Southeast Michigan Woodworkers

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 Post subject: Alder drawer unit
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 7:46 am
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Location: Hopkins, Minnesota
Several months ago I asked for some advice here on what species of wood to use to match an existing built-in custom shelving unit. The consensus was alder, which I must confess I had not heard of before. So here is that drawer unit completed in alder (except for the top front banding which is oak). The top is black matte Formica. The drawers are all dovetailed (sorry, I used a jig - not a handsaw. I'm not that good.) The middle drawers are hanging file drawers. The lower ones are for table cloths, etch. We find the assortment of drawer sizes much more useful than a uniform size. The finish is water-based poly over light stain that matches the shelving unit just above (not pictured).

Thanks for the advice and hello to all my friends in Michigan.


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 Post subject: Re: Alder drawer unit
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:14 am
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Very nice!


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 Post subject: Re: Alder drawer unit
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:06 am
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Location: Trenton, Michigan
That is a great looking piece.
Steve.


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 Post subject: Re: Alder drawer unit
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:03 pm 
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I'm curious...six drawers are designed with the handle attached to an alder insert on top of a dark panel, two are without the insert but into a dark panel alone, and two are without any panel at all. Can you tell us the motivation behind this design?

What is the dark panel made of? Is it floating in the frame? Are the drawers on slides? If not, how do you support them?

The alder is particularly attractive. Is it 4/4 or 3/4? Is the top 8/4 or is there a molding that masks its true width?

Thanks much for the info.

- David


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 Post subject: Re: Alder drawer unit
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:59 am 
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Location: Rochester MI
Nice work - I like the black framed by the Alder.


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 Post subject: Re: Alder drawer unit
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:43 pm 
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Location: Hopkins, Minnesota
David Katz wrote:
I'm curious...six drawers are designed with the handle attached to an alder insert on top of a dark panel, two are without the insert but into a dark panel alone, and two are without any panel at all. Can you tell us the motivation behind this design?

What is the dark panel made of? Is it floating in the frame? Are the drawers on slides? If not, how do you support them?

The alder is particularly attractive. Is it 4/4 or 3/4? Is the top 8/4 or is there a molding that masks its true width?

Thanks much for the info.

- David


All the Alder was 3/4" boards from Menards. The drawer boxes were made of 3/4" poplar. Before the front of each drawer was attached, the front of the box was painted matte black (many coats), sanded smooth so no trace of poplar grain remains, then finished with the poly, which was also deglossed with steel wool to make it matte. Then the drawer fronts were made with a pair of rectangular holes to allow the painted painted box front to show through like a panel, but it is not a panel. (Except the hanging file drawers which has only one hole and the pencil drawers which have none).

The pulls are attached to the box for the hanging file drawers. But for all the others the pulls are attached on the drawer fronts. Thus those two drawers have recessed pulls. The reason I did not use recessed pull locations on the other drawers is ergonomics. Reaching for a recessed pull that that is closely bordered by a drawer front seemed like a problem. But the hanging file drawers had enough room above the below the pulls that I didn't think reaching "inside" in the recessed rectangle would be a problem. The two pencil drawers were short enough that one alder board served as the drawer front, so I did not bother with the black rectangles for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Alder drawer unit
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:51 am 
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Location: Trenton, Michigan
Bob Scott wrote:
Before the front of each drawer was attached, the front of the box was painted matte black (many coats)... Then the drawer fronts were made with a pair of rectangular holes to allow the painted painted box front to show through like a panel, but it is not a panel.

Quite clever and looks great.
Steve.


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 Post subject: Re: Alder drawer unit
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:59 am 
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Location: Hopkins, Minnesota
Perhaps I should also explain the large gap between the upper set of drawers and the lower 4 drawers.

It is a structural concern. My hanging file drawers tend to get quite heavy. And the drawers next to them may also get quite heavy. One of them has some tools. So I wondered how that weight would be supported. In a typical drawer unit with uniform drawer widths, all drawers are supported by vertical dividers that go all the way down to the bottom. I could have done that too if I put the wider drawers on top. But I wanted the wide drawers on the bottom. That means the vertical divider between the hanging file drawer and the two drawers next to it is supported by nothing but the face frame in the front. That did not seem very strong to me. So what I did was to add a sandwich of three layers of 3/4" plywood just above the four wide drawers on the bottom. That is what is causing the large gap you see from the front. But it does a super job at rigidly supporting the interrupted vertical dividers next to the hanging file drawers.


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