Tag Archives: block-front

Hardware Installation Basics

This week I wrapped up finish on my block-front chest then installed the hardware. While hardware installation on this chest is a bit different due to the rounded block-front design, once the location of the plate is decided all else is identical. For those of you who wonder how I go about this step, here it is.

Ordinarily, I would measure in from the drawer ends to locate my back-plate. That is a bit difficult when dealing with block-front drawer fronts. Because I wanted each plate centered in the rounded section and had to find that point, I cut a thin strip to the exact length of the curved portion then marked its center point. Lay the strip on the drawer front, position the lower point of the back-plate just at the center line of the strip then mark both hole locations. I strike a vertical line at the center of each hole.

This hardware also requires that the holes be centered from top to bottom. This is easy when using a double saddle square. With my square set, I struck a small line to form a cross-hair that indicates exactly where to drill. At my drill press, I installed a 1/16″ bit then drilled a pilot hole through the drawer front.

With the drawer set so I could operate on the interior and using the pilot hole as a guide, I drill a 5/8″ recess which is just large enough to allow socket access for tightening the nuts. This recess allows me to keep any posts and nuts flush on the inside of the drawer.  You do not want to catch your unmentionables on your hardware.

With the drawer flipped down so I can work on its front, I complete the hole using a bit that matches my post diameter. The pilot worked to keep the two drill operations aligned and straight.

On most of the drawers I work on, the posts need to be cut in length to remain in the recess cut in the back face of the drawer front. I figure the thread length needed, grab a piece of scrap that is the correct thickness then cut each post to size. The post ends are not conducive to easy nut installation straight from the saw, so I use a sander to round the ends as shown in the photo above – when you have fat fingers working in small recesses, you want every advantage you can get.

Although it is not easy to see the nuts in this photo, this is the look inside each drawer. Posts do not extend into the storage area. This presents a clean look inside the drawers. As for the outside, the photo below says it all.

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Filed under Design, Hardware, Power Tools, Shop Tips

Weather Wallops Woodworking

Not much woodworking was accomplished this week in my shop. My area of the country, like many areas around the country, was covered in triple-digit temperatures. My option was to work in the shop for a few hours during the mornings, then close up and move back to my air-conditioned home office. Of course, I could stay in the shop, but only if I stood in front of my fan dressed only in my boxers. (Not photos included – you’re welcome!)

Due to humidity levels edging higher, I put off the final coats of the walnut secretary. That should happen this coming week if weather forecaster continue their fantastic accuracy rate. (Note the sarcasm.)  I did manage to slap a couple coats of paint on a small four-drawer chest and to finish construction on a block-front chest that was started a year ago. I even went as far as to apply aniline dye to the chest and spray on a couple layers of shellac. Damn the humidity.

What was interesting about the block-front was the two distinctly different mahogany woods used on the piece. My case was a nice pink shade – all the lumber came from a single source. For my drawer fronts however, I had to use 12/4 stock and its color was much deeper. Not only that, as the piece sat around my shop for the year, my drawer fronts changed far greater than the case did. Below are photos of the different mahogany used. While you may not notice a huge difference in the photos, in person you could see vast variations.

Case lumber.

Drawer front stock.

To overcome these variations, I decided to dye my case as I normally do – soak the piece until I get dye dripping off the surface, let it stand for five minutes then wipe away the excess. As I began finish on the drawers, I decided to brush on a single coat and immediately wipe off any excess.

After the first drawer was dyed, I pulled out my hair dryer to fast-track the drying process – a good tip if you’re in a hurry – before sliding the drawer into the case to see if my hunch was correct. To my surprise, the drawer front was lighter than the case, so I applied a second wipe-it-on-wipe-it-off dye coat. This time, as I slid the drawer into the case, the color looked close enough (see the chest in the opening photo).

Not only should you try and use lumber from a single source, but rules – in this case how aniline dye should be applied – are made to be broken. Maybe that should read adjusted.

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Filed under Finish Techniques, Shop Tips