My husband must have gotten tired of me swiping his smoothing plane, because he just got me my own – A Sargent 408 (Stanley #3 equivilant). It fits my hand very well, and I’m glad it’s a Sargent, because that’s closest to what my jack plane is, and I kept getting so confused as to which way to turn the knob to adjust the blade when I was going back and forth between the two systems.
We’ve had an amusing time trying to decide which tools I need all my own and which ones we can share. Our bench is in the dining room, so space is rather limited already. I still insist that I need my own 12” square for layout and he needs to get his own 12’ tape measure.
Important lessons I’ve recently learned from this project:
- I’ve learned more by watching, listening, and reading about woodworking than I thought I had.
- It’s always worth the time it takes to make sure your layout lines are correct.
- Hand-planing burns enough calories that I don’t feel guilty drinking that milkshake afterwards.
There was a reason I got the grade I did in Geometry class. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around how boards interact to form a 3-D object. I keep missing steps in drawer making, not because I’m being lazy or careless, but because I struggle to see what order things need to be done in. For example, I have forgotten to mark my baseline on at least one part of every joint I’ve cut until I’m trying to see how far down I should be sawing. And don’t get me started on which side is left or right when I’m working on the through dovetails in the back. I’m relying on whatever I wrote at each joint when I was looking at it from the front. (A should go with A, even if it seems backward in my head.)
I had originally planned on nailing the drawers together, but my rabbet-planing skills are no better than my dovetailing skills, so I’m attempting to do half-blind dovetails in the front of the drawers and through dovetails in the back. My practice piece turned out splendidly, but when I cut the tails in my first drawer front, I sawed them straight up and down instead of at an angle. Duh. The drawer front was not salvageable. Which, given the number of mistakes I’d already made on this drawer, was probably not all bad. Some of the more egregious mistakes included miss-measuring the height the drawer front needed to be, which involved having to edge-glue more wood to it; plowing the groove for my drawer bottoms in the wrong place etc. Thankfully, I have enough stock to make a new one. But I have made progress.
I finally made a successful pair of half-blind dovetails in the front and a pair of through dovetails in the back. It took me longer to lay out my lines than it did for me to cut them, and that’s saying something, given how slow I am at dovetailing. These dovetails didn’t have the problems my carcase ones did, probably because I was so anal about being precise in my layout and cutting.
One drawer is now dry-fitted, and a second one well on it’s way. I finally broke down and let my husband help with my project – he got to cut the plywood to put in my drawer bottom. The drawer is not wobbly in the slightest, and it fits snugly into the carcase. I apparently mis-measured how long my drawers needed to be, because the two drawers I have made both stand proud of the carcase. Thankfully, that’s a fixable problem. (no, they don’t stand as proud as the picture shows, I thought you might like to see how the dovetails in the drawers turned out.)