Thursday, December 12, 2019

Side Table, Part 4: Drawer Dividers

The three drawers will be separated by frames that are housed in dadoes in the carcase sides.  The front and back members of the frames (I'm calling them the "mid-rails") are poplar and have mortises that take the tenons of the side members.  The side members of the frames are the drawer runners and they are made from maple.
Carcase showing drawer dividers
The dadoes that are needed
I carefully laid out the dadoes, first in pencil and later with a knife.  Once again, the size of the sides made this challenging.  I wanted the dadoes to be located perfectly evenly on both sides.  So with the case dry-assembled, I used a short stick cut to just the right length to get the upper dado locations relative to the case bottom.  I marked at both the front and back of the side and then connected the knife nicks using a straightedge.  I cut the stick down to just the right length to mark the lower dado locations.
Used a stick to locate a knife nick at the front and rear of the side,
then connected the nicks with a knife line to mark one side of the dado
Cut the stick shorter to mark the lower dado
Marked for dadoes
BTW, these are stopped dadoes, ending 1/2" from the front edge of the case.  Now it was chopping time.  Man, that was a lot of chopping.  It's almost 23" of 3/4" wide dado.  I didn't get a picture of it, but after chopping a large angled notch, I used the mid-rails to find the location of the other side of the dado.
After lots of chopping, finished with a router plane
Even though I thought I had chopped vertically, I still needed to pare the walls
Got a decent fit
The mid-rails and runners are connected with mortise and tenon joints.  I had planed the runners about 1/32" thicker than the mid-rails so that I could plane them down after cutting the mortises and tenons.  I usually get a slight step in a m&t joint line, so I thought I'd make the runner slightly thicker and plane it down to meet the rail.  Anyway, the mortises and tenons went well.
Rail (left) marked for mortise, runner marked for tenon
I got to use the dedicated 1/4" mortise gauge that I made a few months ago
I chopped the first mortise, but for the rest of them I bored out most of the waste before finishing with a chisel.  I used the "ring" trick to ensure I was boring perpendicular.  Here's the thing about the ring trick - it only works if the workpiece is perfectly vertical.  So you need some method to verify this.
Clamping the rail vertically, checking with a level
I also spring-clamped a couple of sticks to the sides of the rail to help align the bit left-right.
Note the washer being used as the "ring" to align the bit up-down.
Eight mortises, each about 1 1/16" deep
I didn't get any pictures of doing the tenons, but after sawing the shoulders, I split off most of the waste and then used the router to pare the tenons to a good fit in the mortises.  Then I planed the runners to get a good joint line.

And here is the result.
Carcase dry-assembled, with drawer dividers in their dadoes
Close-up of one divider - forgot to mention that the front mid-rails are notched
to fit over the stopped dado and be flush with the front of the carcase 
The rear of the divider - mind the gap
The mid-rails will be glued into the dadoes.  The runner tenon will be glued into the front mid-rail mortise, but it will be assembled dry both in the dado and in the rear mid-rail.  The grain of the sides runs vertically, so these runners can't be glued into the dadoes or disaster could occur when the wood moves with seasonal changes.  I left about 1/4" between the shoulder of the runner and the mid-rail to allow for this.

Next up: the frame and panel back.