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 a day or so, I like to go back and re-read my articles, and there are times that I find I’m wanting/needing to add some more detail. On the saw sharpening article, I think it might be useful to show some of the tools I used and hopefully a tip or two.
If you’ve ever attempted to sharpen a saw, you likely recognize how it can be a struggle to adequately hold the plate, so you can do your work. A number of years ago I made a vise specifically for holding the saws, while I sharpened them. All it took was a couple of small pieces of plywood, two small strips of leather, 12 screws, two small strips of hardwood scrap and some glue.
When working with the small teeth on hand saws, I find it extremely necessary for me to have good magnification, to see what the heck I’m doing. I have a Magni-Focus with two different lenses, so I can swap them out depending on what I’m working.
The other tools I use are a 6″ extra-slim triangular file (the one in the photo is a nice one from Grobet, and is large enough that when the file is fully seated in the gullet between teeth, the tooth is no more than half way up the file’s face), a flat medium file (used to joint the tops of the teeth), a saw tooth set (this is used to move the teeth out away from the centerline, alternating so the first goes left, the second right and so on, but isn’t needed if you already have enough set), a digital caliper (which is used to determine how much set is actually on the teeth), and an old sharpening stone (which I use if I need to lessen the effects of the current set, if there is too much, and as it can groove the stone I wouldn’t use the stones on which I sharpen my chisels and plane irons).
I usually place my saw vise into my Moxon vise’s jaws, and let the Moxon apply the pressure up close to the top of the saw vise. This translates to pressure from the hardwood strips, onto the saw plate. Since I am currently rebuilding my Moxon, I used the face vise on my workbench, to hold the saw vise. As you can see in the photo below (sorry for such a fuzzy photo), the jaws on my face vise are well below the top of the saw vise, which only applies a portion of the vise’s force onto the saw plate.
To help resolve the vise problem, I used a clamp that has a wide throat, to apply pressure to the section of the saw vise (see photo below) that was most important at any given time. I just shifted the clamp down the edge of the saw vise, when I’d get to the point that it was in my way.
In the next photo, I have a strip of plywood laying below my hand, that has marks on it that relate to 15-degrees off of perpendicular to the saw tooth’s edge. Also, in the photo, I only have one hand on the file. I work with both hands on the file, but just needed the other to take the photo.
After I finished filing the teeth (sharpening), I tested the saw in some 8/4 scrap I had close by. The saw cut smoothly, but I could tell it wanted to wander a bit, which indicates there is too much set on the teeth. I measured the teeth and at the tips, it was about .045″, while the saw plate just behind was only .029″. That works out to about .008″ (or 8 thou) on each side, which is a bit much for the type of work this saw will see.
I took an old sharpening stone (220-grit or so) and made two passes down the length of the saw’s teeth, on both sides, and then tested the cut again. This test was better, but felt like it was cutting to the right, which showed in a slight curved pattern to that side. I carefully felt along the teeth and could feel a section that was more pronounced, so I took another pass in just that area, feathering in and out of the adjoining areas. When I tested it again, it seemed like it wanted to follow the square line I’d drawn, so I call this sharpening done. I wiped on a very light coat of Jojoba oil and it’ll be ready for me when it is called into service.
Below are two photos of the Vulcan Toolworks saw of which I spoke in the last two articles. It’s an old saw with lots of character, a nice spring steel plate, and a handle that feels great. I’d love to have a way to see just where this saw has traveled, and who worked with it. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Thanks for checking back in and I hope this might have filled in a blank or two. As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments.
I got a call from my daughter and son-in-law a few months ago, as they were at a cool little store that happened to have some old/used hand tools, and they wanted to see if any of the tools looked like something I “needed” for my toolkit. My daughter had just sent me a number […]