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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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After I finished some work last night, I knew I’d have a bit of free time, so it was time to put the new Saw Vise through it’s paces.
I pulled an old, fairly unremarkable saw from my inventory, that is about 24″ long and has cross-cut teeth. It looked like it may not have ever been re-sharpened; Ever! Ok, I know many buy and own hand saws, and never even think about re-sharpening, and with the possible infrequent use, don’t really notice the steady but gradual decline in overall sawing ease or quality. If you’ve never seen anyone sharpen a saw, or been around someone that even talks about saws needing re-sharpening, why would they even think about it? Perhaps my talking about this topic will help bridge a gap for someone. (stepping down from soapbox, hehe)
I clamped the long leg of my Saw Vise in the face vise on my bench, and loosened the tensioning knob. I inserted the saw into the jaws, and with light tension applied with the vise’s knob, I could finely adjust where I wanted the saw’s teeth. Once situated, it only took a couple of turns of the knob to apply enough tension to hold the saw very secure.
The new vise’s dimensions, in conjunction with the bench’s face vise, also put the teeth of the saw no more than a couple inches below my regular site-line. This was wonderful and made it much easier to see what I was doing (with my Magni-Focus headset of course), without much bending over at all, which kept my back feeling good. I picked up a small triangular file that didn’t yet have a handle, and decided to try it in my a super-fine pin vise I bought from Bridge City a number of years ago. I usually just make a wooden handle for the files, but I enjoyed the feel of the pin vise’s extra heft. This extra mass felt like it may have helped make the file a bit smoother, when it was in the cut.
I made a pass down one side of the saw, holding my file with it’s handle swung about 15-degrees, compared to the straight across action when filing rip teeth on a saw. This angle is to follow the shape of the cross-cut teeth, which have a bevel on the front/rear edge of each tooth, so they sever the wood fibers as you cut across the grain. The file is held so it is still parallel to the floor, not to confuse the 15-degrees I mentioned, as tilting the file’s handle up or down. (I hope that is clear)
I unclamped the saw, flipped it so the handle was then at the other end of the Saw Vise, and quickly re-clamped it. I made the second pass down the saw teeth, filing the teeth that weren’t touched from the other side of the saw plate, so all surfaces were sharp.
It can be surprising just how much metal is removed, during a sharpening, as you might make out in the photo below.
It’s amazing how the mass of this Saw Vise made such a huge difference, as there was absolutely zero vibration, even when I tested filing a few teeth that were outside of the jaw’s reach.
Thanks as always for checking out this article. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
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