Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shop Made Drawer Runners

Work is going along well on the chest in spite of the chilly weather, mid-forties until I kicked on the heater so the glue would set.  The drawers are assembled with the dowels rather than dovetails.  I shellacked the bottoms before assembly.  I also cut a 3/4" slot, a little less than 1/4" on the sides for the runners.  There's something cool about wooden runners as opposed to metal hardware.  For one thing, you don't need to allow a half an inch on each side for the hardware.  I use pennies for spacers.  Since I had some European Steamed Beech left over from a picture frame I chose it for the runners.  Very nice, straight grained stock.  Each runner is between 1/4" - 5/16" thick so that allows a little room for final planing.  Cutting thin material like that on the tablesaw can be risky, here's what I did:

Front View
 I first planed a radius on the front and planed the edge that's against the fence.  What appears to be a pretty fancy push block is actually my mock-up piece for the drawer.  I cut it so it rides just above the table and with my hand on top of the fence there's very little chance of contacting the blade.  You can see from the side view how the splitter will keep the wood from binding -- worked nicely!

Side View
I only need 10 runners but made a couple extra, just in case.  Must be part of Murphy's Law because if I take the time to make extra parts I don't need them, but no extras and you inevitably screw up!!
Anyway, the final machining step is to put slotted holes to attach them to the sides of the case.  For that I used a bit from Lee Valley which cuts the screw hole as well as a recess for the screw head.  I made a quick jig for it so that the slots are approximately 3/8" long which should be more than sufficient.

Slotting the Mounting Holes

Tomorrow will be time spent on finishing the drawers, attaching the handles, and going from there.  The last major step is to carve the likeness of the smooth plane on the top of the case.  Easy on the coffee then, don't want to get the jitters trying to carve that.

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