sapling111276

Drawer rails.

29 posts in this topic

Hi all, back at it again and needing direction. So I am making my drawers for my workbench and I decided to dado the carcass sides to accept rails that I put on the actual drawers. So my question is this. First, should the rails extend all the way to the front and back of the drawers (covering the finger joints, or should the rails stop just short of both the front and back finger joints. Also, should the rails be some type of hardwood or can I make it out of the scrap plywood from the drawers? Problem I can see happening with plywood is that as I mount them to the drawer, pretty much any fastener will expand the wood making precision a bit tough. If plywood is an acceptable type of rail, should the face of the plywood be against the side of the drawer and the outside of the rail, or should the face be top and bottom of the rail (which will be what slides along the distance of the dado on the carcass)?

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Hardwood will serve you better for rails.  Rails on the carcass is more traditional than rails on the drawers but, I have seen it done.  If the rails are on the drawer box there is no way to hide the access opening to allow the rail into the carcass(???).  I am not sure how well this will play out.

I use oversized through and counterbore holes in a couple of places which allows adjustment.  Once adjusted I use well fit holes to add more screws.

drawers 4 006.jpg

Here's what I mean about the rail being able to be hidden if attached to the carcass.

drawers 4 007.jpg

The grooves on the drawer can be 'stopped' to hide the whole deal when the drawer is closed.

drawers 5 001.jpg

 

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If you aren't using solid wood to make the drawers then why not use metal slides ? They work better and easier to open. 

Now if you are building a piece of furniture with dovetailed solid wood drawers then going old school for the drawer rails is quite proper.

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Damn.. good info as always when I ask a question here. I used 3/4" ply to make the carcasses. I dado'd a 5/16" channel so that my face would have some over lap. Alternatively I guess I could cut some hardwood to 3/4" thick(the thickness of the dado channel) and then the width of the channel I would make on the drawers as well as the previously cut channels I put on the carcass

  this is my first attempt at a major project of any kind and the pains of learning are hitting me hard lol. I watched a video regarding finger joints by William Ng and I found it pretty informative. I swear in the video he says to use Baltic birch in his video for the drawer sides. I picked up an expensive sheet from HD and quickly started ripping it to size. My circular saw and table saw has a finishing blade for ripping finish panels and this stuff was splintering so bad that I was instantly defeated. I then tried taping the cut seam and the same outcome. After that, I considered scoring my cut line but my lazy side kicked in and I decided to try my tablesaw. Eureka, barely any tear out with my zero clearance insert. I then began setting up my dado blade and started making test cuts to dial in my finger joints to the proper sizing. I got that all set and started dadoing 3/8" negatives. Much to my surprise I was again defeated when the fingers started to flake and tear out. I thought "maybe I am going too fast" so I slowed down and cut very slow and at first I thought I had the answer solved and then even at slow speeds I started having the same terrible results. Looking back, I think I should have maybe used sanded pine and maybe faced the drawers with the Baltic birch. Attached is a picture of the tear out. This was cut with a brand new Freud dado stack. I was just thinking I will stick the bad sides inward lol

image.jpg

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Looks like there's no backer board!

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I have it up against a jig stop. Some of the cuts show missing meat between the plies. I was assuming it was the quality of the wood. 

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3 hours ago, wdwerker said:

If you aren't using solid wood to make the drawers then why not use metal slides ? They work better and easier to open. 

Now if you are building a piece of furniture with dovetailed solid wood drawers then going old school for the drawer rails is quite proper.

Mostly to save money. There will be a total of 12 drawers so I was thinking metal slides would rack up in cost 

 

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Look up epoxy coated euro slides. Can be count for $3 - 5 a pair. Of course if the drawers are made it's a moot point. You need 1/2" gap on both sides of the drawer for most metal slides.

If you were in Atlanta I would give you 12 pair, I don't use those much any more.

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I have only just started constructing them. Technically I may start over. The birch sheet was 1 of 3 needed and with all this tear out, I might do what I previously stated which is to get some cheaper sanded pine. In that event I guess I could get some drawer slides to make the drawers operate a little slicker and I am ok with piecing in the void made by the dado on the carcass. The drawer faces will cover 99.9% of the caracass edge and if I am good enough, should have roughly at most an 1/8" gap. I will try for smaller tolerances but still have to be realistic at the same time. 

6 hours ago, RichardA said:

Looks like there's no backer board!

I made a jig with the 3/16" dado cut out of it. I then made a spacer the thickness of my finger negatives and mounted it on the jig so that each cut would accept the new negative as I moved it over. If I used a backer board in front of the jig I would go through a lot of scrap. I will insert a picture of the jig so you can see what I am dealing with. 

image.jpg

image.jpg

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That is NOT Baltic Birch ply you've got there. BB ply & using a backer board should give you good results.

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Are you referring to the lower pics? In that case you would be spot on. That's just my crosscut sled with a pine back stop. Above pic, if that is not Baltic then Home Depot is fleecing the public. Are there other kinds of birch? Weaker birch? This came from a stack labeled "birch"

  the cross cut sled is made from radiata pine the backstop I believe is scrap from the birch

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Just now, sapling111276 said:

Are you referring to the lower pics? In that case you would be spot on. That's just my crosscut sled with a pine back stop. Above pic, if that is not Baltic then Home Depot is fleecing the public. Are there other kinds of birch? Weaker birch? This came from a stack labeled "birch"

  the cross cut sled is made from radiata pine the backstop I believe is scrap from the birch

I'm referring to the pics of the box joint cuts. Did they actually call it Baltic Birch, or just birch? That's just soft wood core ply with a birch veneer face.

BB ply has thinner plies of birch & the face veneer is probably at least 1/2 the thickness of the core layers. They seem to use better adhesive with BB as well; the layers don't separate as badly.

Even the B-C grade I usually buy only has tiny voids in the core layers. I've never seen a void bigger than about 1/16"

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Ok that is good to know. I am super new to woodworking (hence my forum name) and I would guess it's just birch and probably just what you were saying about the veneer. The way it's labeled is escaping me since I am trying to recall this from memory 

i would say these are roughly 3/16" plies

image.jpg

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This image is from a Google search where I looked for a side by side. The page this hit from pulled a 404 code. The seven ply vs twice that is also a clue.

 

IMG_2192.JPG

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Ok good to know. It's definitely birch veneered plywood, not Baltic birch. Man they charge a lot for veneered wood. Is this a fleecing tactic? Just mean that they are charging $46+ for a sheet of this veneered stuff. 

  I am kind of compiling the stuff I am learning from this forum and using this as a path forward. 

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Ok good to know. It's definitely birch veneered plywood, not Baltic birch. Man they charge a lot for veneered wood. Is this a fleecing tactic? Just mean that they are charging $46+ for a sheet of this veneered stuff. 

  I am kind of compiling the stuff I am learning from this forum and using this as a path forward. 

The more you go down the rabbit hole the more you'll realize $50 is about right for a sheet of domestic or Chinese plywood. Real Baltic Birch cost upwards of $80 per sheet, and the sheets are 5' x 5'. They cost an awful lot and have to be shipped from Russia. It's next to impossible to find.

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Oh good lord. I'm just trying to get a workbench together lol. I wonder if it would just make more sense to use solid pine 1x6 for the drawer sides 

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Oh good lord. I'm just trying to get a workbench together lol. I wonder if it would just make more sense to use solid pine 1x6 for the drawer sides 

You could. Here's what I use.

Go to Lowes. Buy a sheet of this stuff:

902e49e503e451fa4cd90657d979a9fc.jpg

It's their premium in-store brand - I think it's "Top Choice" or something like that. It's about $50 a sheet, and it's darn near Baltic Birch, aside from the thin face veneers.

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I concur. You might have two thou of veneer and a few voids you don't want but it is stable enough for a shop. 

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Do the math on the cost of 32 square feet of solid wood that doesn't need to be glued up to make any significant width and compare it to the cost of a decent sheet of plywood. You'll find that plywood isn't such a bad deal for use on shop furniture.

However finger jointed corners made of ply won't glue up near as strong as solid wood ones.

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Thank you guys. The info is greatly appreciated. To the average guy, stuff like this doesn't exist as a problem. 

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6 hours ago, Denette said:

You could. Here's what I use.

Go to Lowes. Buy a sheet of this stuff:

902e49e503e451fa4cd90657d979a9fc.jpg

It's their premium in-store brand - I think it's "Top Choice" or something like that. It's about $50 a sheet, and it's darn near Baltic Birch, aside from the thin face veneers.

A buddy of mine sticks to lowes for his wood selection. Just to be clear, you are saying to stick to this "top choice" as opposed to finding something a little less expensive while making a workbench? Weighing all options here 

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Yeah bud it sounds like you've got a lot of information and are applying some of it incorrectly.  That was definately not bb ply.  I made the same mistake in my early learning days. Good ply is spendy. You think 40 a sheet is rough.  Go price out sheets of American 3/4" pre finished walnut.  Looking at $160 a sheet by me. 

IMO, ply is fine for drawer boxes but don't handicap yourself by throwing too much new into one piece at one time.  Yes, you'll learn a lot but at the cost of a lot of frustration.  Finger joints are great,  just get your process and tools dialed in before jumping into 12 boxes. 

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OK, so I don't mind spending a little money to learn stuff so here is what I intend to do. I will try the lowes "top choice" plywood. I will only buy 1 sheet as to continue learning and not dumping money into 3 or more sheets as I hone my skills. I will post my progress. 

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A buddy of mine sticks to lowes for his wood selection. Just to be clear, you are saying to stick to this "top choice" as opposed to finding something a little less expensive while making a workbench? Weighing all options here 

Yes sir! You'll find that paying a little more for good materials will reward you in the form of less frustrating work.

The same principle applies to lumber - if you buy a construction-grade 2x4 instead of a piece of similar wood that is clear and properly dried (and more expensive), you'll find out by the end of the year why the 2x4 is less expensive. It'll twist and warp and everything else that gives woodworkers nightmares.

And it really applies to tools, as well, though not 100% of the time. Bargain tools often end up costing more in terms of setup and maintenance time.

I will add that plywood might not be the be-all and end-all of this project, though. A workbench tends to take a lot of abuse, so you may want to think of a replaceable work surface like a sheet of ⅛" hardboard. The thin face veneers in most plywood makes it less than ideal for a workbench - drop something and the first layer of ply can break. A screwed-on layer of cheap ⅛" hardboard (somewhere around $10 for a 4'x8' sheet) is durable and easily replaced. It's what I've got on the garage countertops I built.

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