Saturday, March 24, 2012

Exposed Drawers!

I've been patiently waiting to add some organization to our drawerless TV stand for several weeks now.  I wanted to give me (and my co-worker, who is letting me borrow his workshop) a bit of a break.  It can be a little tough trying to fit building something around work and family, so the break was well needed.

In the meantime I picked myself up a little something :)  The drawer slides from amazon were $34.01 for 4 pairs.  This was the best price I could find for full extension slides, including shipping (they are heavy!).  Jon talked me into upgrading to full extension for the extra $12, and I'm so glad we did, they're great quality and getting the back of the drawers is awesome.

I also picked up a cordless drill which we have wanted for a long time.  Our cheap-o Black & Decker couldn't hold a charge for an entire project, in addition to other things.  I used this same drill in Dan's workshop and fell in love.  I like to buy one tool per project, to build up my workshop workbench.  Isaac agrees.  It's a good drill (and has that cool 'fast sneaker' look to it).  I also had to pick up a sheet of 1/2" AC plywood and the drawer handles.

Back to the drawers.  First Dan cut the boards out to size using a table saw for me.  I'm was little nervous to use the table saw myself, since the boards were big, and I can occasionally be absent minded and it was after work and I was pretty darn tired.  I did do the routering myself, which only proved that it was a good decision to avoid the table saw.  At one point I heard Dan gasp, and then inform me I had my hand about an inch from the spinning router blade.  heh heh...  I [very stupidly] had assumed that once I turned it off and stopped hearing the blade spin it meant it wasn't spinning.  Oh well. This is why I'm not buying a table saw until I can afford a Saw Stop.

Again, back to the drawers.  The dovetails were made with a katie jig and router bit set from Sommerfield tools.  The step-up wasn't hard at all, and the only hitch was the thin plywood would constantly chip out, as seen by our little test box above.  Sticking a cut piece of MDF the width of the board clamped to the front of the board worked great and there wasn't anymore chipping out.

It took about an hour to do all the dovetails, but it was super easy to do.  Dan had labeled all of the sides for me and that was probably the most difficult part of the job.  At least, I would have probably messed it up (stupid dyslexic brain).  We cut the slot for the bottom with the table saw instead of a 1/4" router bit ,as the luon wasn't quite 1/4" wide.  After that, I headed home to get some rest.

Doesn't that dovetail look dang sexy?  (yeah, never imagined I'd say that).  A few days later I had some time to assemble the boxes.  That too was easy. 

You pretty much slather in a little glue and hammer the joints together.  I used a block to hammer on, as the hammer left marks (probably wouldn't have with hardwood) and because there was one easily repairable chip (ditto).

Then I slid the bottom of the drawer in it's slot, which isn't supposed to be glued, to leave room for the sides to expand... but I forgot for the first 2 1/2 drawers.  I'm not worried though.  Plywood doesn't really expand much.

Then I hammered on the other side, and that could be a pain because the bottom of some of the drawers were so warped.  One gave me a ton(!) of trouble, and one slipped in with complete ease, so I guess it really depends on how warped your board is. Such a pain to try to hammer and support the thing in several places to try to get everything lined up perfectly.  Next time I'll probably store the wood flat under some books, instead up on it's side.  You can see I couldn't resist trying out a couple DVD's in their future home.

Overall though.  These things were quick to assemble, taking only about an hour or two, all the sides were naturally square and the dimensions spot on.

I was hoping I wouldn't have to visit Dan's shop again to rip down some spacers to size, and I was in luck!  The space was very close to 1" and the drawer exactly 1/2" beyond that.  So I made a quick trip to the store to grab a couple stock 1/4" boards and 3/4" maple boards.

Next time I would probably use two 1/2" boards, as I did split the 1/4" twice, even with pre-drilling.

Although it doesn't seem like it would take that long, I spent about 6 hours  screwing in the spacers and slides.  Crazy long time.  I was trying to be precise, and the sides did line up well, but I don't think I have the drawers far enough forward.  We'll see, I guess.

After quite the long day, I loaded up the drawers and called it quits.  They're not completely organized, so I'll hold of on showing the inside pics for now, but even in this state, I think this thing is shaping up nicely.  All I have to do is finish the faces and make a few other changes, and I'll be done... for now.

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