Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sideboard Drawers

Over the weekend I spent a large amount of time prepping cherry for drawer fronts, cutting pine stock for sides and backs, and then lots of dovetail joinery. I've got 3 drawers built and the only thing left for me to do is to cut out bottoms for them, and to glue up the drawers together. I'm waiting for a lull in the dogs' napping schedules where I can sneak out to my shop and see how well the drawers fit the sideboard. So far, fingers crossed that it's a little snug.
This cherry that I bought is interesting. In its tamer state, it's a hardwood that's nice to plane and cut joinery on. But most of the tamer boards that I had set aside went to the coffee table top and the sideboard top. The drawers were mostly offcuts from some wider boards or boards that were so warped that I had to cut out entire middle sections. If I'd left those sections in and planed it flat, the thickness would probably have gone from 3/4" to about 1/4". They were that bowed.
The great thing about using these wild wood cherry pieces is that it stands out for the drawer fronts. Grain that twists and dives in an undulating pattern, pieces that have large bullseye patterns in corners where a branch had started growing. The problem is that this figure doesn't lend very well to structural integrity.
The first drawer front I gave up on trying to get the face of the drawer flat. Right now it's just flattish. But the back is dead flat and that's what I've been using as a reference, so it works out great. The second drawer front had rings on one of the corners. Cherry's brittle to begin with, so when I was cutting the half blind dovetails I gave myself some extra room in case anything cracked, and had a tail depth that was a little over half the thickness of the board.
That wasn't thick enough.
You can imagine my surprise (and the swearing) when I finished chopping the tail waste out and heard a large "CRACK." I turned the piece over and watched a large piece of cherry crumble apart, leaving a large void that would show where the tail is. Not quite the look to go for when you're doing half blind dovetails.
Tomorrow I'll cut the drawer bottoms and get everything fitted.
And I'll spend a larger amount of time trying to figure out how to inlay a piece of cherry into that crack.
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