Drawers Four and Five

Don’t fret, these posts are coming to a close and my joints are getting tighter. Plus the time to put them together is becoming less and less. I’m learning to despise the lumber dealer who convinced me “brown” maple was the wood of choice for cabinet makers doing dovetails. Obviously he’s not a golfer experienced selling to those using hand tools. I’d like treat myself to making some dovetails in pine in the future.

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Drawer Three…Getting There

Drawer three is where I started to tweak my approach. I left a sizable amount of material between my pin markings and my actual saw cut. This goes against everything I’ve read from Cosman and Schwarz but my initial results weren’t what I wanted so I had to pivot.

“Disobey me,” a wise man once said.


Note the amount of space left to pare the wood

Of course, the downside to this method is it took a LOOOONNGG time to pare away since I left so much room. Plus this happened:

The half pin started to split the drawer back...easy fix but still

The half pin started to split the drawer back…easy fix but still

Here’s how it turned out.

IMG_3760 IMG_3761The gap at the bottom right does will close up with a clamp. I guess there is a bow in that board. We’ll see how easy it is to fit into the drawer opening.

In closing, these joints are much tighter than the first two and there’s something to be said about that. Additionally, I finished up drawer four last night and started part of drawer five. They are even better than drawer three so I know I’m making progress. There is definitely a zen quality about making the saw cuts for the pins, which only comes with doing it. I’m glad I’m getting there.

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A Major Award

I found out yesterday I won the End Grain contest at Popular Woodworking Magazine.


Winning the contest was just a bonus. I’m more excited about my piece on the Toy Chest Rebuild actually making the cut.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this good news with my readers (both of you)…

Have a good weekend.

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Drawer two…meh

I finished cutting the dovetails for drawer two and I’m not overly happy. I guess I’m at one of those stages in the craft where I’m pushing myself because I truly think these two drawers kinda suck. They’ll either be a few inches shorter than the other drawers or maybe good practice for filling in gaps with wedges.

We’ll see.

For the third drawer I’m going to go against the advice from all of my resources and not try to fit this off the saw. Maybe I’ll get there one day but as a beginner in this area I think that might’ve been the wrong advice. I’ll post the pictures when I have the third drawer back together.



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Seattle’s Best (For Woodworkers)

As you may have guessed from the sudden uptick in posts, I was on the road recently for work. My travels brought me to Seattle. With the help of Marilyn over at She Works Wood, I was able to explore some of Seattle’s finest woodworking haunts. Marilyn, if you read this, THANKS!


I didn’t have much time but was able to hit up Northwest Woodworker’s Gallery and Urban Hardwoods. It was a great way to get in some inspiration in limited time. One day maybe I’ll be good enough to think about submitting my work to places like this.


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2015 Priorities

I know it’s a little late to talk about New Years Resolutions and such. So I won’t.

revised view 2

Instead, I’ll discuss a few of things I’m hoping to accomplish in and out of the shop this year. First and foremost is the The Dresser. It needs to be done. Period. Everything else takes a back seat. The number two priority is a bit of a moving target.

Revised OptionThe first second priority is a large remodel to our house. I’m not crazy and value my marriage so most of this will be farmed out to a remodeling company. I do get to tackle the mud room, which means some sort of locker system and maybe a small apothecary style unit for holding hats, gloves, and the like. This remodel will also spill over into our dining room. I’m going to build the dining room table. I’m thinking a trestle style table but we’re still working out the details.

The second second priority is a shop remodel of sorts. We upgraded the electrical from 100 A to 200 A in October and I’ve been itching to reconfigure things and put in some new outlets. This job requires framing and running of wiring. I’ll be tackling this myself with the help of some friends and several cases of beer. I brushed up on my Sketchup skills and through a rough layout together so I can get an idea of where I want outlets and lights. If any has any good resources on shop lighting, please add a comment below. Or if you have any good resources for shop layout I’m also open.

Shop Plan from Sketchup

The third second priority is to rehab an entertainment center we scored for $50 and make it into an armoire for my mom. She visits us for extended periods of a time and I want her to have a place to hang some clothes and make her room feel more homey. My wife and I started deconstructing it and I should’ve taken pics but I don’t have them.

The fourth second priority is to make our woodworking club/co-op better equipped for hand tools. I’m going to build a version of Schwarz/Seimsen knockdown bench featured on his blog and in the Naked Woodworker DVD. This will help use up some crappy but solid ash timbers we have laying around and hopefully foster a more hand tool friendly atmosphere.

Oh, and the fifth second priority is a toy chest for my soon-to-be-here newest nephew.

Good God this sounds like a lot of work.

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The Result of Several Deep Breaths…

…look like this:



I’ve been trying since the new year started to create a laser focus on the drawers for the dresser. With seven drawers, consisting of  28 parts, consisting of 200 dovetails, the laser hasn’t always come into focus. I’ve been doing some reading, watching, and prepping but as my fellow phish fan and woodworking blogger Jim told me: just cut the damn dovetails.

So I did.

I started with baby steps since laying them out wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. I kept getting things flipped around and trying to make sure the groove for the bottom ends up in the right spot was kinda tricky. I painstakingly laid out the tails on all the parts and then started cutting the back of my first drawer. I decided to gang the tails together and cut the backs of each drawer before moving on to the fronts. It’s not that I’m more intrepid about the half blinds for the front than the throughs but I feel like they’ll be seen more so I want them to look better.

On one hand, it might be better to complete an entire drawer before moving on but this method helps with my flow. I only get about an hour in the evenings (maybe 1 to 3 days a week). Fortunately, I have my shifts at my woodworking club/co-op but this causes me to pack things up and I almost always forget something. This allows me to break things up so I can do certain things at home and others on the “road” and not disrupted the sleeping beauties at 10 PM…

One set done…many more to go. Hopefully they’ll get a lot better as the month goes on.


Back side


The inside. Hopefully my daughter’s clothes will always cover the gaps in this first set of dovetails.


If you have any advice on ganging the tails, staging things like I am, or anything else I’m all ears.

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