so it's quite labour-intensive. I've made some tables and I've made dovetailed boxes but I've never done full-on drawers with thin sides, solid bottoms and all the nice details.

This is the design:

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- and I'm imagining internal runners and nicely dovetailed drawers. There might be five drawers or maybe six - I want them to be quite shallow - though that does mean quite a lot of joints to make.

Before I draw a more detailed design with all the sizes thought about, I need to make sure that I do have enough suitable wood. After much rummaging and restacking, I think I do.

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This is most of it, roughly allocated to be from left to right, internal runners etc; main cabinet sides; drawer fronts, sides, and backs. I can't be sure that the wood is right until I've done a proper drawing but there is no point in drawing something bigger than the timber I have available.

I've another idea for the top, so let's check that first.

I bought these little bits of Yew about four years ago at the Westonbirt Treefest show. They will be the only wood that hasn't been recycled.

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They are fairly thick but not quite straight enough to glue together as a solid top, so it's time to get ripping. I've still not made any proper sawing trestles, but my workshop floor is so wavy and bumpy they might not work very well, so meanwhile an old Workmate will do.

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Here I am just getting rid of the contrasting sapwood and the bark, to leave as much straight sided wood as I can.
The first one works best as two pieces meeting at the kink in the middle, but this one can just cut straight through:

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This looks enough for the top, but I need to be sure I can get a nice enough surface on what is really quite difficult wood.

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Let's do some more planing: I need to get one side looking decent, to prove that I can, and to get an idea of what the finished thickness can be, though what you see here is not the finished surface, despite the appearance of a smoothing plane.

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That's getting there. I've not used yew before. It gives a lovely smooth surface but is very hard.

That's the first instalment - a few seconds for you to read, but a long morning's workout for me!
Last edited by AndyT on 29 Jul 2017, 10:57, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By AndyT
#945334
Woodmonkey wrote:I do enjoy seeing stuff made with nice old hand tools. Let me know if you want to borrow my domino!


That's a very generous offer but I think I will manage without out one just this once... :-)
User avatar
By AndyT
#946799
I've spent a lot more time looking at the wood that I've got put by, thinking about the proportions of the chest of drawers, and doing some experiments.

I don't have enough thin plywood for the drawer bottoms but not very long ago I was walking through central Bristol with a like-minded friend when we spotted some nice bits of cedar cladding in a skip. We both agreed that it was far too good to throw away, so carried it home.

This is the stuff:
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It's beautifully straight and clear and I reckon it will deep rip into some classic drawer bottoms. I've never done this before, so let's have a go!

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Hmm, not too bad; but a bit rough where I turned round to start from the other end to finish the cut.

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However, it planes beautifully and is soon smooth, and the workshop smells pleasantly of pencils:

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For the second board, I switched to a slightly coarser saw and it was quicker and easier

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- there's plenty of margin for error as it's about 3/4" thick and I'm initially aiming at a thick 1/4"

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I may well take these boards down thinner later; at the moment I just want to prove that I can get enough pieces to do the job - it looks like I can: each of these boards will cut into three pieces which will be enough for one drawer, so I can do six drawers if I need to - but the finished chest will probably have five.

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I was pleased at how easy that was to do. There will be quite a lot of physical work in this project - I reckon it's better value than joining a gym!
Last edited by AndyT on 29 Jul 2017, 10:58, edited 1 time in total.
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By bugbear
#946917
AndyT wrote:... rip into some classic drawer bottoms. I've never done this before, so let's have a go!

Image

Hmm, not too bad; but a bit rough where I turned round to start from the other end to finish the cut.


I've ripped like that, and it makes my shoulder hurt; its too high in the air (at least for me).

Does anyone know what the "old" workholding method was for this task? The big cutting was done over a saw pit, ripping to width
is shown in several text books (and is fairly obvious anyway...) but what's the "textbook" technique for small scale
ripping to thickness?

BugBear
By Baldhead
#946925
Jacob wrote:Looks good.
It might be easier, and you might have less waste, if you cut to length first, before any ripping or planing.

My old woodwork teacher (I went to school when woodwork and metalwork were taught) used the same two phrase's over and over again, measure twice cut once and leave your wood as long as you can as long as you can.

Baldhead
User avatar
By Jacob
#946928
bugbear wrote:
AndyT wrote:... rip into some classic drawer bottoms. I've never done this before, so let's have a go!

Image

Hmm, not too bad; but a bit rough where I turned round to start from the other end to finish the cut.


I've ripped like that, and it makes my shoulder hurt; its too high in the air (at least for me).

Does anyone know what the "old" workholding method was for this task? The big cutting was done over a saw pit, ripping to width
is shown in several text books (and is fairly obvious anyway...) but what's the "textbook" technique for small scale
ripping to thickness?

BugBear
Looks difficult in the position shown in the photo. Ripping a board like that is a bit unusual but if it were me I'd want it cramped vertically at the right hand very end of the bench so that I'd have plenty of room. I haven't got a vice there so maybe thats something to think about. Or in an end vice, which I also do not have.