Hillbilly Mini Tansu-Progress 6

I’ve made drawers.  Not a lot, but several.  I actually enjoy making them and look forward to that step in the build process.  Up to this point all of my drawers were built with standard stock thicknesses,  3/4″ fronts and 1/2″ sides and rear with 1/4″ bottoms.  The mini tansu however, requires the drawers to be made from thinner stock, 1/2″ fronts, 5/16″ sides and rear with 1/8″ bottoms.  To complicate it even more I am building these drawers in the traditional Japanese method.  The sides are rebated and pegged to the fronts, the rear is joined to the sides with pegged finger joints and the bottom is rebated into the front, glued and pegged in place.

The plan for today was to build both drawers and have them glued and clamped by quitting time.  Heck, the smallest drawer is only 7/8″ tall and roughly 4″ square.  Yea…that didn’t happen.  I found that smaller is much more difficult to execute.  These small pieces are just tedious to handle.  Harder to clamp and hold for the necessary operations.  Cutting the joinery is no more difficult.  Just the holding of the parts.

I only managed to get the larger drawer built and glued together today.  By the time that was done so was my patience.  I have a rare half day off tomorrow and will have another go at the smaller drawer.  Hopefully a fresh start on a new day will see the second drawer go together smoothly.

I’m going to have to take a look at the process before I tackle any more small-scale drawers.  Hopefully I can find a few ways to modify my process to make the construction process a little less frustrating.

My standard bamboo pegs are much too large for these drawers. I had to whittle them down.

My standard bamboo pegs are much too large for these drawers. I had to whittle them down.

The sum total of my efforts today.

The sum total of my efforts today.

Greg Merritt…Part 7

This entry was posted in Hillbilly Mini Tansu-000 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hillbilly Mini Tansu-Progress 6

  1. I’ve seen videos of japanese drawer making like you mentioned. It was employed on large ‘dresser’ drawers in the same manner. I would like to see one of these a year later. I can’t imagine something so big not splitting due to the cross grain gluing.
    I agree on small with you. I thought small would be easier but it turns out it can be very frustrating.

    • gman3555 says:

      After looking at hundreds of photos of antique tansu the most common failures were panels and drawer bottoms. Some had split others exhibited glue failure. I used 3mm birch ply and shouldn’t have any issues down the road.

      Yep, small is harder for sure. Standard methods do not adapt well to the smaller parts. I’ll do some research on adaptations to the process for handling smaller parts.


  2. Pingback: Hillbilly Mini Tansu-Progress 5 | GREG MERRITT – BY MY OWN HANDS

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