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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Ok, so in the last storage article, I left you with four of my bench planes securely stored on the plywood that I will mount above my work bench. I started looking at the tools I use regularly, to see what I wanted to go on the board, and where.
On the lowest portion of the board, just to the left of the mentioned bench planes, I decided to create some storage for some of my block planes. Three of the four selected are Lie-Nielsen (LN) tools, which are always a joy to use. I chose to include my LN 60 1/2, LN 60 1/2R, LN 102 and an old Stanley #60 1/2 I modified into a #18. I used some of the same mahogany in the horizontal plane, with a strip of pine below it, to cause the upper material to contact the planes as needed. I planned to include some narrow wooden strips in between each plane, in the toe region, so they wouldn’t accidentally make contact with each other, as well as an alignment aid. During the layout process of the planes, I included the extra dimension for these strips, so the spacing didn’t get too tight. On most of these block planes, the iron’s adjuster stands proud, so I cut a relief where this would fit. The rear of these planes, and their rear side rails, also slid under the raised horizontal section. This kept them very secure, yet it required very little effort to remove and replace each plane. The horizontal strips, as well as the positional strips, were attached with self-tapping screws. Pre-drilling the holes in strategic locations allowed me to pre-load a screw into each hole just enough so the tip was barely proud, and with them in the desired location, give each screw a sharp “tap”. This made keeping the strips where I wanted them, much easier, as the tips of the screws each had a “home”.
On the Stanley #18, the rear structure is a bit different, having an adjustment disc that lays horizontally, as well a lateral adjust lever. The adjustment disc sticks almost the same amount as the other adjusters, but it is a bit more wide than the other adjusters. This block plane was just as easy as the first two. The LN 102 is a bit different, even though it’s smaller size adds a new wrinkle, where the iron also engages the horizontal board. This required the layout to also include space for the rear of the iron to fit down into the mahogany strip. This was easy enough to accomplish, but just required taking a good look at how the plane would interact, and making modifications to accommodate.
Above the block planes, I decided to make storage for my LN 4 1/2, and two old Stanley #3 planes. You might wonder why I’d use the space for two of the same type of plane, but one has an iron that has a very slight camber, while the other’s camber is more pronounced. The #3 is an easy plane to fall in love with, as it can get into areas that most other easy-to-hold planes (Ok, I’ll hold out judgement until I can get my hands on Chris Schwarz’ #2) might struggle. Similarly to the way I handled the block plane storage, I used the same horizontal Mahogany strip material, but instead of making room for the iron adjuster, it required space for the rear of the plane and tote. I again used the strip of pine to elevate the Mahogany, to better integrate with the planes (or so I thought; more later).
I also decided I wanted to use some like-sized material as separations/alignment between the toe regions of the planes, but I’d already used up the length of pre-dimensioned material I had, on the earlier planes. I only need four small sections, to help protect and retain these three planes, so I chose a piece of Maple I had in the shop. It was easy to take my fingers and pencil to the earlier used material, to get the width dimension, and then transfer it to the Maple using it like a fence. Since the Maple board was somewhat small, and not too thick, I decided to rip out the small strip with my Ryobi (Japanese two sided saw). I held the board in my face vise, with a small portion projecting above my bench, so there would be less vibration. I slid the board out a few times, again working down close to the bench, and repeat. When I’d just passed the half-way point on the board, I flipped it over so the already cut portion was held in the bench vise, and repeated the sawing procedure until the cuts met.
I followed this sawing with my shallow cambered #3, just to remove the saw marks and have a smooth surface. When it is so easy and quick, to remove the saw marks and make it flat, why not? Even if this isn’t a final storage solution, or a piece you’re making for a customer, I believe it is a good habit to form. After this quick planing, I cut the strip of Maple into four equal length sections, and then pre-drilled for the mounting screws. I am using self-tapping screws, but some woods still work better with these screws, and if you don’t pre-drill there are times that the attached piece(s) won’t ever completely seat against the base wood. This latter scenario is often related to screws that have threads the full length of their shanks, but it is good to know potential pitfalls.
There was still room to the left of the block planes and smoothing planes (4 1/2 & 3), so I decided to make some storage for some of my spoke shaves. I used some Pecan that was just over 2″ thick, around 12″ long and 2 1/2″ wide. I drew my layout onto the front edge, and chose what looked like an appropriate downward slope, to help retain the spoke shaves on the wall. I based my choice of forstner bits, on the width of each needed slot, to allow easy placing and removal of the spoke shaves. With all of the layout complete, I was off to the drill press, to drill all the way through the blank, at each of my design points. Next it was on to the band saw, where I made cuts that followed the slope lines I drew earlier. I cut each end of the blank, so it was square, and left about 2″ extra on each end. I also removed a section from each end, reducing the thickness so the intended screws would work to mount it to the board. Lastly, I set the fence on the band saw, so the blade was centered on the blank, and cut it lengthwise into two matching pieces. I put each of the two pieces into the face vise of my bench, to hold while I pre-drilled the holes for the screws. Like before, I again pre-fed the screws into the holes, for the “tap”. Once the first side was mounted, I used a block under the second side, to hold it exactly the same height as the first. With it in the correct vertical orientation, I held my spoke shaves up to the openings to determine the optimum spacing between the two segments. Once located, I repeated the screw “tapping” and drove all of the screws home.
With the board still on the ground in my shop, but leaning against my bench, I could test to see what mounting slope would best keep the tools in position. After measuring the distance from the board, to a vertical reference, I chose two boards to prep. I set my adjustable square to the same angle as the board was resting, so I could transfer to the mounting boards. I planned to mount the storage with two boards that would span across two studs in the wall. I cut and planed both boards, down the the sloped lines I created with the adjustable square. I picked up two heavy-duty Torx stud bolts, for each of the mounting boards, and I pre-drilled for these while also creating a recess for the heads of these bolts. I used my Makita cordless hammer-driver to put these bolts into the studs. This seemed to work so much better than the regular drill-driver.
After both of the mounting boards were securely in place, I removed all of the tools from the storage board, and drove smaller Torx screws through the storage board, and into the mounting boards. This made for a super strong and secure storage board.
I started putting the tools up onto the board, and monitoring to make sure everything was behaving as expected. All was good until I got to the #3 planes. The horizontal board was a bit too tall to directly interact with the rear edge rails on these planes, even though it was perfect for the 4 1/2. I plan to place some small spacers on the underside edge of this board, so it will contact these rails. Even with the extreme measuring I made, during the process of choosing the slope, it seemed the slope changed just enough to reduce gravity’s function against the storage board. Since the two #3 planes are the only effected tools, I’ll see if the modification I mentioned will suffice. If it doesn’t, I’ll remove the storage board and add some material to the lower of the two mounting boards, in effect, increasing the slope.
Even with this minor snafu, it has been great to have these tools at close reach and not getting all of the shavings covering them. As there is still space on the storage board, I’ll likely look to add at least a few chisels, squares and marking tools. These are some of the most commonly used tools for me.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out the article. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
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