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A Cabinetmaker's Notebook

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A well known work by Krenov, this is the first in a series of four books written about the art and craft of cabinetmaking....[Read More]
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Atkins Backsaw


Woodworking with Will Myers


The Hardware Cabinet - part 3 by Will Myers

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The drawers on the original cabinet are made with different thickness parts, thinner stock on the smaller upper drawers and progressively heavier stock on the larger lower drawers. All of the drawers are simply nailed together with a floating bottom set in a grove plowed in the front and sides.

To attempt to dovetail 55 little drawers would be the definition of insanity. Nailing these is entirely adequate; most of the drawers in this cabinet could not hold more than a pound or two of nails or screws if completely full anyway.

You can really make a dent in your scrap pile building the drawers. There are dozens of small pieces that can be made from crappy wood. To try to utilize what I had, when milling out the drawer stock I milled the pieces out as long as possible with knots and defects included. As I cut individual drawer parts to length I would dodge the defects. This way I did not have to try and plane or saw a bunch of small parts and the drawers in this cabinet ended up being pretty much all clear material.
For my cabinet I made all of the drawers from the same dimension stock throughout to simplify the milling process. The drawer fronts are all thick, sides 3/8 and the bottoms from 3/16 material.

I started with the drawer fronts. Mill out enough stock for an entire row of drawers the proper height to fit the openings. Before cutting then to length I plowed the 3/16 grove to accept the drawer bottom. To get an accurate fit I transferred the lengths from each individual drawer opening to the stock and cut to length on the miter box. Test each drawer face to the openings and check the fit, tune up with a block plane if needed. After they are fit be sure to number each opening to each drawer face to avoid confusion.

Each drawer face has two rabbets to accept the drawer sides. These drawer faces are narrow and a bit difficult to try to rabbet individually. The best way I found to do them was a whole row of fronts at once. Using my tail vise, I aligned one side of a row of fronts with a straight edge, clamped, and then cut the rabbit with a moving fillister plane. To be sure they were all to a perfectly equal depth I used a router plane to make the last pass.

I re-sawed with a band saw the 5/4 stock I had to make the 3/8 thickness needed for the drawer sides. Here again, the height changes between rows and you have to mill out the sides accordingly. The length of the side pieces are the same for all the drawers.

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Building the Portable Moravian Workbench with Will Myers (DVD)
Building the Portable Moravian Workbench with Will Myers (DVD)


Buy this two-disc DVD set now and build an 18th-century workbench with techniques for woodworkers of any skill level. [Read More]
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