Final planing on assembled big drawer

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  • #731633
    Roberto Fischer
    Participant

    I am making 5 drawers for a pantry (built into an existing closet under stairs) and they are about 60x60cm (2x2ft) with varying heights, the largest one being 35cm (>1ft). It all goes fine until I’ve glued and then need to do the final fitting and some dovetail trimming.

    I can’t figure out how to properly secure the drawer in place for planing. None of them fit in the vise positioned along the bench, only perpendicularly, and because the bottom is enclosed on all sides, I can’t remove it. I end up with the far end totally unsupported and the side opposite to the vise also fairly unsupported.

    Any ideas?

    #731637
    deanbecker
    Participant

    Clamp it to the bench. Put a stop on the bench and set your plane real shallow

    #731640
    Roberto Fischer
    Participant

    I thought of that but couldn’t figure out how I’d plane so high, almost my height. I guess I’d have to step on a stool?

    #731643
    Barry B
    Participant

    hi Roberto

    put a box (chair, stack of wood…..whatever works) under it while you clamp it in the vise, perpendicular to the bench

    regards

    Barry

    #731678
    Colin Scowen
    Participant

    I have always found that some L Shape parts that you can clamp in the vise are very useful. For this particular situation, you could clamp an L piece in your vise. Screw together a step piece from some scrap, and put it in front of the bench. Grab another piece of scrap to use as a brace for the far end. Like in the picture attached. If you box clever with the step piece dimensions, you can build just one, and rotate it when you want to switch from planing the long sides to planing the short sides. You can double stick some old rag, or cork or anything else to the l piece, brace and step to keep them from damaging your drawers. If you want to have some support in the middle of the drawer (not quite sure why you would if you are only working on the joints) take two pieces of wood, both of which would be smaller than the gap you want to support, and screw them together to match the gap you want to support.

    Colin, Czech Rep.

    #731694
    Benoît Van Noten
    Participant

    You might try this (the drawer/carcass has no bottom to make it understandable):

    drawer-clamping
    If the opening of the vise does not allow clamping of the drawer, use two supporting boards and clamp the drawer to them.

    #731985
    Roberto Fischer
    Participant

    Good suggestions, thank you all.

    This last one, I’ve seen before. How could I have forgotten? That will be the first one I’ll try. Not having the vise flush with the apron is a disadvantage in this case, although an advantage in others, but I should be able to remedy with a piece as thick as my jaw liner as a shim.

    Thanks again.

    #731986
    Roberto Fischer
    Participant

    (not that I could use a vise in this case, but it would be helpful for smaller drawers I’ve done before)

    #732002
    Ed
    Participant

    That method works even if the vise isn’t flush. Not a problem. The drawer is just held between the two jaws and the clamped piece acts just as in the drawing. An alternative is to use a bucket, stool, or other improvised jack instead of the wooden clamped pieces. This is helpful when there is a bottom and in some other cases.

    #732054
    Benoît Van Noten
    Participant

    The supporting board doesn’t need to traverse. So it is still usable with a bottom. Just put the open side of the drawer facing the workbench.

    #732059
    Ed
    Participant

    “Just put the open side of the drawer facing the workbench.”

    That definitely works. If the grain is against you, you won’t be able to flip around, so just pull the plane instead or develop your feel for planing with your off hand. I’m really, really glad I’ve been developing the ability to plane with either hand! I’m a lefty. Some tools, especially old molding planes, have made me develop my right hand. It feels odd at first, but it is so very much worth it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to swing a hammer with my right hand, but a lot of other stuff works just fine. Anyway, if there is a bottom and you do and you use Mr. Van Noten’s excellent advise, just be ready to come at your far side with a pull, your off hand, or cross hip.

    #732309
    Edmund
    Participant

    I thought of that but couldn’t figure out how I’d plane so high, almost my height. I guess I’d have to step on a stool?

    Standing on a stool is sometimes required…see attached pic

    But for something that isn’t 6 feet tall, I agree with the above suggestion of just putting some support underneath it so that it’s at a comfortable height, and then having it abut against your workbench (or other immovable object), and you should be able to plane comfortably

    #732652
    Benoît Van Noten
    Participant

    To Edmund
    I once was standing on a deck while the the top of a door to be planed was resting on the ground a few feet below (to plane the bottom of the door).

    You might have noted that Paul Sellers does not necessarily works vertically or horizontally.
    See for example how he planes the ends of the work-top and aprons of the workbench. (see introducing picture of the video “workbench: episode 1” [the solid wood one])

    You could also have been standing/kneeling down on your bench.

    See 2nd picture in “will you apprentice with me?” dated 4 August 2015; although I would not have done this for that box.
    And John’s piece doesn’t seem to be clamped except maybe with his foot and the piece against the wall. (it probably works better with a very sharp plane).

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