across the width of the drawer and the screw holes are slotted to allow the panel to expand and contract across the grain. The bottom of the drawer deserves as much care and attention as the other parts. Carefully-chosen figured grain, perhaps bookmatched, can be a delightful surprise when discovered in a place where we are more accustomed to finding plywood or hard-board. Select your wood carefullv.
I resaw the drawer sides, back, and bottom from thicker stock and match the grain. I rout the grooves for the bottom before laying out the dovetails as a reminder to position a tail over the groove.
After the dovetails have been cut, trimmed, and properly fit, I like to shape the top edges of the drawer parts with a router, as shown in Fig. 2, to give the drawer a more delicate appearance. Be sure that the drawer is square and sits flat when you assemble it to avoid trouble when you fit the drawer to the table.
I like to see a drawer front that's slightly recessed in its opening. To get that appearance I first fit the drawer stops shown in Fig. 1, positioning them so that the drawer is flush with the drawer opening. With the drawer in place, I then sand the drawer front and table front at the same time to ensure that they're flush. Finally, I trim Vm in. from the front edges of the drawer stops so the drawer front is recessed /m in.
The gap between the drawer front and the table should be even all around the opening. To adjust the gap at the bottom to match the sides and top, I plane the bottom edge of the drawer front only—the plane doesn't touch the bottom edge of the drawer sides. When I'm happy with the fit and the gap, I slightly round the edges of the drawer and drawer opening with sandpaper.
When turning the drawer knob on the lathe, I include a '/»-in. tenon. Then I saw a groove in the tenon (for a wedge) and glue and wedge the knob into the drawer front. To keep the drawer from coming all the way out of the table accidentally. I loosely screw a small turn-cleat to the inside edge of the top rail to act as a drawer retainer. The cleat must be swung up to remove the drawer.
When the table is fully assembled and the glue dry, I pin the mortise and tenon joints with square pegs. I drill two Vi*-in. holes through each joint. The photo shows how to cut the pegs safely on the tablesaw. I use the Vie-in. drill bit to set the distance between the fence and the blade. 1 square up the tops of the holes with a small chisel and glue in the pegs, then saw off the excess and pare them flush with a chisel.
The attractiveness of the finished table will depend largely on small details: the slight rounding of edges, the slight recess of the drawer and the smoothness of its operation, the square pegs, the pleasant surprise of care taken even if it shows only on the inside, not to mention care in choosing and matching grain patterns. If you are careful and patient throughout the whole process of making the table, it will have an integrity that will make it as delightful to use as it is to look at. A
Kelly Mehler is a professional furni-turemaker and the owner of "Tree-Finery, " a furnitttremaking shop and gallery in Berea, Kentucky.
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