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Rebuilt kitchen drawers w lock joints

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Project by EllenWoodHead posted 02-28-2020 02:06 AM 1142 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Behold, the lovely rebuilt drawers with full-extension slides!

My original drawers were 25 years old and falling apart. They were literally made of cardboard and stapled together. Which is not so bad, considering how long they lasted. I would have left them unmolested but for the bottoms falling off, lol staples.

The oak fronts were attached with a millionty staples. I know because I counted them. I removed the oak fronts so I could re-use them.

Then I got a bright idea and went “Hey I can make nice drawer lock joints! It looks easy and awesome!” So I ordered a drawer lock router bit from MLCS. Several hours, eleventy-three test cuts and $25 of poor innocent Baltic birch later, I had it dialed in. I could not eliminate the last tiny bit of gap, oh well, anyone who comes to my house and notices can keep it to themselves.

The sides are 5/8” Baltic birch, the real deal from the wonderful Windsor Plywood, and the bottoms are 1/4” Baltic birch snugged into a slightly loose dado. The only metal fasteners hold the slides, knobs, and oak fronts in place. The drawer boxes are held together only with the drawer lock joints and glue. If they fall apart in 25 years I’ll be dead and probably won’t care.

As you can see in the test-fit pic, the plain boxes without the oak fronts, they are not perfectly aligned vertically. Do I care? No, for the oak fronts hide those tiny millimeters of imprecision.

I succeeded in aligning the slides so well that I can open and close the drawers with one finger, even though they are loaded with pots and pans. Alignment was greatly aided by my little Bosch GLL 2 laser level.

Ordinarily I am not a fan of pocket screws, but in this case they were awesome sauce because that allowed me to easily remove the face frame rails for more working room. You know the drill—getting up in years, knees don’t work, tummy takes up too much space, any advantage is a big deal.

The boxes are finished with a couple coats of spray can poly. Didn’t bother with sanding for a perfect finish, I just wanted a little protection.

Tools used in this fun project:

Ridgid R4512 table saw (a fine saw, and if yours doesn’t work right go through the manual and review all the adjustments).
Bosch RA1181 router table and Bosch 1617 router.
The glorious Lie-Neilsen No. 102 Low Angle Block Plane. I love this little plane and use it on everything, it fits my small hands perfectly. If I were not already married to my splendid wife I would marry my block plane.
Rubber sanding block 220 grit.
Bosch GLL 2 laser level.
No-name portable rechargeable LED light omg so awesome to see wtf I am doing.

Baby goat and I celebrate our success!

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"





12 comments so far

View swirt's profile

swirt

6027 posts in 3984 days


#1 posted 02-28-2020 02:19 AM

Nice work on the improvement.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

7903 posts in 4365 days


#2 posted 02-28-2020 03:46 AM

Much better than cardboard! They look great Ellen!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Rich's profile

Rich

6544 posts in 1601 days


#3 posted 02-28-2020 04:56 AM

Beautiful work on the drawers. Did you mention a gap? I don’t see it. Love my LN 102 as well. It’s a dream to use.

The drawer lock bit is a lot like a lock miter bit in that the bit height and distance to the fence are critical and you can wind up chasing your tail as you try to get it right. You can work out a formula based on the thickness of the parts to ensure a quick setup for any dimension once you get it right so setup is easy in the future.

I’m not familiar with that Bosch laser level. If you ever do a review, I’d love to read it.

And finally, welcome to LJ. I like your style.

Oh, and since gaps do happen—on BB ply, Timbermate in the Maple/Beech/Pine tint is a virtually exact match for filling any gap, tear out, whatever.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

8499 posts in 3277 days


#4 posted 02-28-2020 07:07 AM

Good on you!!! I too built a new kitchen for my bride and used top of the line mechanical soft close drawer slides. Boy did the wife ever love them. I also added soft close cabinet door hinges. She totally loves them. Maybe I finally did something right. Well maybe till the next time the toilet plugs up!

View pottz's profile

pottz

14891 posts in 1996 days


#5 posted 02-28-2020 02:25 PM

very nice rebuild should last another 50 years.and the gap,only you and pots and pans will ever know.welcome to lumber jocks.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View EllenWoodHead's profile

EllenWoodHead

154 posts in 388 days


#6 posted 02-28-2020 04:22 PM


The drawer lock bit is a lot like a lock miter bit in that the bit height and distance to the fence are critical and you can wind up chasing your tail as you try to get it right. You can work out a formula based on the thickness of the parts to ensure a quick setup for any dimension once you get it right so setup is easy in the future.

After I had my router adjusted correctly I made a couple of little setup blocks, because the next phase of the project is retrofitting all the base cabinets with pull-out shelves. I tried calculating bit height and fence placement and got it pretty close, but it is so finicky “pretty close” looks like “lol nope”.


I m not familiar with that Bosch laser level. If you ever do a review, I d love to read it.

Good idea, will do. short story: for an inexpensive laser level it’s pretty nice.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View EllenWoodHead's profile

EllenWoodHead

154 posts in 388 days


#7 posted 02-28-2020 04:27 PM



very nice rebuild should last another 50 years.and the gap,only you and pots and pans will ever know.welcome to lumber jocks.

- pottz

Exactly right, and if the pots and pans are bothered I don’t care :)

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View Rich's profile

Rich

6544 posts in 1601 days


#8 posted 02-28-2020 04:55 PM


After I had my router adjusted correctly I made a couple of little setup blocks, because the next phase of the project is retrofitting all the base cabinets with pull-out shelves. I tried calculating bit height and fence placement and got it pretty close, but it is so finicky “pretty close” looks like “lol nope”.

- EllenWoodHead

Set up blocks are good. I prefer to use a digital height gauge. The iGaging product is easy to use to measure bit height and can be laid flat on the router table to measure the distance of the bit to the fence. I simply write those two values down and store it with the bit for future reference. If all of your drawer sides are going to be the same thickness, then that’s all you need.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View RDan's profile

RDan

177 posts in 3336 days


#9 posted 02-28-2020 10:47 PM

Nice drawers, I rebuilt several of mine. Doing different things for each bank. First one’s used Pocket screws, the front panel hides them well. Liked how easy it was to take apart and resize. Next set will be the lock miter bit from Rockler. I also have the iBox jig and PC 12” dovetail jig to try. I did the soft close, but half the household fails to give the extra push. :( Great job! Dan

View EllenWoodHead's profile

EllenWoodHead

154 posts in 388 days


#10 posted 03-01-2020 10:54 PM


The iGaging product is easy to use to measure bit height and can be laid flat on the router table to measure the distance of the bit to the fence.

I like the looks of that. Already thinking of a lot of ways to use it.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View htl's profile

htl

5358 posts in 2171 days


#11 posted 03-31-2020 09:44 PM

Looking good and that hard ware should hold up and run smooth as glass.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs https://www.lumberjocks.com/htl/blog/130264

View mafe's profile

mafe

12928 posts in 4101 days


#12 posted 12-31-2020 01:06 AM

Hi Ellen,
Really fine re build, always wonderful to bring things back to life.
What a wonderful picture, with you and the wee goat.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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