Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stopped Dadoes and Drawer Runners

A better title for these sawbuck table progress posts would have been: Why The Pennsylvania Germans Were Smarter Than I.

That's because they chose a straight-grained, soft wood for their original sawbuck table instead of curly cherry, a wood that's prone to tear and splinter; and they nailed the entire drawer together, instead of dovetailing angled corners and cutting angled grooves for the drawer bottom.

Despite this, it's been a fun learning experience and I've done things I've never tried before. What better way to expand your skills?

I decided to cut stopped dadoes in the drawer supports even though there are through dadoes on the original. This poses a problem if you plan to cut them with a plow plane, because the skate requires clearance in front of the cutter. Not a big deal, though, if you cut the last few inches with a mortising chisel before reaching for your plow plane.

Since the drawer sides are angled, but the drawer supports are not, the runners needed to be angled on one side and square on the other. I drew the shape on both ends of the runners, connected the marks along the length, and checked them frequently for accuracy while I planed them to shape.

I made the pegs from cherry by rounding bandsawn sticks with a block plane. There are other ways to make dowels, but this one is my favorite. Even though the runners are glued to the drawer sides, I chose to reinforce the joint with wooden pegs, since the drawer is so heavy. The runners on the original sawbuck were nailed in place.

So now there's only one thing left to make before final sanding and finishing.

You know how, at dinner, some people will eat the yucky stuff, like lima beans, first, and save the best stuff, like prime rib, for last?

I was always an "eat-the-good-stuff-first-and-hope-no one-sees-me-feed-the-gross-stuff-to-the-dog" kind of person.

In woodworking terms, that means I've saved making the drawer pull for last. That's right—I need to turn a lima bean. Yuck.