Farmhouse Table w_Buffet #7: Buffet Drawers

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 05-05-2015 12:47 PM 2050 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Buffet Lower Shelf Part 7 of Farmhouse Table w_Buffet series Part 8: A Bench is Added »

Started work on the drawers over the weekend, when the center slides came in from an internet order placed last week. Haven’t dealt with slides before, so there’s some apprehension. Picked out what I needed at The Home Depot, but their stock was depleted. Hence the mail order. Anyway, I have the hardware and know there’s a 1/4”clearance needed for each slide. But enough talk, how about action?

I marked a piece of pine stock –bought as buffet casework- as drawer fronts by tracing the drawer frame right onto the board. With a little handplane work on ends and edges, each of them was a pretty good fit to the buffet.

Pulled oak stock from my ‘drawer sides salvage stock,’ six pieces that’ll do nicely.

Each piece had to be cut to the proper length, and I did that at the RAS. Then the dados had to be cut; that was done with the #238, ensuring the 1/4” clearance was in place for the center slide.

Then it was time to start the half-blind dovetail process for each of the drawers. Doing these is likely my favorite bench activity, beginning with set-up of the #198 Gauge (told you I loved this tool). Once I knew those overall limits, I could lay out the dovetails. Not having mastered the use of dividers for this, I’ve settled into the habit of dovetail marking via chisel:

It works for me! And once those were marked, it was a simple matter of cutting tails on three pairs of drawer sides with the Disston gent’s saw, removing waste with the Disston 10B coping saw and chiseling out whatever was left with the Stanely SW #720 re-issues.

When all tails were cut, it was onto marking and cutting of each drawer front.

First one wasn’t bad (some rust in the ole’ skillset):

Second and third ones benefitted from having the tails marked with knife vs pencil.

End of the day and I had two drawer fronts mated with their sides, about 90 minutes invested in this subactivity thus far. Seeing drawers stuck in place gave me a good feeling this would all pull together eventually!

By the end of the next shop session, all three drawer sets were done, to a near-complete install of 3/4” drawer backs that are dado’d into the sides (side dadoes cut at RAS):

Because the center drawer slides anchor through the bottom and into the drawer backs from underneath, the backs were cut flush with the top of the drawer sides. Bottoms were made from a piece of 1/4” plywood I found along the back wall of the shop. Old stuff, very nice stuff.

Some glue up action took place over the next couple days.

A bunch of fitting and fettling to get each of them working the way I wanted them too, work that blew through the guesstimated time. Install of the slides was straightforward.

But again, fitting drawers is not a fave activity. Guess it’d be better using false fronts that screw into the drawers. Maybe next time. But I learned a lot (and I’m talking about drawer installation, not estimating).

I will say, after being motivated to try it based on a video Red posted, it’s a damn fine activity to trim drawer sides with the Stanley #9! Why? More area in front of the iron to register against the piece, ensuring a flat run. Worked awesome.

And as you can see in that last close up, I added a bead to the bottom edge of each drawer with the #66.

All was fit and glued up with drawer bottoms and backs, and drawers were officially done. Oh, the knobs are ‘legacy’ and will be painted / installed later. Let’s call this ‘done’ for now, so until next time, Thanks for Looking!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

11 comments so far

View terryR's profile


7561 posts in 2909 days

#1 posted 05-05-2015 01:03 PM

Excellent reading, and nice work, Smitty!
That looks like a fine excuse to buy a No.9.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16319 posts in 3219 days

#2 posted 05-05-2015 01:05 PM

Don’t walk, Run! to your nearest Stanley dealer, right?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3199 days

#3 posted 05-05-2015 01:13 PM

So speaking of estimating time, where are we at with the overall time spent on the entire project vs estimated time investment?

It is coming along nicely by the way. Were the end users expecting half blind hand cut dovetails? that has to be an added bonus to their piece.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16319 posts in 3219 days

#4 posted 05-05-2015 01:15 PM

From a general standpoint, Shane, I would not offer the same rate if I were to build this same set again. All the estimates are good except drawers and finishing… Drawers off by about 4 hours, and finishing (prime, paint, stain, clear coat) off by 4 to 6 hours.

EDIT: I don’t think they were expecting it. But honestly, I included the hours to make them in the quote because it’s the only way I can build drawers with any degree of confidence.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3753 days

#5 posted 05-05-2015 01:24 PM

great show Smitty, I’m at a similar stage in my commission build, I’m getting too the part where I need to make drawers and I am tempted to cut them by hand but I’m scared of the time it is going to add to this project, I’m very tempted to do plywood drawers with box jointed corners.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Pat3's profile


132 posts in 2480 days

#6 posted 05-05-2015 03:43 PM

Love it!
Xlnt progress, really enjoying all the details.
Love making drawers by hand, so much satisfaction when the end product is completed.
Makes me look forward to building the drawer for the table I am working on now, still about a week away for me.
Great idea with the beading detail. I have been on the look out locally for a beading plane. I have tried practicing making a bead using a Snipes Bill Plane and a small Round Plane, but can’t get the look or repeatability needed to try it on a project yet.
Keep’em coming :0)

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8550 posts in 2583 days

#7 posted 05-05-2015 04:52 PM

This has been fun to watch. Thanks for taking the time Smitty.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16319 posts in 3219 days

#8 posted 05-05-2015 06:28 PM

This is the point in the build that I started taking better pictures of the process (I’m sure you’ve all noticed). At the home stretch!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Mean_Dean's profile


7016 posts in 3748 days

#9 posted 05-05-2015 11:50 PM

As Norm would say, you’re gaining on it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2873 days

#10 posted 05-06-2015 02:54 AM

Half Blind Dovetails, I didn’t see that one comin’.

...but Hey, If yer buildin’ a Signature Piece, ya gotta’ feel the pride when ya sign yer name to it. Nice touch.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View AnthonyReed's profile


10115 posts in 3041 days

#11 posted 05-06-2015 02:26 PM

Pulled oak stock from my ‘drawer sides salvage stock,’” – Smittyness. :-)

Moving along at a good clip and looking great. Thanks Smitty.

-- ~Tony

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