Friday, August 30, 2013

Chest of Drawers - case construction

I started work on the chest of drawers the other day, and I seem to be doing pretty okay with it. Frame construction was fairly straightforward. I got a little shut out in terms of materials since I was planning on using oak plywood with oak hardwood edging, drawer fronts, and moldings, but when I went to go buy wood, they didn't have any oak ply. I picked up a sheet of birch ply instead and got some #2 pine for the solid parts. I milled up everything pretty quick, and my Marples blade is still working great.
The outfeed table finally gets some real use. 6' pieces no problem.
 My outfeed table for my saw has been more of an assembly table than anything else mostly because I usually break down my plywood by making the rough crosscuts first. This is partly out of laziness because I don't want to carry huge pieces of ply into the garage. This time, however, I worked out my cut list to minimize the waste, and so I ended up making a 6 foot long piece and used the remnant piece to make the solid bottom. Needless to say, the outfeed worked great. 6' pieces of ply go through the saw like butter and sit comfortably on the table after the cut and don't need additional support. I suppose if I use a couple of roller stands, I could easily rip cut a full sheet of plywood. I have to organize my back bench so that it makes a good staging area to start these cuts.

Dust Frames.
After sizing out the sides, I built the dust frames that make the compartments for the dresser. Since I'm not using solid wood for this, I decided to make the dust frames pieces wider than I normally would so that it wouldn't sag. I probably should have put cross-members on all the frames, but the bottom two don't seem to be bothered much by the lack of a center rail.

Cutting out the dadoes and rabbets for the sides was a simple procedure once I got the dado set up to the right width. I worked out a cutting order for the sides, and got to work. Since my sides were cut up square and both pieces matched, assembly went through without much hassles until I got to the back.
Dry fit looks good.
It all fits!
Cutting out the back piece turned into a bit of an adventure because this piece of furniture exceeds my maximum rip cut in both dimensions, so the smart person would have sized the back in two pieces. Me being not quite so smart, figured out that I could sort of manage the rip cut with the fence way off at the end. Not smart...I'm lucky I didn't get a kickback and send the piece of plywood out the back of my garage. The piece of wood was also too wide for my panel cutter. Let's just say that next time, I'm making the back in two pieces and seaming it over one of the shelves.

Aside from that adventure with sizing the back, the assembly went pretty well. I got to test out my narrow crown stapler that I got from Harbor Freight. I have to say that for being a tool that didn't cost me more than $30, it performs great. I suppose part of its good performance comes from the Senco staples (that I think might have cost more than the tool).

I spent some time today working on the finish details. Since this piece is Shaker-inspired, I wanted something a little more on the classic side. I also wanted to try out some dye on this project. Since I was online buying air inlet caps for my brad nailer and finish nailer, I noticed the site I was on also sold aniline dyes. I picked up a bottle of cherry rosewood and pilgrim maple. I wanted to give this a shot since it was water based and the colors seemed to take a lot faster than the stains I can find in the store here.
It sure goes on strong...I hope that I don't regret this.

It looks good with finish on it and under the light.

Aside from the blotchy part near the knot, it took on the pine well.
I do like the ease of use of the dye. I do also like the fact that 1 ounce of dye power makes over a quart of usable liquid dye. Considering the coverage of this stuff, I think the sample batches I made will last me a while. I think I'll go with the maple color for this project since this is Shaker style and the color seems more even between the birch ply and the pine on the maple than the cherry rosewood. I do have to say the cherry rosewood is beautiful. I'll definitely have to save it for another project.

I didn't do much milling of stock today since I was testing out finishes, but I did manage to build the edging for the case and put it together. I spend the rest of the evening sizing up the drawers and I'll probably build those tomorrow. After that, I have to size up the top and build the base. I should be able to finish the woodworking on this by Sunday, then I have to finish it.

Nadine seemed happy with it even though it's only about half done, but she'll finally have a place to store her kimono stuff once it's finished. I do have another dresser I want to make, but I think a bookcase might come first. I'd like to get all my books and stuff back in my room. I still need to make my nightstand too.

So many projects...so little time and so little good wood available. I could really use a surface planer so that I'm not limited to wood from Home Depot and Lowe's.

Pine edging is applied. Time for some sanding and more sanding...and drawers.