Monday, November 14, 2011

Web frames and Dividers

What a great weekend of woodworking I just had!  We had Friday off for Remeberance day and my wife went off to Halifax to visit some friends.  So I had three fun filled days of wood working. awesome!  So what did I get done?  Well I was able to build and install all of the web frames and dividers for one of the two dressers.
I made each of the web frames out of ash and oak.  The front drawer blade is primary wood - red oak and the drawer runners and back blade are secondary wood, in this case ash.  The drawer blades are installed into the case sides in 1/4 deep sliding dovetails.  The runners set into 1/8" deep rabbets in the case sides. When I built the nightstands to match this piece, I decided to make the drawer blades stand 1/4" proud of the drawer faces.  This is an idea I picked up from some of Sam Maloof's dresser projects and I thought it would help to enhance the horizontality of the nightstands since these are next to our very wide king sized bed which has all the vertical pickets.  This made the build a bit more complex however.  For the front drawer blades all I did was to glue on a 1/4" wide strip of oak on the front.  This allowed me to cut the male part of the dovetail on the router table.  It also had the added benefit of hiding any tear out my router made when cutting the slots in the case sides.  Darn oak is tough to work with,  It's very stringy and fibrous.  The tough part came when I was trying to decide how to install the two vertical drawer dividers in the top drawer spaces.   In my furniture making I try very hard to include traditional joinery methods and shy away from using screws or nails etc. in my work as much as I can.  For me, cutting the joinery is one of the most fun parts of the project.  So I had a bit of a tough time getting the top divider in.  The lower vertical deivider was pretty straight forward. All I did was to use sliding dovetails and these were covered up with the 1/4" thick banding.  The low end of the upper divider was done the same way.  The top end of the top divider was the more complicated part.  The problem is that I couldn't cut a dovetail slot in the top of the cascase since it stands proud of the face of the case. Plus I needed to install the divider after the upper web frame was installed because of the presence of the center drawer runner.  So my solution was to (begrudgingly) install a biscuit in the case top and then cut a open ended slot in the top and back face of the divider using the biscuit jointer.  That sounded like a great plan until I realized late saturday night that I loaned by biscuit jointer to a friend.  Drats!  So what I finally ended up doing (and happy I did) was to make a slip tenon in lieu of a biscuit.   I chopped a mortise into the case top with a mortise chisel and then I handsawed a slot into the top of the divider kind of like sawing a half-blind dovetail socket.  I made a slip tenon on the table saw and slid the divider right in.  Worked great and I'm satisfied I still have all wood joinery.  The only trouble now is that I have to do it all over again for the second chest.   

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