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Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

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  • Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

    With the main carcass pretty well finalized (with exception of the two side "skirts"), I am focussing on the most complex part of the project: drawers. Of course, I brought this all upon myself when I decided to have 6-sided drawers. And as if that wasn't enough fun, having the front of the drawers bowed really ramped things up several notches. Here's my gameplan:


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    1. Drawer support framing. The three drawers will be carried by Blum full-extension, soft-close under-mount drawer slides, which require some sort of framing for them to be mounted to. For the lowest drawer, the slides will sit on the plywood base of the cabinet, with the other two sitting on solid wood frames. These frames will fit into dado slots I had made in the carcass framing, which I drilled to accept the screws that will hold them into position. The second photo shows the idea of how I'll be mounting the drawer slides to their frames, except that the wooden framing on the side of the slides will be the full height of the slide itself.

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    2. Drawer box construction. As you can see in the mock up I did, the drawer boxes will feature two sides running perpendicular to the bowed front, two sections running 45 degrees to the sides and the back section which runs parallel to the front. To get the dimensions of the 5 stright sides figured out, I laid everything out on the the top of the base section, as it's the exact same size as the support frame members.

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    3. Mating the drawer boxes to the slide hardware. This was a really tricky part which required some imagination. As those of you who have used Blum undermount slides know, there is a pin at the back end of each slide which needs to mate into a hold drilled in the back of the drawer. Now, because most drawers are square at the back, this poses no problem... but not so with angled back drawers. My solution (photo 2) is to glue on a small block of wood to the back of the drawer box, while will then be drilled to provide the necessary hole for the slide's pin to mate with.

    All the best,

    Marty

    - Instagram: @apexwoodworks
    - facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Apex-Woodwo...0243458908979/

    Secretary of Kingston Wood Artisans Inc. https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

    Master Mistake Fixer (because I've made them all... at least once)
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  • #2

    Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

    Now that I had the height of my drawers figured out, I turned my attention to ripping the bowed drawer fronts to their final heights.

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    Because I had given a lot of attention to making the drawer front mold true and square, I was able to use the mold to carry those pieces as I ripped their first face on the bandsaw. But first I had to add shims to the top of the mold to account for the spring-back I experienced with the drawer fronts (see my earlier post here where I described the making of the mold and glueing up the laminated drawer fronts). With the shims in place at both ends, I align the drawer front so it overhangs the side of the mold by approximately 1/4" and tack it into place so it won't move on me while I saw off that first edge.


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    I kept the same blade on the bandsaw as that which I'd used for resawing the veneer pieces to make the drawer fronts from, as I knew it would be stiff enough to cut truly. I cleaned up the edges on the jointer then checked them for square.


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    Ripping the second edge was relatively simple, but careful attention is needed to ensure safe operation. Plus of course, you have to maintain positive pressure to keep the bowed piece against the table as well as the first edge firmaly against the fence.

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    I then set all three drawer fronts atop each other, in the same orientation they would be inside the cabinet. This was my final check to ensure I had the heights all correct.
    You may also have noticed that on top of the drawer fronts are the pieces which will become the concave rails of the hutch section door frames. Those pieces will be ripped in half to form the door bottoms and tops.

    In my next installment I will show the jig I made for making the drawer boxes...
    Attached Files
    aliensurfer and PeterTZ like this.
    All the best,

    Marty

    - Instagram: @apexwoodworks
    - facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Apex-Woodwo...0243458908979/

    Secretary of Kingston Wood Artisans Inc. https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

    Master Mistake Fixer (because I've made them all... at least once)

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

      Nice work. Following along and will definitely learn a few things with this thread.
      Learning something new every day.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

        Looking great, way above my skill level so take this as an attempt to learn, not a criticism. When you cut the second edge on the bowed drawer fronts, why didn't you clamp them to your mold with the edge overhung like you did the first edge? Wouldn't that give better control?

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

          Originally posted by Doug G View Post
          Looking great, way above my skill level so take this as an attempt to learn, not a criticism. When you cut the second edge on the bowed drawer fronts, why didn't you clamp them to your mold with the edge overhung like you did the first edge? Wouldn't that give better control?
          I wonder why not use the bench saw with the convex side down just roll it around on the table, that's how I do all my curved work but then I don't own a band saw.
          Just shows to go how many ways there are to do the same job.

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

            Hi, Doug,

            Great question! I've found from doing this many times before that it's less cumbersom and therefore more accurate to do the 2nd side using only the bandsaw's fence as a guide. But you're certainly right that it can be done the way you've described. But you've got to make absolutely certain the first side is referenced from the fence side of the mold or else the two sides won't be parallel.

            Originally posted by Doug G View Post
            Looking great, way above my skill level so take this as an attempt to learn, not a criticism. When you cut the second edge on the bowed drawer fronts, why didn't you clamp them to your mold with the edge overhung like you did the first edge? Wouldn't that give better control?
            All the best,

            Marty

            - Instagram: @apexwoodworks
            - facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Apex-Woodwo...0243458908979/

            Secretary of Kingston Wood Artisans Inc. https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

            Master Mistake Fixer (because I've made them all... at least once)

            Comment

            • Thread Continues Below...

            • #7

              Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

              You're absolutely correct in saying there's many ways to do this. I've found that the bandsaw's thiner blade (I'm talking about the 3/4" and not the thinnest part of the blade) is more forgiving and therefore less likely to cause a kickback than the "wide" (the part of the blade protruding above the table, which in my case is approximately 9" with a 12" diameter blade) circular saw blade on the tablesaw.

              Originally posted by bkrits View Post

              I wonder why not use the bench saw with the convex side down just roll it around on the table, that's how I do all my curved work but then I don't own a band saw.
              Just shows to go how many ways there are to do the same job.
              All the best,

              Marty

              - Instagram: @apexwoodworks
              - facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Apex-Woodwo...0243458908979/

              Secretary of Kingston Wood Artisans Inc. https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

              Master Mistake Fixer (because I've made them all... at least once)

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

                Joinery for the drawer box 45 degree corners. If you've ever invested one full day into something, only to find that it was a dead end, you'll know how I felt the other day.

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                It all started with the idea to make finger joints on the four, 45 degree corner joints. The clock hands whirrled around as I worked my way through making the above jig which would hold the pieces at the correct angle while the dado blade on my saw did its thing. By mid-afternoon I pretty well had the jig to the point where I could make the two dado cuts: one for where the blade would cut the dado slots and the 2nd, for where the offset "finger" would be set. It was at that point that I realized that I had to figure out an elegant way to account for cutting the mating side, as it needed to be offset to account for any differences in the heights of the various drawers. In the end, I decided that the extra strength finger joints could provide wasn't worth the extra time required to make it work. One day down the drain.

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                So I decided to go with my first idea, which was a splined mitre joint. I knew that this joint would be more than strong enough - and much faster than finger joints. At least the way I was going about it. My Multi-Router, which is a variation of a router-based slot mortiser, but with a built-in tilting table. It's both highly accurate and roboustly made. As you can see from the 3rd photo above, here's what it looks like with two splines set into the mortise of a trial piece I made up to prove the concept.

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                With the spline mortises out of the way, here's what the 36 individual pieces look like with their drawer bottom slots cut (made on the tablesaw using a dado blade, followed up with my router plane to correct any deviations in depth) and the spline mortises all cut in the mitred ends. No idea for sure how many hours invested on those pieces, but the short answer is "lots".

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                But before going ahead and glueing up the straight pieces of the drawer boxes, I needed to resolve the joinery needed to mate the straight sides to the curved drawer front. The above sketch shows what I came up with: a half-dovetail joint. The photo on the right gives you an idea of how I plan on making the dovetailed section of that joint, using my smallest router. With that decision out of the way, I went ahead and made all the half-dovetail joints in the ends of the two straight pieces which mate with the bowed front. After all, doing so once the boxes were glued up would have been nigh on impossible to do.


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                To ensure that the side pieces which would run in the drawer slide hardware were perfectly parallel to each other, I decided to make a jig to hold them into place while they were being glued up. I went as far as to add on an extension to that jig, to hold the back piece at 90 degrees to those two side pieces.


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                I did a test run to see how things would come together, and after a bit of tweaking, was satisfied that all the joints were mating correctly. I then jumped right into my first glue-up, and as you can see in the photo on the right, things came together very well on that first run...

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                ... and on the second run. Here in this photo I've just set the 2nd box atop the first I did, just to show how accurately things have come out. This photo also shows them sitting on top of the boxed drawer fronts, oriented as to how they will mate with half-dovetail joints.

                With two down and foiur more boxes to go, I guess you know where I'll be for the next two days or so, as I want to leave each of them in the jig to dry for at least 6 hours.
                Attached Files
                All the best,

                Marty

                - Instagram: @apexwoodworks
                - facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Apex-Woodwo...0243458908979/

                Secretary of Kingston Wood Artisans Inc. https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

                Master Mistake Fixer (because I've made them all... at least once)

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

                  Methodical as always Marty, and the results speak for themselves.

                  thanks for taking us along for the informative ride.
                  [insert something witty here]

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

                    Very impressive Marty, thank you for sharing this with us. About the only time our woodworking talents intersect is when you said "Have you ever invested a full day in something, only to hit a dead end" Oh my ,how I can relate to that.

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

                      It's been a busy week, but I managed to get the drawers ready to be finished and installed.

                      The first order of business was machining the sliding half-dovetail joints in the drawer fronts.

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                      I set the drawer front on the vacuum veneer mold to locate the center, which I needed to ensure the front lined up with the drawer box joint. The second photo shows the drawer front upside down on the jig I had made for glueing up the boxes. The outside of that box then gave me the location of the joint I was about to rout. The third photo shows me transferring that line from the edge to the inside, using a striking knife. That line was where the outside of the joint needed to fall.


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                      I measured from that knife line to the distance from the inside of the router bit to the base of the router, which enabled me to hit the line as closely as possible. If you look at that first photo you'll see the two screws which just barely come through the fence, to help ensure the fence doesn't move during the routing session. In the second photo you'll see how I fine-tuned the fence location, using my plane hammer, while watching closely through my magnifying glasses. (Once I was satisfied with the fence's location, I tightened down the clamps, did a second check to ensure nothing moved as the clamps were tightened. The third photo shows the special jig I made to hold the router so the joint would properly align with its drawer box counterpart. As you can appreciate, this took a fair amount of fiddling around, not only for the router baseplate, but for the fence as well.

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                      Here's a closeup showing how well the sliding half-dovetail looks.


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                      With the jointery behind me, I did a dry test assembly of the drawer box and bowed front, and was quite happy with how they came together. Rather than using a deadblow mallet to hammer them home, I used a pair of clamps to pull them into position. With the two parts mated, all that remained was to cut out the 5-sided 1/2" baltic birch bottoms to shape. I didn't want to have the drawer bottoms inserted from the back, because I felt that may compromise the 5-sided box joints. That decision forced me to cut the fronts of the bottoms to the same arc as the inside of the drawer fronts. That was taken care of on the bandsaw, followed up with the disc sander.


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                      Here's what all 6 drawers look like now that they're dry assembled. They'll stay like this until I'm about ready to install them.

                      In the meantime, stay tuned as I turn my attention to assembling the two cabinets...
                      Attached Files
                      All the best,

                      Marty

                      - Instagram: @apexwoodworks
                      - facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Apex-Woodwo...0243458908979/

                      Secretary of Kingston Wood Artisans Inc. https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

                      Master Mistake Fixer (because I've made them all... at least once)

                      Comment

                      • Thread Continues Below...

                      • #12

                        Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

                        Even with all the toys at your disposal a roomy workshop and plenty of time that is still one difficult operation to get correct, I hope you have room to tweek the drawer fronts should they not line up, I cannot tell if the fronts are finished or do you still have a veneer to apply, it says a lot about your confidence to attempt to do these drawers, I hold my breath for you. good luck.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

                          Hey, Bob, thanks for your concern. Getting drawer fronts to line up perfectly in "standard" configurations can be challenging, and as you've pointed out, doing it with bow-fronted drawers is another huge leap forward in terms of difficulty.

                          Fortunately, I have two aces in my hand. First, the particular Blum undermount full-extension soft-close drawer slide hardware (just try to say that 5 times quickly!) I have, provides for 3-axis adjustment. And if that's not enough, then I have plenty of meat in the 5-veneer drawer fronts themselves which I can plane down to get them aligned after they're installed. (each veneer is 4mm in thickness). So if one drawer's problem can't be fixed by playing around with the two independent drawer slides, I can "simply" move it forward a tad then plane down any area that's too far forward.

                          Keep your fingers crossed for me, though, because no matter how much care and attention we put to our work, there's so many variables that can still trip you up.

                          Oh, and I'm holding my breath for me, too!
                          All the best,

                          Marty

                          - Instagram: @apexwoodworks
                          - facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Apex-Woodwo...0243458908979/

                          Secretary of Kingston Wood Artisans Inc. https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

                          Master Mistake Fixer (because I've made them all... at least once)

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

                            I always liked corner cabinets with a curved front looking forward to seeing pictures of your cabinet when completed.

                            Paul

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                            • #15

                              Re: Dining Room Corner Cabinet Build Thread - Chapter 3: Drawers

                              As you stated Marty, there are a lot of things that trip us up, no matter what we do to try to eliminate the problems before they arise. The trick is to be a step ahead of yourself, and have a fall-back position in case plan B goes off the rails. I like the way you are approaching this project. It’s definitely challenging to pull off, but is going to look so elegant when it’s done. Nice job.

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