Floor Drill Press Cabinet #2: Drawers Fitted and Made for Drill Press Cabinet

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 10-19-2017 03:59 AM 1592 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Modified Woodsmith Plan for Drill Press Cabinet Part 2 of Floor Drill Press Cabinet series Part 3: Cut Cabinet Top and Fasten to Drawer Cabinet and Cubbies, Route Recess Areas, and Apply Finish Coat »

I followed the Woodsmith plan to use metal drawer slides. I bought Liberty slides from in order to get the cheapest pricing. I guess their quality is fine. I just do not have enough experience placing metal slides to make a good judgement. They work. I ordered 18 inch slides. The depth I had to work in the cabinet was 18 3/4 inches. The plan set the false drawer fronts to be inset and flush to the cabinet’s frame. I decided late in the game to set my false drawer front outside of the frame so the sides of the drawer fronts would be flush to the sides of the cabinet.

I determined that I would provide an 1/8 inch gap between the drawer fronts. I had strips of hardwood planed to 1/8 inches thick. I would use those when mounting or fastening the drawers front to my drawer boxes.

For the drawer boxes I used 1/2 inch thick poplar. I cut through dovetails for my drawers. I use my Leigh D4R dovetail jig for cutting my dovetails. It speeds up my process although cutting dovetails always takes some time to set the jig just right for tight fitting dovetails.

From measuring the inside height of my drawer cabinet and knowing that I would be setting the gaps between the false drawer fronts to 1/8 inches, I calculated the heights I wanted from my four drawers. Generally when I build drawers I make my false drawer fronts the same height of my drawer parts. In this build though I deviated from my general plan a bit. Since these drawer false fronts were not going to be flush inset to the cabinet, the top and bottom false drawer fronts needed to be taller in order cover the plies of the cabinet. In addition, since I was using what lumber inventory I had on hand I was going to use a shorter drawer part for my bottom drawer as compared to its false drawer front by several inches. Without getting into the details of me calculations, let me just say the inside height measurement was 19 inches. I made my two top drawers the same height of 2 15/16 inches, the middle drawer’s height I made at 5 1/4 inches, and my bottom drawer parts were 6 inches.

I use a scrap piece 3/4 inch MDF board to set the height of my drawer height. I position my metal drawers a 1/4 inch above the bottom of the drawers. I use a small strip of Baltic Birch plywood placed on top of the MDF to set the height of my metal drawer slides. Since my false drawer fronts were going to be flush outside of the cabinet then all I need to do is set the metal slide flush to the outside of the cabinet Then i predrill my screws with a self centering drill bit and then fasten the slides with the screws provided. I start at the top and work down. First one side of the drawer and then the next side. I cut the MDF to the next calculated height and begin again. The bottom drawer does not require the MDF piece. I simply use the 1/4 inch thick BB plywood strip to fasten the metal slide to the cabinet.

I used 1/4 inch Baltic Birch plywood for the drawer bottoms. I use my router table and a 1/4 inch router bit to cut my grooves. I trim the bottom of the drawer back part at the groove so I can simply slide in the drawer bottom. I fasten the bottom with three short wood screws.

I have a shopmade gauge to check the squareness of my drawers when gluing and clamping the drawer parts together. I bought Lee Valley's bar gauge heads to make this tool. The image below shows its use. i like it. I can get this into areas that are difficult to do with just a tape measure.

Once the drawers were made and out of their clamps, I began to mount the metal drawer slides. After that I began to cut the false drawer fronts. The drawer widths were cut to a single measurement from outside to outside of the cabinet. I dry fitted the drawer fronts with the 1/8 gap strips in place. To fasten the false drawers front I empted the top drawers and started with the bottom drawer front first. I used two small clamps to hold it in place. I pre-drilled four holes with a countersink. After I fastened all the false drawer fronts then I was able to look at them to see if the lined up correctly. I had to make small adjustments afterwards to them set perfectly. New holes were drilled for the drawers that I adjusted so they would not slide into the previous hole.

I use a template to set the drawer handles. It has a center mark on the template. To determine the center line I divided the drawer front by four. That number was something like 7 5/8 inches. I marked a pencil line on the top drawer 7 5/8 inches in from it left edge and it right edge. I did the same for the bottom drawer. With a rule lined up on these top and bottom marks, I pencil marked the other two drawer fronts. Now I could put this iinexpensive plastic jig to work. The handles I bought had 3 inches between the screw or bolt holes. I started with a small bit that would not harm the plastic jig. Then with holes started I finished drilling the holes all the way through with a 3/16 inch drill bit so the bolt would fit easily inside it. Since I had 1/2 inch thick drawer front part with a 3/4 inch thick plywood false drawer front, I had to hacksaw a 1/4 inch off each bolt. That worked nicely and the handles look perfectly positioned.

Now with the cabinet with it drawers made and placed and the cubbies built, I sanded all the assembled parts. I fastened the cabinet and the cubbies to the plywood base. I used 1 1/4 inch wood screws. I pre-drilled the holes for the screws. I also used screws from inside the drawer cabinet to fasten each cubby.

Once this was completed I was able to turn my attention to the cabinet top.

-- --- Happy Howie

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