Monday, November 2, 2020

Sharpening Station Sliding Tray and Drawers

 I was quite productive - for me - in the shop this weekend. I started by fitting the sliding drawer scaffolding to the full extension slides. The scaffolding was just a little too wide to fit between the drawer slides so I ran it through my table saw taking off about 1/32 inch off of each side. I don't know exactly how much as I just shaved a little bit off each side until the scaffolding fit.

Once I had the scaffolding fitting I mounted it in the cabinet using the slides. I mounted the slides resting on the bottom of the cabinet. The scaffolding is just a little shorter than the slides so I measured from the top of the slides to the centerline - where the mounting hardware is - and drew a line on the scaffolding and used that to mount the drawer part of the slides. With those in place I put some glue on top of the scaffolding and set the sliding shelf on top. I used some old bar bell weights to clamp the shelf to the scaffolding until the glue was dry.

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me and missed getting pictures of the scaffolding without the shelf. You can trust me that the shelf is hiding some drawer slides and the box that I showed in the most recent blog post.

After I had that in place I moved on to the drawers. 

I measured the left hand opening at 10 3/16 inch wide and 14 5/8 inches deep. The sides I'd cut earlier this week were 3/8 inch thick and 1/2 inch high. The height doesn't matter but the thickness does. The scribble in the upper right corner of the paper is me calculating the length of Part A. The scribbles in the middle right are me calculating how long the drawers should be then deciding to just make them 14 inches. Bottom right is me working out my parts lists.

I ended up with a stack of drawer parts...

I always get nervous when working from measurements that I'll have made a math error so I like creating a couple of trial/test pieces first. One challenge with that is that once I get to cutting joinery on the table saw using a dado blade I have a very specific fence and blade height setting that I don't want to change. Order of operation is crucial and having test pieces ready to go is vital.

I forgot to make test pieces...

I did have remainders from cutting out all the drawers so I used my miter saw to cut some test pieces and created a test piece.

I don't have the slot for the rail in these test pieces but I was able to see that the box was directionally correct in sizing. Then I cut all the joinery...

and test fit a box...

Yeah, it looks a little wonky but that's just the camera angle. It is actually quite square. 

And the moment of truth...  Does a dry-fit drawer fit in the cabinet with runners?

And if the above photo doesn't give it away, the answer is "yes, the drawers do fit". They've got just a little bit of wiggle which is good. There shouldn't be too much expansion and contraction since everything but the runners are made out of plywood but still, just a little wiggle is perfect.

I was running out of shop time on Friday (had a puppy play date, then dinner to prepare) but I got three of the boxes glued up and set aside. My Friday plans were to get up Saturday, glue the rest of the drawer boxes early in the morning so that when I into my dedicated shop time I could add bottoms and keep moving.

Unfortunately I stayed up too late Friday night so I was too tired on Saturday to use power tools. Part of shop safety is evaluating your own capabilities. I will not use power tools if I've had alcohol within the last 12 hours, am tired, or have other things in life causing me to be distracted. I value my safety and that of visitors to take unnecessary risks.

Gluing and clamping however doesn't require power tools so I did get the remainder of the drawer boxes glued up. I also spent some time looking for luan to make the drawer bottoms out of. I didn't really want to put "good" Baltic birch into the bottoms. Unfortunately all I could find was Baltic birch so I decided to use that rather than make a trip to Home Depot for luan.

Sunday I started by re-measuring the drawer boxes to get the width and length for the bottoms. Measure twice, cut once. I then ripped a couple of 9 3/4 inch strips from a sheet of 1/4" Baltic Birch and then cross cut those into 14 inch lengths.

Then I glued bottoms on all the drawer boxes.

I'd originally thought to just clamp them (stack them all with some weight on top) but the first one was slipping around enough with the glue that I decided to tack them in place with some 18 ga staples. I was actually looking for my 1/2 inch 18 ga brad nails but I couldn't find them so I used the 1/2 inch staples instead. Probably a better choice anyway. I did a quick check and it doesn't look like I blew through any walls.

It was at this point where the list of things remaining on this project was getting pretty short. What I really wanted - and still want - to do was to install the drawers and see the cabinet mostly complete. Unfortunately I haven't done final sanding on the case touching up any scratches and more importantly softening the edges/corners. I also want to get finish on the cabinet before putting the drawers in.

I was wrestling with quitting for the day and decided I could get one more thing done. I decided I could cut out the drawer/door handles from some scrap white oak. I've made a number of these handles before for other projects, I think I may even have shown it. I've made a plywood template for tracing out the shape.

I traced out the first row on the board, then ripped it and a second strip off the blank using my table saw. I traced the second row after ripping it free. Then I used my bandsaw to cut the handle blanks out.

I tried setting up a stop block on my drill press so I could cut out the inside curves using a Forstner bit. It was slower and less accurate than just rough cutting them with my handsaw and the sanding them with my oscillating spindle sander. The above blanks have been cut out using my band saw with a 1/4 inch blade and then sanded using my oscillating spindle sander, stationary belt sander, and hand sanding block.

Previously I rounded the corners over using my belt sander. That always felt a little risky but if I only had to do one or two it was quick to setup and didn't take that long to do. This time, having eight handles to do, I decided to use my router table. It didn't hurt that my router table was already set up with a 1/4 inch radius round over bit.

I thought this was enough for the day and called it. I still wanted to throw the drawers into the cabinet  but that needs to wait. Unfortunately it might be a couple of weeks before I get to that point.