Now that the carcass is assembled, it’s time for drawers. My shop is small and I have found that is much easier to build one drawer at a time in my confined space. Not exactly conducive to production, but thats not what I’m trying to do anyway. Like I’ve said before, most of my lumber supplies come from the big box stores. Not ideal, but I have designed around the supplies that are readily available to me. Ordering wood online has limitations due to shipping and I make use of that resource when I can or need to.
Anyway, after work on Friday I made a run to the local Lowes and picked up some wood for building the drawers. My local Lowes carries 3/4″ clear pine stock as well as a limited selection of 1/2″ and 3/8″ stock. I picked thru what they had available and managed to cobble together enough wood to build all of the drawers, barely. A single 3/4″x12″x48″ clear pine board will supply all of the drawer fronts. The rest of my haul was made up of 1/2″ stock in a few different widths.
Today, Saturday, I started my day in the shop by laying out all of the drawer fronts on my single pine board. I wanted to keep all of the drawer fronts in sequence so that I would have the best possible grain configuration. I first crosscut the board in the middle and decided on the best looking stack up. Once that decision was made, it was time for some rip cuts. I worked thru the board ripping out a drawer front and fitting it, before moving on to the next.
I ripped the drawer front slightly over width and left it a little long. Then I planed the freshly sawn edge. Next, I squared one end on the shooting board. From there I began to fit the width slowly removing material by planing the long edges. I paid close attention to how the long edges mated with the bearers. It’s all too easy to plane a belly or hollow when doing this work. Once I was satisfied with the fit across the width, I marked the width with a knife directly from the carcass opening. Cut off the bulk of the unwanted length and then back to the shooting board to finish it off.
With all of the fronts fitted, I moved on and prepped the sides and back for the first drawer. Each piece was surfaced planed and both ends squared on the shooting board. As per my plans, I build these drawers with half blind dovetails at the front and a finger joint at the rear. I also pin each of the joints with bamboo pegs. One thing that I learned the hard way from the last tansu build, was to leave the bottom out until the drawer frame is fitted to it’s intended opening. I didn’t do this on the last build and had a hell of a time holding the drawer assembly while planing it to fit. I was very limited to how I could hold the drawer in the vise with the bottom already installed. I’ll see how this alteration works out. Hopefully it will allow me to hold the drawer frame in the vise while I plane it to fit. Once the drawer frame is fitted, then I’ll install the bottom.
So today was not too bad for progress. All of the drawer fronts are fitted and one drawer frame is joined, glued and pinned. I continue with this first drawer tomorrow and only move on to the next drawer once this first one is fitted to it’s opening. Then it’s just a matter of lather, rinse, repeat for the remaining drawers.