Life as an Amateur Woodworker #61: Bedside Table Build

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Blog entry by PhilBello posted 11-24-2015 10:15 PM 1031 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 60: Bedside tables Part 61 of Life as an Amateur Woodworker series Part 62: Bedside Tables Finished »

Having cut all the timber it was time to do something with it!

I assembled the tops, and sides, minus the trim, using pocket hole screws and glue, sanded them with 80 grit, until they are all level, next I attached the trim, before continuing the sanding. I also sanded the side trim and the legs.

Then it was time to start the build, things went together, but not as smoothly as I would have liked.

There were a lot of pocket holes to be drilled, all on the inside, so none of them will be seen, those shown here, both attach the boards together, and also outwards, attach to the legs, I also used pocket holes to attach the rails, this was probably a mistake, had I been able to keep to the original plans, it would have been fine, because I could have got my drill inside the frame, but because I had had to reduce the size, I ended up having to manually screw everything together, which took time, I would have been better drilling from the outside, screwing it together, and then filling the holes and sanding again…you live and learn, even after 40 years of woodworking!

On one of the units, a rail moved whilst I was attaching it, unbeknown to me, and is 1/8” out of square, I thought about dismantling it, but… So I will adjust the drawer fronts to fit, and hopefully no one will notice. I also had a clamp slip, which split one of the trim boards on the side, a nuisance, but I resolved that by running my trim router around the sides with a round over bit, which disguised the damage.

I made the decision, to go for wooden drawer runners, so firstly I assembled the drawer carcases, there is nothing fancy about them, because they are so small, they are just glued and brad nailed. I sorted out some mahogany and oak scraps, the gap on either side of the drawer is 1/2”, I have therefore cut all my runners at 3/8”, and 10” long, there are thirty-six of them in total, for each drawer side there will be one mounted to the drawer, and two to the unit. These have all been countersunk and drilled ready to screw in place, once the drawers are completed and double checked to be square.

Next, cutting plywood sheets. Firstly I needed to cut to approximate and a workable size. This I have made easier, by adding rails to my two saw-horses and making them into a panel cutter, I did this some time ago, but this is the first time they have seen action, and it made it so easy. I stood the plywood panel in the rails, with the cutting line between the two saw-horses, measured my piece, then clamped my circular saw guide to the panel, and cut, couple of minutes, each was done.

Then I was able to cut the workable pieces to their exact measurements on the table saw.

This morning, I attached all the drawer bottoms, using glue and brad nails, if they had been going to take any weight, I would have cut a slot in the sides to take the plywood base, but as it is, this method will be fine. I then sanded the units, again with 80 grit, onto 120 and finally 320 grit, they are now silky smooth. That done it was time to find out if my wooden drawer runners work. I used a piece of scrap timber as a template, to mark on each drawer where I wanted the bottom of the runner, once I had marked both units, I then installed the runners, which were drilled and countersunk for screws, I also glued the runners. Once the drawer runners were installed, I had to install the unit runners, they had to correspond with the drawers, there was plenty of wiggle room, so using my framing square, I used the body to mark the place for the bottom runner, and the tongue ran alongside the unit to ensure the runner was square. I then glued and screwed them in place. That done, I used a spare runner as a spacer, and fitted the top runner.

As you can see in the photo above, it is a simple system, which was the method used in the olden days, you have to wonder why they changed, when you see the price of modern runners! Once all the drawers had had their runners fitted I tried them out to ensure there were no problems, and they slotted in nicely.

As you can see in the photo, I had to use screws on one drawer in the end, as it was refusing to stay square. I will fit a stop on each drawer, before fitting the back, so they will not pull straight out, but I will make it so it can be moved if a drawer needs removing for any reason. Now I need to cut the drawer face plates, to fit on the front of each drawer, and fill the space. These will have the handles fitted before attaching them to the drawer.

I still have to varnish the units, then fit the tops and backs, then they will be complete, hopefully sometime this week.

Unfortunately this is all taking longer than I anticipated, as I have been diagnosed with cancer, it started with a malignant melanoma on my back, I was told if caught soon enough the odds were great, unfortunately I knew I had had this for at least four years. When I was living in Spain, I would work in the garden in temperatures up to 45 / 50°C without a shirt, and until last week I have never used sun cream in my life, my fault! and to be honest it has not come as a surprise, but it has to be dealt with. I am waiting to go in for an operation, which will show definitely whether it has spread, so I have had to take time out for tests and Specialists. I feel fine, so I am staying positive…It’s a case of having to.

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

1 comment so far

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8881 posts in 3448 days

#1 posted 11-25-2015 02:07 AM


Wow! sorry to hear the medical news. looks like you got the furniture for the Bedroom almost done.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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