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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1365507
Not quite 4 weeks ago, a good friend, Rita, brought along an entrance hall table she wanted me to fit a drawer into ...

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(Note that these photos were taken in my entrance hall, not Rita's).

It was really a boring ... okay, ugly table. I thought that the proportions were completely ugh, and the legs reminded me of detention in a classroom. The table had been a kerbside salvage by her late husband, a close friend of mine, and a very good woodworker in his own right. It had been used as a work table. Rita had just moved into a new home, and the table was used because the width of the top fitted an alcove in the entrance hall.

I said to Rita that I would re-build the table. "But I must have a drawer", Rita emphasised.

The wood was good Jarrah. The first step was to pull it apart. This was not so easy as simply unscrewing the clips for the top ...

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Some evil tablemaker had used a nail gun to attach the corner blocks. Pulling them out left holes in the legs.

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The legs were attached with dowels. I would never have guessed as the construction was very strong. Pulling them away caused some of the wood to tear along with it. No way to remove them other than saw the ends away.

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Deconstructed ...

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Let's begin again ..

I thought that I would do something different with this write-up. Turn it around and start with the finished piece. That's right ... the table rebuild is complete. This will provide a picture of the end result, and we can then look at how certain parts were built. This way around might create a better understanding of where the build was going, and how it got there.

In particular, the drawer. The drawer is a little beauty. I did scratch my head over the construction. No doubt it has been done before, but I could not find any pictures of another like it. I am sure there will be interest in the design. I am chuffed with the efficiency of it. More on this in the next article.

For now, here is the completed table.

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The legs have been brought inward, tapered, and a 3 degree splay added to the sides.

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The top retained its width (I was threatened with death, or worse, if it was shortened) but was made shallower. A slight camber was added front-and-back to soften the outline ...

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The apron was also made shallower. The original was 100mm (4") high. It is now 65mm (2 1/2") high.

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Oy .. where's the drawer gone?! I could have sworn it was there yesterday. Aah ... there it is ... :)

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This is the drawer case ...

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With drawer inserted - you need to get close up to see the joins ..

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It opens with a pull under the drawer ..

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The drawer is shallow, of course, it is just for house keys and the odd remote control. It is just 45mm (1 3/4") high on the outside and 26mm (1") deep inside. The full dimensions are 230mm (9") wide and 280mm (11") deep ...

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The sides are 7mm thick. The drawer front is 18mm (roughly 3/4").

To maximise the internal height, the drawer bottom was attached with a groove into the drawer sides rather than using slips. Slips would have used a precious extra 3mm (1/8"). So they 6mm (1/4") drawer bottom has a 3mm rebate, fitting a 3mm groove.

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The sides and bottom are quartersawn Tasmanian Oak, which is very stable and tough. One screw at the rear, with an expansion slot, to hold it firmly. A nice, tight drawer ...

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It sides in-and-out smoothly. I love that it disappears and is hidden.

More on the construction next time, but feel free to ask questions.

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Regards from Perth

Derek
User avatar
By woodbloke66
#1365513
I know how the front was done as I saw someone do the same sort of drawer construction on a piece for David Linley.
However, I'll stay quiet :lol: - Rob
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By AndyT
#1365518
Ok, I'm reading this on a phone screen in bright sunlight, but I expect if I used a 27" monitor in a shady room that drawer would still disappear!

Overall, the proportions do look much more elegant. So hard to get right, so satisfying if you do.

Also, it's nice to see some evidence that dowels aren't necessarily a poor way to join something together (though I look forward to seeing some snug mortice and tenon work instead).
By Yojevol
#1365520
Great job, excellent workmanship. Itching to know how the drawer front fit was achieved. I suspect there are 2 clues in the pics; the Japanese saw with its minimal kerf width and the fact that the apron was reduced in height.
Brian
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By AndyT
#1365522
I've looked again and I think another clue is that the drawer sides are not at right angles to the bottom, they splay out a bit. So maybe a little strategic planing lets it fit more than usually snug end to end. And we all know how Derek doesn't bother with humdrum right angles like the rest of us...
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1365523
Andy, I thank you for the compliment, but I do work with right angles by preference. Life is so much easier that way! :D I suspect the camera (my iPhone) is distorting the verticals. It can do that.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Last edited by Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz) on 29 Jun 2020, 15:52, edited 1 time in total.
By Andy Kev.
#1365525
I think that the modifications are all just right, especially the camber to the top and the shallower apron. The invisible draw really is tip top. I find it more impressive than your usual complex work!

Did you do the camber with hand tools?
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1365526
woodbloke66 wrote:I know how the front was done as I saw someone do the same sort of drawer construction on a piece for David Linley.
However, I'll stay quiet :lol: - Rob


Hi Rob

Do you have a link to that piece? I would love to see it.

My God ... the prices he gets! I need to increase my fees (currently work for free): https://www.davidlinley.com/

Regards from Perth

Derek
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#1365527
Andy Kev. wrote:I think that the modifications are all just right, especially the camber to the top and the shallower apron. The invisible draw really is tip top. I find it more impressive than your usual complex work!

Did you do the camber with hand tools?


Thanks Andy.

I drew up a template for one corner. Then transferred this to each corner. Bandsawed close to the lines, then used a hand plane (HNT Gordon smoother) to complete the camber. In the end it was finished by eye.

Regards from Perth

Derek
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By woodbloke66
#1365535
Yojevol wrote:Great job, excellent workmanship. Itching to know how the drawer front fit was achieved. I suspect there are 2 clues in the pics; the Japanese saw with its minimal kerf width and the fact that the apron was reduced in height.
Brian

Nope. It's not the drawer in itself but the way the grain runs seamlessly without a break from the rail into the drawer front. It's clever but easy when Derek shows how it's done - Rob
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By MikeG.
#1365536
Sheffield Tony wrote:A long rip cut, couple of crosscuts and some careful glueing ?


....or a diagonal scarf in the inch above the drawer.

-

Much more elegant table now, Derek. That looks very nice. I dislike invisible drawers, but do appreciate the skill involved in producing one. I hope your "client" is happy.
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By MikeG.
#1365537
Or a non-square cut on the drawer ends (I mean splayed through the thickness of the apron), with the thickness of the drawer front then reduced bringing it forward and tighter in the gap. I know what I mean, even if I've not explained it well.
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By Trevanion
#1365538
It's amazing how quite small details here and there absolutely change the look of the work from a very generic piece to an heirloom quality piece. I'm also curious to see how the drawer is done, if I had to guess I would say the whole front face was sawn off as a thin veneer so the drawer front could be carefully cut out with a razor and stuck to a separate piece of Jarah drawer front almost invisibly and then the rest of the veneer glued back to the original piece.

I'm probably overthinking it :lol:

MikeG. wrote:Or a non-square cut on the drawer ends (I mean splayed through the thickness of the apron), with the thickness of the drawer front then reduced bringing it forward and tighter in the gap. I know what I mean, even if I've not explained it well.


Surely the drawer wouldn't open then, Mike?