Taliesin Desk Build - How's and Why's #15: Drawers

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Blog entry by EarlS posted 10-13-2016 01:49 AM 1157 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Breadboard Ends Part 15 of Taliesin Desk Build - How's and Why's series Part 16: The Wood Working Blues »

There are as many different approaches to drawers as there are woodworkers. The way I see it, a drawer is a box that slides into an opening. The use and type of drawer decide what is needed. In this case, the drawers don’t need to be fancy or complicated. The center drawer is 2” x 12- ½” x 24”, the side drawers 11– ½” wide. The drawer box is ¾” maple to give it a nice clean appearance. A cherry front will match the rest of the desk, and the drawer bottom is ¼” walnut plywood to add a visual contrast to the maple and continue the use of walnut as an accent throughout the desk.

After planning some rough maple to ¾” thick, cutting the various pieces to length and height I pulled out the Leigh dovetail jig and instruction manual and set things up to make through dovetails. I always read through the manual to make sure I don’t miss a step. Past experience taught me not to use a plunge router since I am in the habit of retracting the plunger after each pass with the router. In this case, releasing the plunger retracts the dovetail bit into the guide sleeve and destroys the sleeve and nicks the bit…. I wrote a reminder in the manual in big red letters to make sure I don’t repeat that expensive mistake again.

After finishing the pins and tails and checking the fit, a slot was added to the inside edge of the drawer pieces for the plywood bottom. The slot needs to be slightly taller than the slide so the drawer will still slide freely as the wood expands and contracts through the seasons. By using a slightly undersized dado and a flipping the boards over for a second pass, I achieved a slightly over-sized slot for the slider that was exactly centered on the drawer side.

Previously, when the drawer dividers were being made, a ½” slot was added in the center of the divider for the drawer slider. The openings on the drawer frame are ½” taller than the drawer box. The extra space will ensure that the drawer doesn’t rub on the top or bottom. The openings in the frame are also wider than the drawer for the same reason. I remember reading somewhere that the only part of the drawer that should touch the drawer frame is the top edge of the slot where the drawer slides on the runner

I ripped several ½” strips of maple for use as the runners and checked to make sure they fit tightly in the slots in the frame. The drawers were slid into place to check for fit. As you can see, I also added the plywood bottom and some drawer dividers.

The drawers were disassembled, sanded, glued, and sprayed with polyurethane.

Additionally, the runners were glued into the drawer frame. Once again – you can’t have too many clamps.

Drawer fronts and some finishing details are all that is left of the build. There is also a final coat of polyurethane to spray on and rub out. Just in time too, as the stained glass panels for the legs are ready for pick up.

Hopefully, everything goes well and the finish dries well in spite of the weather changing and the desk will be ready for final pictures next week. That leaves one more installment of the Taliesin Desk Build to wrap things up.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

3 comments so far

View WhattheChuck's profile


455 posts in 4636 days

#1 posted 10-13-2016 03:00 PM

Looking forward to the finale!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View JimYoung's profile


407 posts in 2663 days

#2 posted 10-14-2016 02:16 AM

Can’t wait to see those panels in place.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View pintodeluxe's profile


6370 posts in 3889 days

#3 posted 10-14-2016 04:30 AM

Some pretty nice things happening here. I am enjoying this blog.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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