Thursday, 12 November 2015

Chest of drawers....The making of - Part 1

I am currently making a pair of chest of drawers. It is a long process making anything with drawers in, as the drawers themselves take a while to make.

Although the drawers are the last thing to make, getting the timber machined up for them at the start of the project is a good idea as it allows the wood to dry and settle.

So here is how I do this part of the process.

First of all, select the timber you are going to use for the drawers. In this case, I am using American cherry.  It is a good wood, as it has few defects, comes in good size planks, supplied dry, and is stable.

I got some big planks sent to me. Each was about 3.4m long, about 160mm wide and 50mm thick. For those who want to know, it was 7 cubic feet of timber.

The downsize of these long lengths was they didn't fit in the lift up to the workshop. They had to be carried up the stairs to the 3rd floor.

The planks laying down are the American cheery used to make the drawer boxes.

Next I work out how to cut these planks up to make the best usage of the wood. I worked out that from a 1.2m length, this wood give me a piece for the drawer side, and a piece for the front (or back) of the drawer.

I cut the large planks into these length, and machined them on four faces giving a final thickness ranging from 46mm to 51mm.

The cherry machined up into 1.2m lengths.

Now comes the hard slog.  These planks are then ripped (a woodworking term that means cutting along the length of the grain) into strips 15mm thick.

So each plank has two edges, that is two cuts on the band saw to give two pieces, and then the rough surfaces on the plank from the cut are then cleaned up (and squared) with a couple of passes on the jointer. Repeat until all the wood has been processed.

Here are all the strips of wood straight from the band saw

I got about 150 strips of wood from the planks.  These can now sit while I make the carcass of the chests. During this time the wood will dry more and become more stable.

Lucky all those pieces, when arranged nicely, fitted under my bench.

The timber neatly stacked up under my workbench

So what will I ultimately do with all these strips of wood? Yes stick them back together! Ha ha ha.......utter madness!

Next I will be starting to make the carcasses. Funny enough, this also starts with cutting more wood into smaller pieces.......

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