Monday, July 5, 2010

Lesson Learned - Proper Planning

Geez, I was cheesed off today. After about a week of forced inactivity due to the tendinitis, having what I thought was an incredible day, I came across a factor that I didn't plan for in the Nursery cabinet. Note, piss poor planning can be the same or worse than not planning at all. Hear my continuing saga where if I had planned properly, I would have this project completed.

The day started with sleeping in until 9. When you have a three and a half month old baby, sleeping in, no matter how late is a wonderful luxury. After some breakfast and about an hour of playing around on the computer, I thought it was late enough on a Sunday morning to begin running power tools without rousing the neighbourhood into tarring and feathering me. It was already 27 degrees Celsius with a forecast high of 34 before the humidex. So I opened up the the main door and the back door to the garage to allow a breeze to flow through. Luckily there was one. I prefer not to drip sweat onto my project.

A week ago, I blogged a bit about the frames of the drawers being completed. They've sat in the shop all week waiting for the bottoms to be made. I decided upon solid bottoms as I thought it would be good practise. The first panel had been glued up yesterday. Gluing up 3 boards of 1/2" white pine was not a taxing task and I was hoping that the shoulder would be able to indulge me today.

The idea was to create a beveled edge drawer bottom I scribed a line across the face to where I would cut one side and I used my Japanese pull saw to make the first cut (I've really fallen in love with the pull type saws and look forward to getting one for joinery). I mostly managed to stay on line, but a few swipes from my bevel up plane took out the visible hills where I wandered. With 2 edges now at right angles to each other, I was able to make the other 2 cuts on the table saw to get it to size.

Marking the lines on the bottom, and the edges, I proceeded to use my smoothing plane to get the bevels to proper size. I found it important to sneak up on the fit and go back a couple of times and take a few more swipes with my plane before it slid neatly into place. I stepped back to admire my handiwork.

It was perfect .... or so I thought.

That's right, you see a typical lightweight drawer slide that I was planning on using sitting along the edge where it should be getting installed. This particular drawer slide calls for #8 screws to hold them to the drawer body. If the head were to get any smaller, it would slip through the mounting holes. Problem is that the groove for the drawer bottom is only 1/4-1/2" off the bottom of the frame. Screwing the rail to the drawer would cause it to drive into the drawer bottom which would cause the bottom to be locked in and not allow for wood movement. With the changes in humidity between winter and summer, there could be as much as 1/4" of movement which would be very bad.

One solution for this would be to use different hardware. My options turned out to be very limited due to the size of my cabinet. At 15" inner depth, I would have to either stick with what I've got or go overkill and use heavy duty hardware. For something that is designed to hold clothing, I didn't want to pay $20 per drawer for slides. So I came up with another solution that I thought would fit the bill. Adding a strip to the outside to allow the drawers to have their hardware mounted without endangering the bottom. I even had plenty of 1/2" scraps. I was thinking, "Cut to size, add a profile to make it look nice and glue to the drawer side. Et voila!"

All was once again right ... Guess again!

I guess I was a bit hasty in determining the needed dimensions for the drawer. Here's part deux of my piss poor planning. My drawer opening on the inside of the face frame for the drawers is 22 1/8".


Argh! The drawer slides require a 1/2" on either side! My drawers are 22". I fail again.

After kicking myself in the rear a few times (metaphorically, I don't bend that well any more), I did a search for various drawer slide options on how I might overcome this issue. Bottom mount drawer slides seemed the best bet, but most of what would work for me was looking to be in the $35 + range. A non-option in my opinion.

I am determined to not simply turn my work into waste by trashing my drawers and making new ones. That leaves me with one last viable option. Web frames. This is going to be fun (read NOT) as the cabinet itself is already built and in place. The picture to the left is the space I'll have to work within. At least the cross rails can be removed as they are only fastened in with pocket screws.

At least I'm laughing at myself. I'm also learning that cabinets are a lot more than slapping a few pieces of plywood together and making pretty drawer fronts. God help me when I decide to tackle building a chair! I'm no longer cheesed with myself as I have to look at this as a learning experience.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you are ever planning on building a cabinet, make sure you plan for everything. You are including doors? Pick your hinges. You're including drawers? Find out what hardware you want to use and make sure it will fit into your plan. I started this as my first project in January and I'm having to make adjustments along the way because I didn't plan properly.

(Queue announcer) Tune in next time to see what else the Novice Wood Rambler failed to plan for. Will our intrepid hero put the drawer faces on backwards? Will he notice? Will he get his web frame in?

P.S. Happy 4th of July to all my friends in the U.S.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck. Even when you plan, measure twice, and cut once it is still too short! With a few more projects of a similar nature you won't make the same mistakes. Ya make new ones! Wood cups, warps, and behaves in strange ways. Had a 2x4 end up looking like a long bow! Oh yeah I can always see it built, but wow, real time takes forever! good hunting


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