004: cheap, rolling lathe stand #4: installing the drawers

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 02-06-2010 03:22 PM 6314 reads 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: drawers from scrap material Part 4 of 004: cheap, rolling lathe stand series Part 5: dust hood mount solution »

When I last left off, I showed the dovetail slides, but they didn’t have a good way yet of attaching to the drawers, and weren’t in the drawer carcase yet. That reminds me. Here’s the carcase installed:

drawer carcase installed under lathe stand

I cut a piece of scrap ply to fit on the top and tacked it on with small, set nails – lots of ‘em :)

And now for another rambling video on how I finished up the drawer slides:

This was the glue-up on the drawer blocks:

gluing peg blocks onto drawer slides

Adding walnut pegs through the slide blocks to retain the rear sides of the drawers:

adding retaining pegs

These are the countersunk screws in the back of the dovetail slide to join it to the back frame inside:

countersunk screws in dovetail slide

Front of the peg block on one slide:

peg block on drawer slide

Pegs sliding into back of drawer:

pegs sliding in

pegs slid in

Installing the slides:

installing drawer slides

It was a bit tricky to get into the back, so I had to use a small ratcheting screwdriver to install the countersunk wood screws in the back of the slides. When that wasn’t strong enough, I moved to a right-angle attachment on my drill, which was just barely small enough to squeeze in, and quite awkward. I wished I hadn’t installed the inlaid panels around the outside. It would have made installation so fast.

installed dovetail slide

Here’s a testing of a drawer slide:

Here’s a drawer box installed. Note that it’s just a little wobbly. I can do some things to counter that, like putting some rails under the sides of the drawer, or adding a strip of plastic to the sides of the drawer to run against the sides of the face frame, or I could have made tighter dovetails out of a harder wood, but so far in the finished drawers it’s not a bother:

Here I’m gluing in the support blocks under the drawer slides. This gave me a chance to get the fronts exactly centered, as the drawer boxes were already slid onto their pegs and screwed in at the front, so they were part of the slides at this point:

gluing in drawer slide support blocks

This is the careful gluing on of the drawer fronts. I did a lot of tweaking as I worked here, and as the glue was setting, because these are inset drawers with little clearance between themselves and the face frame holes:

gluing on of drawer fronts

And here I am testing the finished drawers:

And here’s a total mess I made on the new stand in the garage the other day with the new drawers helping me sort several things:

stand in operation

The right drawer front, despite all of my careful fussing ended up just a whisker high. Whereas the left drawer front was perfectly centered, the right front scraped against the top of the face frame. I was able to shave them in place with my Buck Bros. 3-inch block plane. It’s quite a handy little tool still, and still quite sharp. The walnut top planed away easily with just my other hand holding the opposite side of the front against the planing motion. Nice, full-length curls:

walnut curl

full length walnut curl

Then I had to get artsy with the shavings :)

artsy walnut shavings

walnut curls

It reminds me of some crazy tshirts I’ve seen. I kind of want to make a trivet like this, with a frame and a bunch of curly shavings packed tightly inside.

Further plans for the rolling stand include:

  • PVC tubes above the drawers for the tools
  • some weights inside the bottom frame and a shelf on top of it
  • a system on the back to hold one of my 2 plastic dust hoods with 4” ports
  • divider boxes for the drawers to add a second level and sort things better

Thanks for reading!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

15 comments so far

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5095 days

#1 posted 02-06-2010 03:53 PM

Now those are some cool drawer slides! Now the only thing you will need to remember is to completely close the drawers before turning to avoid having them fill up with shavings. Don’t ask me how I know this ;^)


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4416 days

#2 posted 02-06-2010 04:25 PM

Grown to enjoy these well detailed blogs of yours Gary. Very informative…..

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View cosmicturner's profile


403 posts in 4735 days

#3 posted 02-06-2010 06:12 PM

Good work Gary I like the drawers

-- Cosmicturner

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 5053 days

#4 posted 02-06-2010 06:15 PM

Gary, your work and attention to detail contradict the title of this blog. A suggestion when you install the pvc tubes you may want to cut away 1 side, leaving both ends intact, and mount the opening face up with the handle end elevated. this allows you to change tools by just looking down and not having to hunt for th right tool

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 4688 days

#5 posted 02-06-2010 08:32 PM


I am curious as to what consideration you gave to expansion and contraction of the wood in the slides. I see your somewhere in LA, here in the Midwest where the annual relative humidity swings from 40% to 90% anything built that tight (btw impressive craftsmanship) in February would lock up in the humidity of the summer.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4917 days

#6 posted 02-06-2010 08:45 PM

Hey Gary
fine work on the slides and a super Blog. I kinda wonder how seasonal weather changes might effect the sliding of your wood slides.


View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4721 days

#7 posted 02-07-2010 12:55 AM

Thanks, everyone!

jlsmith and Jim – Good question about wood movement in the slides. It had been raining hard for most of a month by the time I built them, so I’m kind of wondering now if they’ll get more loose in the dry summer months here. We’ll just have to see what happens, and if they seize up, I’ll definitely report it here on the site in a new blog entry.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 5031 days

#8 posted 02-07-2010 01:33 AM

Gary i really really like this idea and if you dont mind i would like to use it for my lathe i have one question is there any thought behind why the frame is angled at the back and do you see any problem making the frame square


-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4721 days

#9 posted 02-07-2010 02:53 AM

Andy, I don’t see a problem. I was just thinking angled legs like a saw horse, so the force is spread out at the bottom. It will take tipping a lot more to get the weight over the rear support legs if they’re angled back a bit, similar to a chair. If it’s sturdy and heavy enough, and wide enough at the bottom, though, it should stay put.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 4688 days

#10 posted 02-07-2010 02:53 AM

Even though I lived in the bay area at one point in my life, I always seem to forget that winter is wet and summer is dry, so the tight fit in February is what you want.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23334 posts in 5016 days

#11 posted 02-07-2010 05:01 AM

Great blog and project.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Rustic's profile


3260 posts in 4936 days

#12 posted 02-07-2010 06:17 AM

I love the sliding dovetail

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5667 days

#13 posted 03-04-2010 02:20 AM

It just dawned on me that I need to get going on a new lathe stand. I found some plans before we moved that I liked, but have since changed my mind… This might just be the ticket. Looks like you’ve got the height right, how is the room at your feet? – oh and where is the project with those curls you were eluding to? ;)

Great series.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4721 days

#14 posted 03-04-2010 10:49 AM

scottb – I haven’t yet gotten a chance to really put it through its paces, so I’m afraid to comment too much. It feels higher than when I had the lathe sitting on the saw table, though it’s an inch or two lower. That could be because of the lack of foot room. Perhaps I’m leaning forward a bit? As I use it, hopefully soon, I’ll be reporting on my experiences, good and/or bad. Thanks!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View WoodyWoodWrecker's profile


171 posts in 4591 days

#15 posted 03-04-2010 10:24 PM

Looking at your blogs and video’s really makes my wish my shop was done. I’m going to try and finish it soon but I work quite a few weekends and haven’t been able to get to it. I’m new to woodworking and hope to start getting some experience soon.

Scottb, I think the curls are from his drawer fronts.

-- You always have tomorrow to stop procrastinating.

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