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View David Schwarz's profile

The Wardrobe Closet - how do I "fix" this.

by David Schwarz
posted 02-17-2018 05:16 AM


37 replies so far

View jonah's profile

jonah

2079 posts in 3808 days


#1 posted 02-17-2018 05:23 AM

You can easily sand those flush with a random orbital sander. Start with 80 or 100 grit and work up to 150-180.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4158 days


#2 posted 02-17-2018 05:29 AM

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12907 posts in 2890 days


#3 posted 02-17-2018 06:10 AM


Question number one – so that I can now be more conversational in my woodworking wanderings, I would be grateful if someone could share with me how to refer to the various components highlighted by the four colored arrows.

- David Schwarz

This will be interesting, I bet you get a lot of different answers. Never having seen anything built this way, I checked Illustrated cabinetmaking and there was nothing helpful there so I went with my first impression. The purple I would call a rail because it’s roughly equivalent to a dresser rail. Green = stile or post because it’s a vertical support piece. Blue, an apron if a top is attached or a stretcher if none. Red = header. There may be architectural terms that are a better fit.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4158 days


#4 posted 02-17-2018 06:21 AM

Your construction methods are unorthodox
in that traditional casework wasn’t made
as skeleton frames because it had the purpose
of keeping stuff like dust and vermin out.

In any case, the frame under a drawer is called
a web frame. Again yours are unorthodox
because you’ll presumably be using drawer
slides. Sometimes thin dust panels are fitted
in the web frame. I suppose they kept dust
from sifting down onto costly linens in lower
drawers.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#5 posted 02-17-2018 03:12 PM



Your construction methods are unorthodox
in that traditional casework wasn t made
as skeleton frames because it had the purpose
of keeping stuff like dust and vermin out.
- Loren

Sorry Loren – this is always the risk one takes when posting without all the details. Here is an earlier rendition of what everything will look like assembled:

This project is to be constructed primarily from maple and walnut. The design (I claim all responsibility for it’s unorthodox nature) is my attempt to be as efficient as possible with the wood purchased. When all is said and done, nothing will be “open” to the elements. At least that’s the plan.

David

-- I make trees cry.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#6 posted 02-17-2018 03:17 PM



You can easily sand those flush with a random orbital sander. Start with 80 or 100 grit and work up to 150-180.

- jonah

Thanks Jonah. My fear with any sanding approach is rounding edges where I want to maintain perfect 90 degree angles. The secondary concern is losing my flat surfaces as I sand. Your skills are likely more refined than mine – I still struggle to keep everything on a linear plane when I break out sand paper. Seems I’m always taking more off the outer edges of any project I tackle. That’s what compelled me to consider a hand planer.

David

-- I make trees cry.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3974 posts in 1897 days


#7 posted 02-17-2018 03:22 PM

You could use hand planes to make everything flush. For the dovetailed horizontal pieces, probably would have been easier before assembly or make the dovetail groove a little deeper so it is flush. You could use a chisel for the box joints. Another option is a belt sander.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5541 posts in 2861 days


#8 posted 02-17-2018 03:27 PM

I would make those joints flush with a block plane. As far as terminology goes, the verticals are stiles and the horizontals are rails. I’m going to call the the front to back member, the blue arrow, a stretcher.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#9 posted 02-17-2018 03:27 PM



Probably would have been easier before assembly or make the dovetail groove a little deeper so it is flush.

- Lazyman

Couldn’t agree more. The backstory is long but the short version is that everything was more or less flush during dry fitting, but some of the sliding dovetails were too tight and hindsight on the best way to keep things flush – rather too late :-(

David

-- I make trees cry.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#10 posted 02-17-2018 03:31 PM



I would make those joints flush with a block plane.

- bondogaposis

Do you have any recommendations perhaps regarding manufacturer and model? I gravitate towards well built – preferably in the US. I’m not a xenophobe, but I’ve had enough Chinese manufactured products to know that those are best reserved for projects where there will be limited use to solve an immediate problem.

I won’t say that money isn’t an issue, but I do understand that you get what you pay for.

David

-- I make trees cry.

View Hermit's profile

Hermit

235 posts in 1835 days


#11 posted 02-17-2018 03:33 PM

I’m no expert but couldn’t you tack or clamp scrap pieces on top and or bottom to support the random orbital? Seems like it would work to me so you wouldn’t get the roundover.

-- I'm like the farmer's duck. If it don't rain, I'll walk.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#12 posted 02-17-2018 03:44 PM



I m no expert but couldn t you tack or clamp scrap pieces on top and or bottom to support the random orbital? Seems like it would work to me so you wouldn t get the roundover.

- Hermit

I think that’s a fantastic idea! I had a similar thought for the planer, but hadn’t considered the approach for a sander. Wondering if anyone else has ever tried to do this? As a concept, seems it should work – as long as you can keep the reference material locked in place.

David

-- I make trees cry.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2919 posts in 1732 days


#13 posted 02-17-2018 04:00 PM

You could take a similar approach with the scrap pieces and use a router with a bushing (just a thought)

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1409 days


#14 posted 02-17-2018 04:05 PM

If your not good with a hand plane, then I would use a sanding block and some manual labor.
I would use a 100 grit sanding belt wrapped tight around a block of wood.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4158 days


#15 posted 02-17-2018 04:07 PM


Your construction methods are unorthodox
in that traditional casework wasn t made
as skeleton frames because it had the purpose
of keeping stuff like dust and vermin out.
- Loren

Sorry Loren – this is always the risk one takes when posting without all the details. Here is an earlier rendition of what everything will look like assembled:

This project is to be constructed primarily from maple and walnut. The design (I claim all responsibility for it s unorthodox nature) is my attempt to be as efficient as possible with the wood purchased. When all is said and done, nothing will be “open” to the elements. At least that s the plan.

David

- David Schwarz

I didn’t mean to scold you. I think it’s cool. It’s
just built in such a way that naming the parts
is a little challenging.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3974 posts in 1897 days


#16 posted 02-17-2018 04:24 PM

Probably would have been easier before assembly or make the dovetail groove a little deeper so it is flush.

- Lazyman

Couldn t agree more. The backstory is long but the short version is that everything was more or less flush during dry fitting, but some of the sliding dovetails were too tight and hindsight on the best way to keep things flush – rather too late :-(

David

- David Schwarz

Been there, done that! PVA wood glue has a tendency to swell the wood causing tight fitting joints to do that. For future reference, liquid hide glue is easier to use for tight joints, especially when you have large glue ups that can take some time to complete. The hide glue actually acts like a lubricant so tight joints do not seize up like that. I’ve only used Old Brown Glue liquid hide glue and it is great stuff but I think that the Tite Bond LHG has similar qualities and may not have to be warmed up slightly like the OBG does.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5541 posts in 2861 days


#17 posted 02-17-2018 04:58 PM

Do you have any recommendations perhaps regarding manufacturer and model?

My favorite is a vintage Stanley #60 1/2.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#18 posted 02-17-2018 04:58 PM


I didn t mean to scold you. I think it s cool.

- Loren

No hurt feelings and no offense taken Loren. I’m old enough now that my skin is pretty thick and I wear big boy pants (soon to be big boy diapers, I fear).

David

-- I make trees cry.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#19 posted 02-17-2018 05:08 PM

Been there, done that! PVA wood glue has a tendency to swell the wood causing tight fitting joints to do that. For future reference, liquid hide glue is easier to use for tight joints, especially when you have large glue ups that can take some time to complete.

- Lazyman

The future as it turns out, is now. What I didn’t mention is that all of those stretchers/aprons are dry M/T fits. All of them have a snug fit with just a few being a bit looser than I would like, but should still do the job. But there are seven of them that must be glued up simultaneously, and so I think the LHG will be in order.

I’m not usually easily flustered, but the glue up process definitely is a stress-inducer for me. Always feeling hurried/harried and worried that hours/days of hard work will be lost by a half assembled joint that won’t budge.

As for those dovetails, I had two tools at my disposal during the glue-up – a 2# sledge hammer and a rubber mallet. In retrospect, a wooden mallet on a solid surface would have been better. But I think what would have been the best solution would be scrap wood on either side and an F-clamp to draw both sides flush.

Hindsight of course is always 20/20.

-- I make trees cry.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#20 posted 02-17-2018 05:18 PM



Do you have any recommendations perhaps regarding manufacturer and model?

My favorite is a vintage Stanley #60 1/2.

- bondogaposis

Well, with time being a critical factor, I see that my local Rockler Woodworking shop has a series of Stanley Planers – the sweetheart series. While not fond of the name, they do have a #60 1/2. Woodcraft is a bit closer and my go to – but everything they have is their Woodriver brand, which I have little familiarity with.

While I don’t know for certain, I suspect both varieties are (minimally) assembled in China (and likely entirely built there).

Any comments form the audience on these options or others?

David

-- I make trees cry.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5541 posts in 2861 days


#21 posted 02-17-2018 05:57 PM

Any comments form the audience on these options or others?

The new Stanley’s are pure junk, go vintage or look at Lee Valley or Lie-Neilson.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12907 posts in 2890 days


#22 posted 02-17-2018 06:22 PM

I don’t know, I’ve read pretty good things about the new Sweethearts. I own one but don’t have an equivalent vintage to which I can compare it. Stanley sells 3 grades of planes FYI. Sweetheart is the top, then contracter, then the cheapest whatever they are called. The best block plane I’ve owned was an old Stanley 9 1/2.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View jonah's profile

jonah

2079 posts in 3808 days


#23 posted 02-17-2018 10:01 PM

Do you have a sharpening setup for chisels? If not, I’d probably not bother trying to get a hand plane (which you will need to sharpen regularly) yet. I’d either hand or random-orbital sand it.

Use a nice square sanding block and some 100 grit paper. Keep the block in full contact with the edge and you won’t round anything over.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#24 posted 02-18-2018 04:16 PM

So we arrive at day two, having set myself up to tackle this with one of three tools:

1. DeWalt Compact Router (DWP611)

2. DeWalt Random Orbit Sander (DWE6420)

3. Rockler Bulldog brand Hand Planers (Block Plane and #4 Smoothing Plane)

Number three was purchased yesterday. The user ratings for the Bulldog brand were higher than those for the Stanley Sweetheart series, and they were the remnants from Rockler’s Christmas sale – reasonably easy decision. These will get me started while I develop my skills and locate vintage units for later restoration.

On then to the subject of how I plan to do this. Well, being a Scientist by trade, I’m never satisfied with the easy approach – so of course I chose the opposite route. I decided what I needed was a guide that could be adjusted for various height differences, and that would also accomodate the shorter depth that will result from the milling (both sides need to be trued up for the stretchers to fit properly).

My solution then was to cut a series of eighteen 2.75” blocks from some scrap wood and mount them to three pieces of scrap 3/4 inch plywood, cut to the size of the drawer cavities. Here’s what resulted:

There is an intentional height difference:

It measures 3/64 inch:

This will allow me to shim each “guide” up using an appropriate collection of brass shims sufficient to address any flaws in the assembly (some time ago I purchased a package full of assorted brass shims from Grainger). I’ll start with less critical components (scrap for the first few tries) until I have a method and tool that works well for me.

I should mention that sanding is of some concern to me simply because I will also be removing material from the top of my guide as I progress. So I’m thinking I’ll begin with the planes, then try the router, and finally resort to the sander if necessary.

As an aside – I’m reasonably pleased with how well my mock drawer fronts actually fit considering the early problems I had with my previous DeWalt contractors saw and cuts that weren’t straight. I was disappointed to discover that I made a set-up error such that the middle drawer space is about 1/8” bigger than the top and bottom drawers – the intention was for all of them to be interchangeable. Oh well.

And a final question – what gap is recommended between the drawer front and the frame? The fit is reasonably good, though the keen eye will notice that it’s not perfect.

Thanks for the continued interest in this latest foray as I attempt to transition from incompetence to mildly skilled.

-- I make trees cry.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#25 posted 02-18-2018 04:18 PM



Do you have a sharpening setup for chisels? If not, I d probably not bother trying to get a hand plane (which you will need to sharpen regularly) yet. I d either hand or random-orbital sand it.

Use a nice square sanding block and some 100 grit paper. Keep the block in full contact with the edge and you won t round anything over.

- jonah

Not sure what is typically used. We do have a wet stone though used to cut my wives Japanese knives. For those that don’s know, Japanese use very sharp knives – lower a piece of paper onto the knife and it will be cut upon contact – skin fairs no better.

I can use this or something else based on the collective advice here :-)

David

-- I make trees cry.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3974 posts in 1897 days


#26 posted 02-18-2018 05:51 PM

If you are going to use a router to level the dovetailed horizontals, here is how I would approach it.
  • Clamp a 3/4” thick board on either side side of the raised section leave enough room between them so you have full access but close enough that your router base is fully supported
  • Mount a 1/2” straight bit in the router and set the depth so that it is a smidge shallower than the 3/4” boards. The smidge will prevent you from damaging the boards you don’t want to touch and also leave just enough wood so that you can sand off any tool marks from the router bit.
  • Run the router between the groove formed by the 2 boards to mill the surfaces
  • Used your sander or even just a sanding block to remove the smidge of wood left behind and remove any milling marks left by the router. You might as well sand the entire face while you are at it.

As to sharpening your plane iron. Whetstones may technically work if they are fine enough but most people use several grades of water stones, diamond stones or the scary sharp method using wet/dry sandpaper on glass. To get the finest cut with a hand plane, you generally need a finer stone that most whetstones used for knives. Learning to sharpen free hand can be a little frustrating for the beginner, especially if you do it infrequently, so it might not be a bad idea to invest in or make a honing guide to make the process easier. I personally find the scary sharp method the easiest to learn (not to mention the cheapest to start with or for infrequent use) but I also have water stones. You’ll find a bunch of videos on using water stones or scary sharp on YouTube.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#27 posted 02-19-2018 04:46 AM

So after all that fussing with templates and guides, I came upon the realization that I had indeed made things more complicated than they needed to be. Turns out that a hand plane and patience does a fine job – and the material removed is such a small amount that there’s really no impact on linearity of the components.

Getting to that point though wasn’t as trivial as it might sound. The first few passes with the block plane left a black smudge on the wood. A closer look and I realized that both plane’s were still coated with machining oil (maybe to guard against rust prior to purchase?). So with that realization, I decided that a tear down and cleaning of both planes was warranted. Both were covered in oil and still had remnants from the machining lingering in the nooks and crannies. Maybe some would never care, but I guess I’m saying I do. So cleaned with denatured alcohol and waxed they were, and with that something more palatable:

I spent a good hour or two practicing, then turned my attention to the inner components that will never again be seen once assembled. Hopefully, practice makes better:

Should be able to finish cleaning up the gaps tomorrow and then I need to fill in some cracks. I’ve seen Matthias Wandell extol the virtues of wood glue and sawdust – seems cheap and effective – anyone tried this or have a favorite approach?

I think it will be time to roll this into a blog – rather than another marathon series of posts. Thanks though to everyone for your support during this phase.

-- I make trees cry.

View ksSlim's profile

ksSlim

1302 posts in 3400 days


#28 posted 02-19-2018 05:09 AM

I use SHARP chisels to trim over hanging dove tails, with a final pass with a low angle plane.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3072 posts in 2535 days


#29 posted 02-19-2018 05:11 AM

The difficulty with a plane comes when you approach the intersecting piece. How close can you come to flush without digging into that intersecting piece?

The advantage of the random orbital is that the change in direction is irrelevant. Sand right across those joints, and you’ll never see cross scoring, as you would with a belt sander. The only trick then is to keep the sander level, to avoid the roundover problem.

If you try the sawdust and glue as a filler, I strongly recommend using wood flour (sanding dust) instead. And I would use epoxy for that, as well.

One more question: how do you plan to finish? Paint? Varnish? Stain? That choice to me would determine the other questions.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3974 posts in 1897 days


#30 posted 02-19-2018 05:29 PM

+1 on using sanding dust of the same wood but I would not use epoxy as it may not take stains well. I prefer using hide glue with sanding dust to fill but it can be a little darker depending upon your hide glue. As always try it on a practice piece with the stain and finish you plan to use first. You may find that no fill looks better.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3072 posts in 2535 days


#31 posted 02-19-2018 06:04 PM

Epoxy with wood flour does take stains well. I have done this many times. Straight epoxy doesn’t, however.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#32 posted 02-20-2018 06:28 AM


One more question: how do you plan to finish? Paint? Varnish? Stain? That choice to me would determine the other questions.

- runswithscissors

That’s a good question, because I have not yet decided. The face of the closet will be a mix of maple and walnut. I have a desk with a similar mix that I finished with Waterlox that I quite like. Very open to suggestions though. I like the way the Waterlox makes the wood stand out, FWIW.

-- I make trees cry.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#33 posted 08-18-2018 07:58 PM

Wow – somehow hard to believe that I’ve been “away” for six months. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun (not sure that is an accurate description, but I’ll run with it for now). Seems I’m approaching the home stretch on this now, what remains is tying the wardrobe boxes together and making the front doors (mix of walnut and maple – similar to the chest of drawers but the opposite color scheme, you’ll eventually see what I mean):

I’ve really been quite pleased with my restored equipment. The Unisaw cuts dead straight and true, the jointer makes nice flat wood, and the drill press makes deadly straight holes (only .002” runout after a few false starts). When this project is done, it will be time to make the workshop more functional – it’s the one thing that’s been driving me nuts for the last six months. Nothing is organized and it’s scattered all over my garage turned workshop. That I think will be my winter project. Then I’ll have to decide what comes next.

Beautiful day here in Seattle, off to enjoy the great outdoors :-)

David

-- I make trees cry.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1359 posts in 2462 days


#34 posted 08-18-2018 08:16 PM

Your wardrobe project is coming along really nicely. You should be very proud of your work.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

101 posts in 727 days


#35 posted 10-09-2018 03:21 AM

Almost two months later, and I can finally say that this project is – for all practical purposes – complete :-)

As a composite, I’m not disappointed considering this was the largest project of my fledgling woodworking journey thus far, but I can show you a million errors that I’ve collected along the way. But certainly this project taught me lots of things which I’ll be able to bring to future projects. Now it’s time to return to setting up my shop so it functions just a bit more efficiently :-)

-- I make trees cry.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1409 days


#36 posted 10-09-2018 03:28 AM

Good work David, turned out very nice.

View fly2low's profile

fly2low

88 posts in 606 days


#37 posted 10-12-2018 06:54 AM

I like it

-- Rich Gig Harbor, WA

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