Overlay Drawer

Construction Details

Oak is a great choice for the base of the bench. It's strong, easy to work, and relatively inexpensive. The combined weight of the base frame-and-panel assemblies gives the bench great stability. For the top, it's best not to compromise. Edge-glued hard maple, 3 in. thick, will deliver years of solid scrvicc.

There's plywood in my bench too, but 1 used it sparingly to keep it out of sight. It lends strength to the shelf and bottom assemblies, where it's let into the frame work. And it divides the drawer compartment into three bays. (See Fig. 1.)

Building the base is an exercise in frame-and-panel construction. The stiles on the end and back assemblies also serve as legs at the base corners. The bottom and shelf assemblies arc identical in size and construction. Only the orientation of their V^-in.-thick plywood panels is different. On the top assembly, the panel is flush with the frame's top edges. On the bottom, the panel faces down. (See Fig. 1.)

Build the two end panels and the back panel first. I joined stiles and rails with mortises and tenons, and cut in.-wide, V^-in.-deep grooves in the frame members to hold solid oak panels. All the raised panels are 2 in. thick. Raise and rabbet each panel edge so that its inside face will be flush with the inside face of the frame that surrounds it. A flat inside surface makes it easier to attach drawer guides. It also allows me to screw each upper end panel to the shelf frame.

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Build the shelf and bottom assemblies next. As shown in Fig. I, the frame members are 2 in. thick. The inner frame members are 1 V4 in. thick to accommodate the thickness of the plywood. After assembling each frameĀ» rabbet the inside of the 2-in.-thick members with a router and square up the rabbeted corners to let in a V4-1 n.-thick plywood panel.

Glue the plywood to the shelf and bottom frames and you'll have a pair of rigid platforms that form the core of the base. The platforms tic the end and back assemblies together by means of carriage bolts and screws. These fasteners extend through end and back assemblies and into frame members in the shelf and bottom assemblies.

Once the back, end, shelf, and bottom assemblies are bolted together, you can start installing the partitions. I fastened the plywood partitions to the shelf, bottom, and back assemblies by driving scrcws in pocket holes.

With the partitions in place, make and install the face frame next. I cut lap joints in the frame's stiles and rails, glued the assembly together, and then fastened it to the plywood partitions with finishing nails.

The next step is to install the drawer guides, using your face frame to align the guides. There are two types of guides in this case. The guides that are attached to the plywood partitions have an L-shaped profile, made by screwing and gluing two straight lengths of maple together. They guide the drawer side and also provide support for the drawer bottom. The one-piece guides screwed to the inside face of each end panel need only support the drawer bottom. Screw the ends of the face-frame rails into the guides that they butt against.

The drawers aren't difficult to make. (See Fig. 3.) The fronts are solid, 1-in.-thick oak, rabbeted for joinery with drawer sides and also for overlaying the face frame. The overlay details need some explaining. The bottom of each drawer front docs not overlay the face frame. The three center bay drawers overlay along their top and end edges. The right- and left-bay drawers overlay at the top, but not along the ends that abut the end panels.

Size your drawers based on the face-frame openings. I subtracted Vg in. from the opening height to get the width of my drawer sides. This clear-

Drawers that store and support. Coupled with a patternmaker's vise, drawers do double duty as work supports.

Versatile vise. To hold delicate work at a comfortable height, Whitley orients vise jaws vertically and grips an abrasive-backed work board.

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