Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cutting drawers

I cut dovetails and glued up another drawer today. I still feel like I'm a little bit out of practice. But I also feel like it's coming back really quickly... more a question of dusting off existing skills than starting from scratch.

When I picked up the twin screw vise, I had dovetails on the brain. And it's great for that. But today, I had to rip a few boards to finish width, because I cut them oversize at the shop. And I'm liking the fact that the side of the vise holds just as firmly (or more so) as the span between the screws. It's a great setup for holding short-ish boards for ripping. The tall jaws cut down noise while ripping, too. The vise holds the wood firmly enough that the board can't start resonating... at least, not within the 6" height of the jaws. I won't say it's a silent process, because it's not, but I've been aware for a long time that quiet cuts are typically cleaner cuts, because of the lack of vibration. And it helps keep my wife happy, which helps keep me working at home on weekends.

I'm going to use drawer slips to hold in the bottoms, since I've never used that method before, and I think it has a few advantages over running grooves in the drawer sides... especially when it comes to working at home. If something goes wrong with a joint, ripping another board to make a new drawer side doesn't turn into a big deal... without the grooves, there's nothing 'special' about any particular board. I may decide later on that I don't like drawer slips, in which case I'll look into getting a plow plane. But that's money I'd rather not spend... especially since drawer slips are a great use for scrap wood that's sitting around the shop. Lastly, this method will make it easier to lay out joinery, since I don't have to worry about where the groove is coming through the end of the drawer front. 

I got to put my holdfasts to work again today, holding down the parts while I trimmed out waste. Hammering one of those things in is a joy... but it did bring commentary from the next room, since it was loud enough to be heard over Ariel's headphones.

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