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Dresser Drawer wonky – repair

Posted by is9582 on October 27, 2016 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We have an old dresser that is almost 30 years old, that was purchased just before our son was born. It has some nice looking maple/curly maple on it and is fairly heavy, which lead us to believe it was well made. Unfortunately, this was around the time I was just cutting my teeth on some basic woodworking, so I didn’t dig into it as I would today.

I became aware that the top drawer was twisting in it’s track and it was a struggle to get the drawer in or out. As I was going through all of the excess stuff in the room, I pulled the drawer to see what exactly was happening. The drawers, which are each approximately 30″ wide, have one “T” shaped runner in the dead center of each level. The front end of the runners are screwed to the face frame, and initially it looked like the rear swung into what looked like a dado, with perhaps a dab of glue securing it. After completely removing the top runner, I saw there was a hole in the rear of the case, in the “dado section”, as well as signs a screw was driven into the rear end of the runner. The actions of the drawer must have created enough vibration to cause the rear screw to back out of the runner. Sure enough, I pulled the dresser away from the wall and there was one screw lying on the ground and it fit perfectly into the hole in the runner.

 

The runner for the top drawer in the dresser, with the screw intact at the red arrow, and the missing screw's location in the area of the blue arrows.

The runner for the top drawer in the dresser, with the screw intact at the red arrow, and the missing screw’s location in the area of the blue arrows.

 

The second part of the dresser issues is the fact that they installed a plastic guide on the rear of each drawer, to fit over the runner’s “T” shape. I know not all plastic is bad, but in this type of usage, it just doesn’t seem like it matches the drawer sizing, nor the level of the dresser’s original cost. The plastic guide on the problematic top drawer, had split at some point and one side section was gone.

 

Original undamaged plastic drawer guide, from another drawer in the dresser.

Original undamaged plastic drawer guide, from another drawer in the dresser.

 

Broken plastic guide from top drawer in this dresser.

Broken plastic guide from top drawer in this dresser.

 

I can’t tell if the screw popped out of the back first, and the ability of the rear section of the runner to swing from side to side applied extra side force to break the guide, or if the guide went first. I suppose at this point it really doesn’t make much difference.

With the runner from the top drawer already out, I took it to the shop as a template for a replacement guide. I found some cherry that looked like it would potentially work nicely.

I started with a piece of cherry that was about 6″ long, marked out the guide’s overall length, and marked a centerline to align with the center of the runner. I clamped the cherry in the face vise on my bench, and set my small square so the bottom of the runner was just slightly proud of the guide. I needed the bottom of the guide to just clear the face frame when installing the drawer. So with the rear of the runner sitting on the cherry, and the top of the runner against the square, I traced around the shape of the runner.

 

Cherry guide material clamped in the face vise, elevated slightly so my square could register against it to maintain the runner's orientation while drawing around it.

Cherry guide material clamped in the face vise, elevated slightly so my square could register against it to maintain the runner’s orientation while drawing around it.

 

Actual runner in place against the square, with the slight overhang. During the actual drawing around the runner, I squeezed between the base of the runner and the outside edge of the square's body.

Actual runner in place against the square, with the slight overhang. During the actual drawing around the runner, I squeezed between the base of the runner and the outside edge of the square’s body.

 

With the necessary opening of the guide defined, I used my Lie-Nielsen Crosscut saw to saw straight down at the two narrow vertical lines, until I reached the top of the intended opening. Shifting to my Knew Concepts saw, I cut along the horizontal lines, leaving only the the narrow vertical sections uncut. I used my small 1/4″ palm chisel from Czeck Edge Tools to methodically remove the remaining wood.

 

After creating the area to evacuate on the guide, I clamped the cherry in a small turn-screw, while clamping the turn-screw in the face vise. This elevated the piece to a nice height for sawing.

After creating the area to evacuate on the guide, I clamped the cherry in a small turn-screw, while clamping the turn-screw in the face vise. This elevated the piece to a nice height for sawing.

 

Here is the guide straight from the saw, but still it's full length, but the location for shortening is drawn.

Here is the guide straight from the saw, but still it’s full length, but the location for shortening is drawn.

 

I tested the fit and it was too tight widthwise, for the runner to completely enter the created opening in the guide. I used a small file to carefully remove wood, testing every so often, until the desired fit was established. All of the sharp edges were gently rounded to provide the best opportunity for the guide and runner to interact well together. Lastly I applied my Lie-Nielsen stick of paraffin to the mating surfaces of the guide and runner, and rubbed them in to help obtain the best performance.

 

Testing the actual runner in the guide, before cutting the guide to final length.

Testing the actual runner in the guide, before cutting the guide to final length.

 

The final guide after all filing and sanding was complete.

The final guide after all filing and sanding was complete.

 

I’ll include the installation information in one of my next blog entries. Thank you for stopping by and checking out the article. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Lee Laird

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Eclipse-type honing guide

Posted by is9582 on December 25, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , ,

I know there are lots of woodworkers that have one of the old Eclipse honing guides, or more likely, one of the many variants based on the original Eclipse. I decided I’d provide some details in print, along with a few photos, to help others get the most use from one of these honing guides (photo below, of my old decommissioned guide).

 

This is a photo of the type of honing guide I am referencing in this article. Most variants look very similar, even though some will have differences.

This is a photo of the type of honing guide I am referencing in this article. Most variants look very similar, even though some will have differences.

 

When most of this style guide are purchased, they have silver paint covering most if not all of the aluminum casting. As they are a fairly inexpensive purchase, the first thing to check is whether the two outside sections of the upper bed, are making contact before any material between them. As you close the jaws together, there is a good chance the center section will be raised above the outside sections, and you can see how a plane iron set onto the bed, could either tip right or left, ruining square as well as repeatability.

 

The pencil is drawing attention to the difference between the lighter colored section next to the upper jaw, and the darker section towards the center.

The pencil is drawing attention to the difference between the lighter colored section next to the upper jaw, and the darker section towards the center.

 

There is a quick and simple remedy, which is to file away material that is blocking the outside sections, which you want to support the iron. Using a Sharpie (I prefer black), I mark a little over 1/8″ from the very corner of where the bed meets the upper jaws (see photo above), all along each jaw. This marks the area that I want to leave untouched by my file. Clamp the honing guide into a vise, and using a flat file, remove material until you get down to actual aluminum, which is a darker grey. Check to see if there is still a hump, and if so, continue the filing operation. When you can confirm there is no rocking back and forth, or look from the underside and make sure the only light you see under the iron, is from the center portion of the guide. Ok, the first part is complete.

 

The pencil is against the wall of the lower jaw, with the red arrows pointing to locations where materials must be removed.

The pencil is against the wall of the lower jaw, with the red arrows pointing to locations where materials must be removed.

 

The next area to look at is the lower jaws (see photo above, of guide that is already filed), which can help hold irons that are too narrow to hold in the top jaws, as well as many chisels. They create a very small triangle (or at least it looks like this if the two jaws are together), but it is too small to hold many chisels, especially chisels that have square sides or others. On the inside of one jaw, it is created so the lower jaw is a straight edge, but the other has a slight curve across the jaw. We need to remove materials from 1/16″ – 1/8″ below the lip on the lower jaw, all the way to the support rods. Use the edge of your flat file to work this area, so it opens the little triangle up so the side walls are much more gradual. As you work these two lower jaws, make sure you follow the original shape of each, so follow the curve around with the file stroke and don’t straighten it out. Ok, that’s two parts down. We are getting much closer, and if you don’t or won’t ever sharpen/hone at angles at or above 45-degrees, you are done!

 

The pencil is pointed towards what was the front bulged area, that has been flattened to gain a higher angle of presentation to the stone.

The pencil is pointed towards what was the front bulged area, that has been flattened to gain a higher angle of presentation to the stone.

 

If like many of us, you do have certain irons that you wish to apply these higher angles, we have one more step. The bodies of these guides have a bulge as it transitions from going straight down from the upper jaws, to moving towards the very bottom of the casting. On whichever side you will use as the “front”, or the same side the sharp edge of your irons will be, you need to flatten (or at least remove) enough of the bulge to obtain your needed sharpening angle. It will do you no good to have your honing guide hitting your stone, while your iron is still up in the air. There are two ways to handle this issue. If you are handy with a flat file, you can file across the bulge, testing to see how much to remove. If you and files don’t get along that well, place some sandpaper on a sturdy flat surface, and pull the guide back, while holding the wheel and the bulge on the surface. You need to make certain you don’t go too far, as you still need strength in the casting, to support the guide rod (see photo below).

 

This shows how much material remained next to the guide rod, which can become weak if too much is removed.

This shows how much material remained next to the guide rod, which can become weak if too much is removed.

 

As some will notice, the wheel on this old guide is pretty rusted. It is a good idea to wipe down the wheel after each usage, as some wheels will rust, even if others do not. Obviously, this one didn’t get all of the loving attention it deserved. If you use oil stones, this is really a moot point, but for those using the quicker-cutting water stones, it will only take a moment to give it a wipe, but don’t put any oil where it might get onto your water stones. It’s just safer to wipe.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope this will help make these inexpensive guides work better for each of you. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Lee Laird

LeeLairdWoodworking@gmail.com