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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Before I get started on the main topic, I wanted to pass along that I am now on Instagram as LeeLairdWoodworking as well as Twitter as @LeeLairdWW, in case anyone didn’t know. It’s been a bit since I had time to write a proper article, so if you’d like, you can see what I’m up to on one of the other feeds. Ok, so on with the article.
I was working at my bench a couple of days ago and went to measure a sharpening stone, as I was preparing to make a new honing guide board, since I’d just purchased the new Lie-Nielsen Honing Guide and a few add-ons. (If you’d like to read about the build, hop over to Highland Woodworking and it should be up in the not too distant future, or you can check out some of the other articles I’ve written for Highland).
Ok, so I measured the sharpening stone, using a tape measure that was close, and engaging it’s built-in clip at the end of the tape. It measure almost exactly 8 1/2″ long. I was about to go cut some wood, and I’m not sure why, but I decided to measure one more time starting at the 1″ mark, just for confirmation. Whoa, this time it measure 8 1/4″ long. As you might imagine, I checked both ways a number of times, before believing what I was seeing. As it turned out, the end clip wasn’t bent at a 90-degree angle, but the tip was back towards the tape measures body. This caused the tip to make contact while the measuring tape wasn’t completely lined up with the edge of the stone.
I’ve owned this tape measure for 20+ years, and I can recall over the years that I’d measure multiple times only to end up with the wrong size. Jeez, I wish I’d dug a little deeper back then, to figure out the actual cause.
Since I knew I can always use the tape measure in the second mode above, I decided to see if I could actually fix the problem. I held the tip, as close to the bend as possible, while holding the other leg of the metal piece that makes the tip.
While holding both very tightly, I gradually bent the tip towards the 90-degree mark, and then released. I was afraid it might break if I went to fast, or too far. After a number of small movements, I decided to call it a day. I got the tape so it measures within 1/16″ comparing between the tip and the alignment mode. I found this reasonable enough to stop there.
Mainly, I wanted to make sure everyone checks their tape measures, to see if they are actually reading accurately, before wasting time or resources. Of course, I don’t usually use this when I’m making critical measurements, but, knowing your tools are correct sure helps have more confidence.
I hope you enjoyed the information and please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions.
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