Drawer Guide System

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The drawers are mounted to the table with rabbeted guide bars, Fig. 9. Making these bars is pretty easy. Mounting them takes some patience. I cut the six bars from Maple stock. A rabbet is cut on one edge, leaving a tongue that mates with the groove in the drawer sides. This tongue should be just a hair smaller (both in thickness and length) than the grooves in the drawers.

Since the bars are mounted across the grain of the top, there will be problems as the top expands and contracts with seasonal changes in humidity. To allow for this movement, counterbore a pilot hole on one side of the bars to accept the screws. Then, another counterbore is drilled on the other side to allow the screw to move (bend) as the top moves. (See Fig. 9.)

To mark the position of the bars, it's easier to work upside down (the table, not you). Flip the table over and mark both center lines on the bottom of the table, Fig. 10. Also mark the four center points on the middle drawer.

Now slide one of the guide bars into the groove, and mark its position, Fig. 11. Remove the drawer and hold the guide bar in position to drill pilot holes into the table, Fig. 12. Go ahead and screw this bar in place (screw only, no glue). Reposition the drawer on this guide bar and insert the second bar. Once again, mark its position, remove the drawer, and screw this bar in place (allowing a little bit of clearance so the drawer slides easily).

With the middle drawer in position, place the other two drawers tight against it. (They should be tight for now, clearance will be taken care of later.) Mark the posi-

tion of the guide bars for these two drawers, and screw them in place, Fig. 13.

Each drawer should move easily along the guide bars, but they will probably rub against each other. If the drawers bind on the guide bars, plane or sand down the tongue a little bit. If they still bind, you may have to realign the guide bars.

To allow clearance between the middle drawer and the two outside drawers, plane or sand a slight hollow on the sides of each drawer. As shown in Fig. 14. The hollow allows the drawers to move freely as they're opened, but leaves the front and back fairly tight when they're closed.

DRAWERS, BOTTOMS AND CATCHES

Now the drawer bottoms can be installed. To mount the bottoms, a rabbet is routed on the bottom four edges of the drawer. This rabbet is deep to allow for the W plywood bottom, plus Vfe" as a lip to pull the drawer open. (I)rawrer pulls on the drawer fronts would look kind of clumsy, and would destroy the nice flow of the grain pattern from drawer to drawer.)

I cut this rabbet on a router table with a rabbet bit and pilot, Fig. 15. After routing the rabbet, the corners must be chopped square with a chisel.

The drawer bottom is cut from V* oak plywood and glued into the rabbet. (Triangular glue blocks can be added for more support.)

the stops. We thought it would be a nice touch if the drawers opened from the front or the back of the coffee table. Getting them to open from either direction was no problem. But as they were closed, getting them to stop so they lined up (without a lot of fumbling around each time) meant there had to be stops of some sort. This was a problem.

We finally figured out a way to use bullet catches. As shown in Fig. 16, these catches look just like bullets with a hollow 'shell' and a spring-loaded 'bullet'. These catches usually come with a one-way striker plate (a dish-like plate with a channel for the bullet). Since the striker plates only work one way (and we needed two-way action), we had to improvise.

A small hole was drilled on the top center of one side of each drawer. This was done with a Yie" twist bit to get a slight inverse-cone shape. Then, the bullet catches were mounted in holes drilled along the center line of the bottom of the table, Fig. 17.

As the drawer is opened, a slight tug is required to get the spring-loaded bullet out of the hole. Then the bullet rides along the top edge of the drawer side. When the drawer is closed, the bullet pops into the hole. This is not a sure catch (you hear it more than feel it), but it works very nicely.

Bullet catches should be available at bet-

FIGURE 13

CROSS SECTION OF DRAWERS

•V SPACE BOTH ENDS

DRAWERS SHOULD BE TIGHT AGAINST EACH OTHER

DRAWERS SHOULD BE TIGHT AGAINST EACH OTHER

FIGURE 14

SAND OR PLANE SLIGHT HOUOW ON DRAWER SIDES -n

>

"«.P ENDS

-----

flGHT

<•— DRAWER FRONT

DRAWER SIDE DRAWER BACK -

FIGURE

16

BULLET

TABLE TOP

CATCH

" "Jk.

DRIU V.* HOLE

GUIDE BAR

ALLOW

DRAWER SIDE

CLEARANCE

FIGURE 17 CROSS SECTION OF DRAWER

BUUET CATCH CENTERED ON BOTTOM OF TABLE

DRAWER OPENS BOTH WAYS

BUUET CATCH CENTERED ON BOTTOM OF TABLE

DRAWER OPENS BOTH WAYS

ter hardware stores. One mail-order source for bullet catches is: The Woodworker's Store Catalog, 21801 Industrial Blvd., Rogers MN 55374.

FINISHING

This table was finished with Watco oil. The technique I used is to apply a liberal coat of oil and, while the oil is still wet, sand the surface of the table with 220-grit silicon-carbide paper. This creates a goopy mess of oil and sawdust that fills the pores of the oak (and any voids in the dovetails).

Keep adding oil and sanding until all the pores are filled. Wipe off the excess and let the oil dry for a day or so. Then add another coat of oil (this time without sanding). The result is a smooth, natural finish that feels as soft as a baby's bottom.

Finally, apply a coat of furniture wax (I used Wateo Satin liquid wax) to the table. Also, put a coat of wax (I used car paste wax) on the drawer guides so the drawers slide easilv.

MATERIALS LIST

Overall Dimensions: 17"h

x 20'/j"w x 51"1

A Top (4 pes)

1 '/.* x 5% - 52

B Legs (8 pes)

VA* x 5% - 16

c Drawer Fronts (6 pes)

X 3'/i - 16

D Drawer Sides (6 pes)

«y.* X 4 - 19Vi

Drawer Btms. cut to fit from 24x48 plywood

CUTTING DIAGRAM

l'/i.

X

5W - 96 '

1

A

B

1 B m

A

B

B 0

1

A

1

b

_l b h

1

A

i

b

_L B %

%

x 9 ' « - 60

c

C

c

c

c

c

r 0

0

0

D

h D

D

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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