My First Bandsaw Box #11: Step 9.5: (Extra Step) Decorating the Front of Your Drawer

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Blog entry by Jonathan posted 12-23-2010 05:37 PM 2900 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Step 9: Glue on the Back of Your Box Part 11 of My First Bandsaw Box series Part 12: Step 10: Final Sanding & Applying a Finish to Your Box »

This is one of those extra steps I had planned on taking from the very beginning. I decided that the front of the drawer would be the focal point from which everything would flow.

My plan when starting this bandsaw box was to use the Penn State Nittany Lion logo as the design for the front of the box. I’m going to incorporate it here by woodburning it onto the front of the drawer.

I have done a little bit of woodburning in the past, so I already had a woodburner on-hand. At the very beginning of starting this drawer, my woodburner broke, or more accurately, I broke a tip off down in the woodburner. I thought about trying to extract it, but decided I’d just get a new woodburner. And I’m glad I decided to just get a new one as well because the old woodburner was only a 750-degree one, versus the new one that I picked up at Hobby Lobby was rated at 950-degrees.

With this newfound heat, the woodburning went a lot quicker. One of the other reasons I’m sure it went quicker this time was because I was burning pine, versus hard maple. Whatever the case was, I like this one new one better anyway, as it came with one or two tips that I liked, could use the old tips as well, and had a better stand than the old one. And I still only paid about $11 for it, with tax, as I had a 40% off coupon. So I would recommend making sure you get one that is at least this hot. I know there are certainly better units out there, but at this point in time, I just need basic woodburner.

We need to start by getting our design onto the front of our drawer. I again used the carbon tracing paper under my photocopied logo, then traced around the Nittany Lion with a pencil to transfer the image to the front of the drawer. I would recommend using a pencil to trace your image, as a pen may tend to push into the wood too much, creating more than just a carbon outline of your image! I didn’t make that mistake here, but have made it in the past, so that’s why I’m mentioning it now.

Now we need to set up our burning station. I made sure I was at a comfortable spot with lots of really good lighting. This happened to be in our kitchen, where we’ve got a little run of countertop that a stool fits under, like a little desk area, that’s in a corner full of natural light from the windows. I also used a gripper mat to hold the drawer securely. As you can see, I used a small test scrap since this was a new, hotter burner, and a tip I had never used before. I wanted to gauge it all before starting on the actual drawer front:

Go ahead and plug your woodburner in and let it heat up for 10-15 minutes, making sure you have a fairly fine tip in there since we’re going to do the outline first, then go back and fill-in the interior. After your burner is nice and hot, go ahead and begin outlining the piece:

One thing to remember here is that you can always burn darker and deeper, so it’s best to make shallow passes/lines at first, since you can’t easily undo what you just did (without sanding).

After your outline is complete to your satisfaction, go ahead and switch tips to whatever you want to use on the interior of the design. I chose a round tip that produces a small, even circle and burned to various depths, with some being deeper than others to give me a random burn pattern:

Then go ahead and continue filling in, but feel free to take breaks if your eyes or hands get tired. It’ll be waiting for you when you’re fresh again!

OK, we’re now done with the woodburning step! This took somewhere between 1-2 hours I think. I didn’t really time it.

Remember, I’m leaving the ear outline there and not burning it since that’s where the drawer pull is going to be glued-on.

That completes our extra step of decorating the front of the drawer.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

2 comments so far

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 3435 days

#1 posted 12-24-2010 03:26 AM

Looks like a lot of work to me. I’ve been working on mine so it will be done for Christmas. Almost there, just have to spray a couple more coats of finish on and epoxy the pulls on. It looks great so far, hope it ends up that way too.

These boxes take a lot more work than folks think. I’ve been sanding on it for a week now. Crazy lot of sanding.

Also, the glued won’t take finish in the drawer recesses after the back is glued back on and no way to get to it to sand it off. I’ll have to give that a little more though on the next one. Won’t matter with the drawers in place though. I’m just a perfectionist I guess.

Yours is coming along great, keep up the good work and I’ll drive down and see it soon.


-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3564 days

#2 posted 12-24-2010 07:52 PM

Pete, I took a 1/4” chisel and a dental pick to my glue lines. The chisel worked wel on the back lines. You could also use dewaxed shellac over any minor imperfections to allow your finish to adhere.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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