Sizing drawers

Q:

Hello,
I am building a closet hutch with drawers (my first project with multiple drawers) and I am wondering how long to make the drawers (front to back). The cabinet is 20" deep and will be a frameless cabinet. Can I use the whole 20" depth or build a shorter 18" drawer?


Also how much space I should leave between the drawer boxes (before the fronts go on)? They will have regular side bottom mount slides. Is there a standard for this?
Thanks for any help.

Kent

A: Hi Kent,

I usually leave an inch or so between drawer and the back of the cabinet. You can go longer, but if you do remember to leave clearance for the back of the case. I usually use 1/4" material for the back but I make the rabbit around 3/8 deep. That way the case is more likely to go flush against the wall.

I'm not sure which dimension you mean when you ask about the space between the drawers. I tend to leave at least 1/4" between the drawers vertically. Then, when I make the drawer fronts I make them so the drawers have a reveal of around 1/8" or so.

As for width, you should double check your slides, but I have found that 1/2" is common for the thickness, so if they are bottom mount subtract that from the drawer depth, if they are side mount subtract twice that (slide on each side) from the width of the case. I usually add a hair ( 1/32 - 1/16th) to that measurement so the drawers aren't too snug. (Also keep wood movement in mind. You can read more about that here.)

If your drawers end up slightly undersize (width) and you have side mount slides, it is possible to shim the slides when you put them in place. It is also possible to plane off a bit of material from the side if you make the drawers too tight. It's not easy, but it's possible (I know, I've done it).

Hope this helps.

Good luck with your hutch.
Kate

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Refinish

by Scott
(Oneida NY USA)

Q: I have a diningroom table that I refinished with poly stain. My problem is the rolled edge looks like particle board and wont take the finish. What should I do? (paint---)

A: If your table top is particle board you have an easy option (paint) and a couple harder options.

Did you thoroughly sand the edges? If they are rolled or have a profile of some sort you will need to sand carefully so as not to distort the profile, but if you get through the existing finish it should take stain, although it will absorb the stain at a different rate from the top.

Another option is to rip the edges of the table to give yourself a flat surface and then glue on solid edging. The difficulty will be matching the wood with the rest of the table top, however, since it is the edge, it will make a nice frame even if it isn't perfect.

Another option is to look around and see if you can find flexible veneer that you could use to cover the existing edge. It is possible to get iron on veneer that might work as long as the edge profile isn't complicated.

Good luck.

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Finishing a walnut tray

by K E Miller
(SE MN)

Q: I have sanded a walnut tray and then used spray lacquer for a finish. Unfortunately, I can't get a uniform gloss.

Parts of the tray look glossy while others look sort of rough. Re-spraying only moves the discrepancy to a different portion of the tray. What can I do to get it even?

A: Are all parts of the tray sanded to the same grit? Did you wipe down the tray with a tack cloth and spray in a dust free place? Did you sand evenly between coats?

If all of the above are okay, than it may be that you are spraying too close to the surface, or your pressure is too high. If that's the case some of the lacquer may be “splashing” back making for an uneven surface.

If you are spraying outside or near a fan you can get an uneven application because air flow can push some spray off course or actually dry the lacquer before it hits the surface. If the air flow is uneven it can cause an uneven application.

Try lowering your air pressure a bit and make sure you are working in an environment where the air flow is consistent. If it seems that the lacquer if drying too quickly you can add a bit of solvent.

Hope this helps.
Good luck.

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question about bandsaw boxes

by Gene Hacketee
(Puyallup, Wa)

Q: I know the basics of making bandsaw boxes, but what is the best way to do the following:

I've seen boxes that are using a different wood for the face of the box and the face of the drawers. The drawers I can figure out but how do you do the box with curves?

A: I'm not sure I understand your question. To use different species of wood you simply laminate them together. The thickness of each lamination and how you arrange them will determine how the end product will look.

The curves are cut on a bandsaw. For details of how it's done see my page on how to make Shaker boxes.

I hope this helps.

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How to make a dance prop like a lazy susan turn

by Cici
(Pekin Il)

Q: We had a prop built for my daughter's dance team. It is like a lazy susan concept. There is a round bottom for stability and then another layer for the girls to dance on. It needs to spin. He used large silver bearings in between the layers but when it turns it is so loud that you can't hear the music. Do you have any ideas? He has given up and we are left without a working prop. Please help.

A: I'd need to know why it is making noise. Are the bearings rubbing together? If so can you grease the bearings? Are they close enough together that they don't rattle around? What are they riding on? The problem might be with the "cage" that holds the bearings in place.

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how to reaffix the guard on a sears jointer


Hi, I took off the guard to sharpen the knives on my jointer. When reassembling, I had a huge struggle to get the screw in the right hole and now the guard does not have enough spring tension to work properly. Does anyone have a manual for Craftsman 149.236223 or know how to fix this?
Tom

Hi Tom,

I'm not familiar with the Sears jointer, but I know that on mine (mine is a 6" Jet), if I just put the guard back in place it doesn't have any tension at all.

Instead, I hold the guard and twist the part that fits into the jointer. That puts the tension back in the spring. The trick is then to hold that tension while getting the guard back in it's place.

Basically it means you have to tension the spring before putting the guard back in place. It's hard to tell from you photo, but it looks like you may be able to do the same thing with yours. If you had a hard time getting the guard back in place you may need an extra hand or two to get it in place while under tension. Why the engineers can't make it easy I don't know!

Good luck,
Kate

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aquarium stand strength

by david
(coral springs, FL USA)


Q: I'm trying to build a plan for an aquarium stand. My aquarium will be 60"wide x 24"deep x 30"tall and when filled will weigh about 2400lbs. I want the stand to be 36" to 40" tall and I need to maximize the amount of space INSIDE the stand for all my equipment.

The stand will be 61"wide x 25"deep x 36"tall. I'm concerned about the stand being top-heavy and i'm not sure if these stands can handle the dimensional stress's.

I have attached a couple of cad plans, please let me know if you can help me.

thanks,
dave


On top of all the stands will be 3/4" plywood before the aquarium.

A: I'm not sure of the formula for weight tolerances, but I'd recommend adding cross braces to the design to prevent the whole thing from racking. You could brace the back and sides to leave the front open for access.

Of the designs above I like the middle one with the cross bracing for the top. I tend to overbuild, but better that than have it collapse on you.

As for being top heavy, I've seen tanks on what look like spindly legs, so my guess is that as long as it is well balanced (I'd recommend leveling it before you add water) it should be okay. You might want to check with the fish dealer to be sure.

Good luck. Enjoy your fish.

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Cut out handles

by Chris Sergent
(Cooma, Australia)


Q: Hi,
I am brand new to woodworking and I wanted to start with some simple crates.
The crates I am making have crescent shaped cut outs for the handles. but I am really confounded as to how to make these. I have searched the net, for what one would assume to be an easy task, but I just can't find the info anywhere.
how do I do it?
Thanks

A: I'd suggest using a jig saw.

You can start by tracing the outline of the shape you want, then drill a hole in an edge of the crescent large enough to insert your saw blade. If you have tight turns you can drill a hole at each spot to make it easier for yourself.

If you haven't used a jigsaw before, read the instructions and practice on a piece of scrap wood.

Welcome to the wonderful world of woodworking!


More details:

well, no, not exactly what i meant. The hole doesn't go all the way through, it is more of a semi circle piece scooped out of the timber, deep enough to put your fingers into to lift the crate, as in the picture attached.



A: If you need to cut partway through the wood I'd recommend carving chisels (coming in from both directions to prevent tearing). You can find gouges of different sizes and styles that should do the trick for you.

You might also be able to use a dremel-type tool. They come with many different attachments for different uses.

Good luck!

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something about building a router table

by Ron Park
(Boerne, Texas, USA)

Q: I have leftover slab of plastic composite material that was used to install countertops in my kitchen. It is called Dovae and machines and cuts like wood with any saw. I wish to utilize the piece I have to build a router table. It's quite strong stuff and smooth and I don't believe I need an underbacking material such as plywood. My question is could I use this as a top surface for a router table? Thanks for any suggestions and/or plans to suit.

A: Hi Ron,

It sounds like it would make a good router table top. I don't think you would need a plywood under-layer if you have sturdy rails to hold it. There are lots of plans online, you can pick the one you like, or modify as needed.

Have fun and don't forget to wear a mask when cutting the material. Some of the composites are toxic.

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What is the right joint to use?

by Nate


Q:
I have a few questions to ask here about a project that I will be starting in the next few months. I did a lot of woodworking while in school and continued for a little after but have not done much of that in the last 10 years and this is going to be the biggest project I have ever done.

It is going to be a back hutch for a bar I just got for my house. First, the bar is made from solid hard wood not sure what and painted black knowing this what type of wood should I use?

I would like to make something that will outlast myself, so looking for a hard wood that will last but maybe something that does not cost too much (I was thinking oak).

Next what joints should I use? I was always told if you are going to make furniture that is going to last the best joints are ones that do not use nails or screws. So what I was thinking is butt joints with glue and dowels or biscuits. Dovetail for the draws and miter with biscuits for the doors.

Attached is the drawing I did for this project, so please any other tips are also appreciated.
Thank you,

Nate

A: That's a great project you have going Nate. My first comment is that if you haven't done any woodworking for a while you should consider doing a couple small "practice" projects before jumping into a complicated hutch (mistakes are less costly).

That said, oak would be a good choice for wood, it's solid and not too expensive. However, you could also think about using oak or birch plywood (cabinet grade) for the case, especially if you are going to paint it.

For the joinery stay away from butt joints. They don't have the strength needed, even with glue and some reinforcement. You will need several different types of joinery, depending on the way the case is designed.

Dovetails are good for the drawers. Biscuits work well with plywood. Pocket screws make face frames easy, miters are okay for doors, or you could make them with mortise and tenon for greater strength. The options are nearly endless.

(You can read more about different types of joinery here.)

Another option that would make things easier is to get a good plan for a similar hutch and modify it as needed.

Looks like a fun project.
Best of luck.
Kate

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