Building a brace till #21: Cutting Drawer Fronts to Size

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 01-08-2022 06:08 PM 415 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 20: Last drawer insides Part 21 of Building a brace till series Part 22: Starting to finish the drawer fronts »

When I left off yesterday, I had roughly laid out the boards for the drawer fronts and was thinking about how best to keep them aligned through the process of attaching them to the drawer boxes.

First step was to trim the boards down to length so I wasn’t wrestling a 5-6 foot long piece around the shop. I used my “new” miter box for that.

This also will give you a bit of an idea of the chaos that is my bench top at the moment.

With that done, I wanted a way to get the drawers aligned vertically so I could mark how much I need to take off the top of the top row and the bottom of the bottom row. I decided that the best next step would be to flatten the backs of the boards. For the thicker one, this meant trimming off 3/32 in some spots, so I set up to resaw it on the bandsaw. I didn’t take any picture of that because halfway through that board, the bottom of the bandsaw blade had wandered enough that it hit the side of the insert in the table, snapped, and the end of the blade took a little bite out of my finger. Nothing a band-aid wouldn’t fix, but it threw me off a bit.

I inspected the bandsaw, and the problem is that the sliding bracket that holds the upper wheel doesn’t slide very well, and the sides of it that should be smooth so they’ll slide in the groove on the frame are all chewed up. So it sticks. So I had plenty of tension on the gauge that shows the tension on the wheel, but I didn’t have as much tension as I thought on the blade, so bad things happened. New part ordered. Sigh.

So much for having my tailed apprentice save me some work. I put a new blade on, tensioned the blade and finished the cut, and then unplugged the bandsaw until the new parts arrive.

Then I got out the transitional plane I got from my Secret Santa and smoothed the backs of the drawer fronts enough that I figured I’d be able to glue them to the drawer boxes.

I used a couple screws and a piece of blue tape to hold the top board in place while I marked and double-checked the height, then cut the excess off the top of the board and planed the top edge smooth.

Then I used the miter box to cut the drawer fronts apart.

Then I screwed each drawer front onto the drawer box putting a single screw though the area that will (hopefully) be covered by the dealer pull.

Back to the miter box to repeat that for the bottom row.

And I screwed each drawer front onto the appropriate box as I went.

With all the drawer fronts in place, I cut the two halves of the short drawers apart, after visually verifying where the cut should be, and screwed those to the drawer boxes.

I discovered that one of the runners I put in yesterday hadn’t stuck, so I cleaned it up and reglued that (luckily I had set up the glue pot when I got to the shop).

And with that, I called it a day. I’ll come back and trim a little off the left edge of the lower row of drawer fronts, trim about 3/4 inch off the bottoms of the bottom row (they all hang below the bottom of the cabinet now), then sand the fronts of them smooth and finish them with some shellac. They may get the whole French Polish treatment, but I still need to decide if I want to fill the grain first or not.

And then they’ll get the drawer pulls installed, and I’ll take a break from this till for a while. I need to repair and repaint a rocking chair we have (it used to belong to my mom) and then get started on my project for the turning swap.

Thanks for following along!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

9 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


3401 posts in 3523 days

#1 posted 01-08-2022 06:27 PM

This cabinet is progressing nicely. Too bad about the bandsaw blade, frustrating, but at least it wasn’t worse than a band aid fix.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

9304 posts in 1914 days

#2 posted 01-08-2022 06:38 PM

Thanks, Tom! I’ve broken a few lately and have been wondering what I had wrong with the machine that they were popping so often. Glad I figured out at least one of the potential causes and have a new replacement part on the way already. Plus I just received a 6-pack of blades from Suffolk, so I had a spare ready to put on.

And the break this time is the first time I’ve ever been caught by the broken end of a blade. Glad it was as minor as it was. Didn’t even need to get the super glue!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View crowie's profile


5252 posts in 3283 days

#3 posted 01-08-2022 11:18 PM

Is this house furniture or shed storage solutions!
I think house furniture…..

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Eric's profile


2824 posts in 1205 days

#4 posted 01-08-2022 11:50 PM

Those drawer fronts look good Dave, you are moving right along. I see why you built a small bench first. As for that band saw blade, sorry to hear about that one. Sounds like you figured out the reason, and it was only a minor injury.

-- Eric, building the dream

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9306 posts in 2045 days

#5 posted 01-09-2022 12:47 AM

i just love the grain match makes it look very nice :<))))))))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

9304 posts in 1914 days

#6 posted 01-09-2022 02:43 AM

Thanks, Peter! It’ll stay in the shop / shed, but I’m going to be working on some furniture for inside the house soon, so I might as well get some practice, right?

Thanks, Eric. Yeah, having the miter saw bench has been a help, if only because my main bench is full of stuff. And yeah, the bandsaw blade sucked, but I’ll heal in a few days, probably before the replacement part gets here, but it did already ship today, so that’s something.

Thanks, Tony! I’ve been saving that elm board for a while, knowing it would be the drawer fronts for this cabinet. And after this (at some point), there will be a parts bin for the shop with wormy chestnut drawer fronts. It may just be shop furniture, but it’s nice to spiff it up where I can.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Brad's profile


1148 posts in 4072 days

#7 posted 01-09-2022 04:41 PM

Superb use of continuous grain on your drawer fronts.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1666 posts in 2624 days

#8 posted 01-09-2022 04:49 PM

Like GR Hunter said great grain orientation. Looks like one big slab with draws in it.

Great job Dave

Are you going to stain it. Either way it will look fine.

-- James E McIntyre

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

9304 posts in 1914 days

#9 posted 01-09-2022 05:47 PM

Thanks, Brad!

Thanks, James! It got a coat of BLO this morning. After looking at it closely, I figure BLO plus a few coats of blonde shellac will probably be a nice finish. It means another day or two while waiting for the oil to cure, but it’s not like it’s going anywhere.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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