son of a beech

November 10, 2003 — 4 Comments

Well, the dresser is done. It measures 63” wide x 33” tall x 23” deep. The carcass and drawer fronts are made of a cherry-stained beech; the drawers are all dovetail-joined poplar with aromatic cedar bottoms. Each drawer uses an accuride ball-bearing drawer slide. There’s also a matching 36” x 24” mirror which will hang on the wall above the dresser.

There are flaws. I don’t think I’ll attempt another joined hardwood panel piece without first purchasing a jointer. I did my best to make sure my table saw was square when making the long cuts, but it didn’t quite work out so well. The drawer faces all had slight bends in them, and while I was able to straighten them out while affixing them to the drawers, I’d much prefer they were straight out of the clamps. The problem isn’t that I’m clamping too tightly, either.

Also, I’ll make it a point to keep unfinished pieces out of the sun. After spending significant time and money joining up and sanding down the top, I left it in the sun on a very hot day and the boards separated. It wasn’t that big a deal to clamp back togeher, but the top isn’t as perfect as it was before and that’s always going to bother me.

I didn’t plan this piece very rigorously. Here’s how it turned out, though.




4 responses to son of a beech

  1. Hi Res

    Congrats. Looks really great!

    How about a large-furniture/Bass-taunting workshop at the farm next summer.

    Of course we’ll need some tools………

    Stay wicked sticky

  2. Hello Resonance,

    The piece looks great!  There’s nothing like actual hand made objects around the house.

    By the way, your router table can serve as a jointer on small boards, like the drawer faces.  Use the two legs of the fence as the base of the “jointer” table.  With a straight bit, set the outfeed side of the fence flush with the bit, and the infeed side however deep you would joint the board.

    The tablesaw will never joint satisfactorily for two reasons:  first, you can’t get a smooth enough cut because of otherwise negligible runout on the blade.  Forrest blade users claim (hyborbolically, I suspect, although I don’t have one)(yet) to get cuts “ready to joint.”

    The second reason is that the table saw only controls for width at the point where it is cutting.  If you rip a bowed board in half, you will have two bowed boards.  The jointer doesn’t care about width, only the edge it is cutting.  Obviously, it doesn’t matter how good the blade is for this problem.

    I like the cherry(?) spanners in the drawers to support the short pieces of cedar.


    Big Dipper

  3. Pete, thanks. Yeah, I’m sure a tablesaw and a router will make cleaning catfish much quicker.

    Big Dipper, thanks for the compliment–it means a lot coming from someone as experienced as yourself.

    I thought about using the router as a jointer, but in a different way. I saw these router bits which cut what could best be described as interlocking “M”s, cutting what amounts to two built-in splines (for lack of a better term) down the width of a board. I couldn’t find one for half-inch stock, though (the drawer faces are 1/2” stock).

    It hadn’t occured to me to use my flush-cut bit as a jointer. That’s a bummer. I have a very nice flush-cut bit. I used it for the curves on the plinth base and was very impressed on how smooth the cuts were. Thanks for your suggestion! I knew I should have called while making the piece.

    The technical term for that spanner, it turns out, is a muntin. I wasn’t going to build muntins, but they really do make the drawer much stronger, even though these drawers are kind of over-engineered already. Also, it turned out they were necessary for the drawer slides I used (which mount on the underside of the muntin. The stock for the muntins is half-inch beech. For some reason the piece I picked just happened to be very red, which I like because it sits well against the cedar.

    I was always so impressed with the finish of your pieces. I find I don’t have the patience necessary to finish pieces well. You can still see the chatter marks from the thickness planer on the drawers, and it’s only now occurring to me that I could have sanded the edges of the drawers better. I do think that prefinishing the pieces before putting them together next time will help me achieve a more stellar finish. I’m pretty happy with this piece, but there’s always something to shoot for the next time around.

  4. Looks as good as if it came from Ikea.

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