Buffet Hutch – Part five – Drawers

Is anybody still reading this?  I haven’t got any comments since the first post, so I don’t really know.  Hopefully a few of you will throw me a cookie!

This is a continuation of the posts:

Buffet Hutch – Part one – Drawing up the plans
Part two – Same style different finish
Part three – The buffet face frame
Part four – The buffet sides and web frames

It’s time to work on the drawers, which will fit into the spaces created by the face frame.  I recommend not to cut your parts to any type of exact measurements until you have the face frame on, then you can measure the area you have to work with.  The drawers need to fit with about 3/32″ between the frame and the drawer, to allow the drawer to slide in and out and to allow for any wood movement. If you are in a dry environment in the winter and a humid one in the summer, such as I am, you may wish to leave just a bit more or less depending on the time of year you build your furniture.
So, with the 3/32″ on each side of the drawer, you make your drawer front width 3/16″ less than the size of the opening. The same principle is applied to the height of the drawer.
I am using an applied face for these drawers.  That means I first make a box for the drawer and then add a face to the front of it.  The applied face covers the box joints which join together the drawer sides to the box front., so remember to leave room for the extra width of the drawer face when you are determining the length of your drawers. My box joints are made on the table saw with a dado blade and are 1/2″ wide and just over 1/2″ deep.  You can see how I do box joints here where I used them for plywood boxes.
The bottom is 1/4″ pine plywood which fits into a groove in the front and side pieces.  The back fits into a dado cut into the sides, 1/2″ from the back, and sits on top of the drawer bottom.
The drawers are sanded to make the fingers of the box joints smooth, and a few coats of shellac are painted on.  The face will be added later.

Buffet Hutch – Part four- The buffet sides and web frames

This is a continuation of the posts:

Buffet Hutch – Part one – Drawing up the plans
Part two – Same style different finish
Part three – The buffet face frame

Now that we have the face frame, we need the rest of the buffet base to add it on to.
There are two sides and a back and bottom, plus two web frames.

Web frames are horizontal dividers that hold the drawers.  You will regularly see web frames in an older style dresser or chest-of-drawers. Newer furniture often uses either a plywood divider or just side rails for the drawers to sit on. The frame is just that, it’s shaped like a frame, not solid and allows the drawers to sit on something.  It also gives rigidity to the piece and allows for wood movement.  I am going to put a web frame at the top to hold the top on and also one below the drawers. Each web frame is 5 pieces I have used 3/4″ thick pine.  The front, rear and side rails are all 2″ wide, the middle rail is 3 1/2″ wide.  Each end of the side and middle rails has a tongue that fits into a groove in the front and back rails. A few photos might help here.

Web frame being glued up: 

Here you can see the tongue and groove that holds the frame together:

These frames will fit into the sides, they won’t be nailed there.  Nailing through the sides would not only look terrible, it would not give any strength to the piece.  The web frames will fit into a groove (dado) cut into the sides to hold them in place.

Now on to with the sides, which I have made out of pine-veneered particle core.  You could also use pine-veneered plywood, which I might use next time.  The plywood is lighter, but also has the tendency to warp, and I couldn’t find a good supply of it locally.

As I said earlier, the sides are dadoed to let the frames sit into them.  The dadoes are at the proper height to allow the face frame and web frame to line up so that the drawer can slide in and sit on it.  The bottom of the face frame drawer opening must hit the top of the web frame (this is why you don’t make up all your parts first and why you need to be accurate to 1/32″).

  Here you can see where the web frame inside meets the face frame:

So I will need a 3/4″ wide groove at the top and then another one approx. 7″ down from the top to fit the two web frames into.

Also I am putting in a bottom of pine PC, so I need a dado to hold that as well.  My pine PC is 11/16″ thick, so that dado is equally 11/16″ to hold the bottom piece.

A groove is needed down the back edge for the ply back, which is 1/4″ thick.  So this is what the right side piece will look like, don’t forget that the left side will be a mirror image and not the same.  (Immediately to the right of this diagram is a side view image.)

For the inside of my buffet I used a few coats of shellac and put the coats on before I glued the pieces together.  This makes things go together much easier, because it’s hard to get into corners when it’s all glued together.  In woodworking you really do have to think a few steps ahead.

We can then glue up the base with the two sides, two web frames and bottom piece.  I leave the back off for now so that I can put the shelf inside first. Unfortunately I didn’t take photos of this process, but I’ll try and create something basic using the Paint program that I’ve been using for these crude sketches.  As I said earlier, I draw  most of my creations by hand.

Note: this is not to scale, and poorly done, but I hope it gives some idea of what you will have this far.

An important note.  My face frame clips over the sides, as I’ve explained earlier.  So it doesn’t just butt up to the side edges, it goes over them. This means the web frames and bottom piece have to sit back 3/8″ from the side edges so that the web frames will butt up to them.  I hope this isn’t too confusing.  Here comes another sketch…

 Ok, enough for today.  Next we will work on the drawers and doors.  Please feel free to ask questions, I will reply below the messages.

Continue on to:  Part five – Drawers

Buffet Hutch – Part three- The buffet face frame

This is a continuation of the posts:

Buffet Hutch – Part one – Drawing up the plans
Part two – Same style different finish

Before I start, I should explain why there are two Buffet Hutches.  In woodworking, a lot of time is spent in setting up tools to the precise measurements needed for each particular piece of wood needed.  Table saw blades are set to height and their fences are set for the width of parts needed.  Routers need to have different bits and those have to be set to height.  When in a table, the router often needs a fence to work with it, and it too needs to be precisely set.  There are other tools like this as well, and this all the setting up takes time.  Each piece may need a different setup at the saw or on the router table.  So… I try and make two or three of a project so that the setups can be used for more parts at the same time. This is similar to the advantages of assembly line work, although I am not making hundreds or thousands of things.  So, I made the parts for two Buffet Hutches, one which I painted and the other I stained.

Here’s the basic sketch.  The sizes are not exact.  I work to 1/32″ so more precise figures will come about after some of the parts are made.  I am not including here all the measurements for the pieces as I think that is more than anyone wants (plus it might make a good book chapter some day)

Once you have the basic sketch you need to break down into parts. I am starting with the base, the buffet part.

What I do is make a cutting list.  This is a list of all the parts needed for a project.  It includes the name of the part, the quantity, the type of wood and the width, length and thickness of the wood.  It also describes what machining needs to be done to the part.

Starting with the buffet, with the drawers and doors not included there are 15 different parts.  To further break it down, there are two sides, a bottom, a shelf, a base molding, two interior web frames (that the drawers sit between), and a face frame (the area that the drawers and doors sit in).

I plane up my parts to correct thickness but not to precise widths and lengths at the start, depending on the piece in question.  All the face frame and door parts that are 2″ wide will be made and cut to width at once, but not to their lengths.  I always make more than I need because often you will either make a mistake (that rarely happens to me!) or you find a knot or split or defect in the wood.

Let’s start with the face frame, which is 5 parts:

Tenon and mortise drawing:

 The top and middle horizontal pieces need tenons on both of their ends, as do the two lower middle vertical pieces. When figuring out the lengths of these pieces you need to remember to add the length of the tenons on each end.  I make the tenons on the table saw using a dado blade but first I make the mortises that they will go into using the router and the appropriate bit.  For these mortises I used a 3/8″ router bit. The tenon then can be made precisely to size to fit the mortise hole. It is not difficult to shave a bit off the tenon if it is too thick, it’s much harder to make the mortise wider. (The bottom center tenon will fit into the bottom of the buffet, so that mortise will be make later). I also get an oval hole with the router bit so I just shave off the corners of the tenon with a sharp chisel.

In college we made our face frames to fit over the sides of the carcase (base piece).  A dado is run down the back of the face frame vertical pieces in a way that they fit precisely over the width of the sides.  This makes an easier way to glue and fit your pieces but it is extra work and your measurements must be exact or else the piece won’t fit on.  Also, you must take this into account when figuring out your measurements, because the side pieces of the carcase will extend into the face frame. Being good at, and enjoy mathematics certainly helps the whole process.  I love math!

Here’s the face frame from the back:

I really don’t think I took many photos of the build, I’ll have to go and search my files for some before the next post.

*New pics added to show tenons and mortises*

Stick with me please…

Continue on to:  Part four – The buffet sides and web frames

Buffet Hutch – Part two- Same style different finish

This is a continuation of the post:    

Just in case anyone prefers the stained look as opposed to the painted look, here’s the hutch done in stained (American Colonial by Flecto Varathane)l pine (please forgive me for the background, it’s in my shop and the walls aren’t finished yet)


Okay, tomorrow I will get back to the drawing to get the parts for the buffet figured out.

Buffet Hutch – Part one- Drawing up the plans

I have rough pine and I am going to make a buffet hutch.
This was my inspiration for the piece that I wanted to make. I found this photo in a book about Country things.  I really loved the bottom section (what I will call the buffet) but while I loved the backboard on the top (hutch), I didn’t like the curved sides of it and the unfinished looking top edge.

Inspiration photo from the book “Glorious Country” (Lorenz Books):

So, to make the design, I got out a ruler to measure the original photo, in order to get the correct dimensions for the buffet doors and drawers, and the height of the whole piece.  I prefer using a pencil and paper, and not the computer. First I decided on 2″ wide stiles and rails for the whole frame of the buffet, around the drawers and doors, as well as the door frame parts.

From there, I measured the photo to see the how wide the frame pieces were there.  The door frames in the photo measure out to 1/4″, that means every 1/4″ in the photo is 2″ in actual (real) size.  So my scale is 1/4″ = 2″, which means 1/8″ = 1″.  From there on I measured all the parts on the photo (the doors, drawers, whole height, width, etc.) to get the sizes of the other parts.

I didn’t have a side view photo, so I just went with sizes that seemed to match with the front.  The sides are basically plain, so I just needed to get a depth of the buffet that would be appropriate.

Here’s the lecturing part:

There is a way to make things, and a way to make things that will last.  This piece is designed to last with important facts taken into account.

Wood moves.

Wood.    Moves.

Depending on the season and climate, wood can and does change size.  Wood in a dry environment shrinks and in a humid environment expands. This change takes place widthwise, not in the length of a piece of wood, and is due to the internal structure of wood.   Wood pieces that are placed side by side against each other and attached to something or pieces that are trapped in a frame will crack or warp. Table tops made of solid wood cannot simply be screwed down.

Did I mention that wood moves?

Also please note that lumber is not made for furniture.  2 x 4s are not kiln dried to the water content that wood for furniture is. Have you ever sat a 2 x 4 in your house for a few days?  It usually will end up looking like a hockey stick.  Lumber is not made for furniture.

Wood has end grain that doesn’t accept screws or nails well.  End grain is weak.
Wood can be joined in many ways.  I don’t like butt joints. They usually involve end grain to long grain.  Here is a butt joint: 

You can see, if you nail the two pieces together, you will be nailing into the end grain of the piece on the right and there will be no strength there. Here is another butt joint that won’t last if it’s just nailed and glued:

Butt joints are okay for making small crafts, frames, and for places where there is no stress on a piece, or it is just there for decoration.  Some people use dowels to reinforce the joint, many now use pocket screws. People use these methods either because they don’t know the proper ways or because it’s quick and easy.  It just doesn’t make good furniture.
Joinery has to be decided so that it takes into account wood movement as well as proper practices that will result in stable, long lasting furniture.
My buffet will have mortise and tenon joinery on the frames. Here’s a sample of one:

The tenon comes from the horizontal piece and fits into a matching mortise (hole) in the vertical piece.  It is glued in place and will last a long, long time.

Okay back to the design…

The buffet part will have two drawers, two doors and an interior shelf.  It will be solid pine except for the sides and bottom which are pine veneered particle board (I need something stable for the buffet and this type of board does not move with the seasons) and the back which is pine veneered plywood.

The top hutch part will have two fixed shelves, shiplapped back boards and a top with cove molding.

I have decided to show the finished project and then will make some blogs to explain the making of it. i didn’t think it would take so much blogging but after writing all the above I realize this is going to take a few posts.

Here’s the finished buffet hutch that I made:


I really hope that most of you will stick with me to see the steps of how I designed, made and painted this.

Continue on to:  Part two – Same style difference finish

I’m linking up to the Hutch Party at Jennifer Rizzo
and Show and Tell at Blue Cricket Design 
and Funky Junk Interiors

Adirondack Chair

I decided to make my husband an Adirondack Chair for Christmas.  I had a purchased plan, plus 3 or 4 others from magazines and the internet.  From my online research, many people said the “typical” Adirondack chair, or Muskoka chair, as it’s known as around here, was hard to get out of.  They do sit quite low to the ground with a steep back slant to the seat.  Since I wanted my husband to be able to get back out of the chair (for obvious reasons), I decided on the “improved design” Norm Abram Adirondack Chair in Popular Woodworking Magazine, and also at their website.

The article, with parts list and step-by step directions used to be available free online, but it is now available as a download:  Popular Woodworking: Norm Abrams Adirondack Chair

 I used rough pine for the chair, which meant I needed to pick out pieces without loose knots, and with areas that looked clear as possible for the parts I had to make, and then joint and plane them to size. The thickness of all the parts is 3/4″, the legs, front crosspiece and seat slats are rectangular, with no need to make fancy cuts on.  The tops of the back slats, the arms, arm brackets, side members and rear crosspieces need to be cut to shape.  I used my jigsaw but a bandsaw would be easier (I don’t have one yet).

Jigsaw cutting the side member:
All the pieces laid out:
Closer photo of just the back slats:
The chair is put together with screws as well as some carriage bolts.  For the screws I plug them afterward, so each place a screw goes needs a hole for the screw as well as a larger hole for the plug.
**This “how-to” will be a blog post in the near future**
These next two photos show the arm with it’s three large holes and the front crosspiece, lower rear crosspiece and leg with two large holes (on each side), waiting for the plugs to go in:
Now you can see the upper rear crosspiece is bolted on and the holes are all plugged in the arms, legs and front crosspiece:

Side view:
While the chair was at this stage I painted it with 3 coats of exterior house paint.  After making similar child size chairs ( here ) I realized it would be much easier to paint the slats before they were attached to the chair. It’s hard to get the paint in between the slats, so the chair base was painted and just the backs and sides of the back slats and seat slats.  I couldn’t paint the fronts yet because the screws still had to be attached and plugged.
All the base painted and back slats (with just their backs and sides painted) attached:
Two views of the chair all painted:
Since my husband is a Montreal Canadiens fan, I decided to put the team logo on the chair.  I found it online and printed it on my printer to the size I needed.  Then I cut it out and traced around the parts to transfer it to the chair. I used acrylic craft paints for the white and blue, and some painters tape to keep the lines straight.
Here it is:

This is a very comfortable chair and he was happy to get it as his present!
Update:  Here’s the post on finally finishing my chair!

Tea-light candle holder

I decided to make my friend a tea-light holder out of worn barn wood for Christmas.  She has a beautiful country farm house and this will fit in with her decor.
I found a piece of wood in my shop about 3 3/4″ wide and an inch thick.  I cut a piece about 16″ long.
Then I cut two pieces about 1″ wide from the same board for “feet.”
I gathered up my tea-lights and traced their circular base centered on the wood so that I could fit 5 candles along the width.
The circles were cut out with my little trim router, to a depth of about 1/2 that of the metal base of the candle. (You could use a drill press with a forstner bit, but I didn’t have the right size for that, so “I did it my way!”)
I used my table saw to cut out notches for the feet. I ran it by a few times until it was the correct width.
(You could use a dado blade, but I was too lazy to set it up, so “I did it my way!”)
I glued in the feet and gave the whole thing a touch-up sanding only since I want this to remain rustic looking.
I hope she likes it!

Plywood storage boxes

Everyone can use some more storage containers!  I made these for my husband, so he could store things in the garage and just grab the box he needed when working on something.

The boxes are made of  1/2″ plywood, and not the good smooth stuff.  There are knots and grooves, etc. but I didn’t think that mattered for this purpose. These measure 12″ x 16″  when finished, but of course they could be made in any size. The end pieces are 12″ x 6″ deep and the side pieces are 16″ x 6″ deep.  The bottom is 1/4″ plywood and is about 11 1/2″ x 15 1/2″ and fits into a groove in the sides and ends.
I joined them with glued box joints.  Each “finger” is 1/2″ wide and 1/2″ deep.  I used a dado blade on the tablesaw and a homemade box-joint jig.  I won’t go into how to make one now, there are plans on the internet, although maybe in the future I’ll do my own tutorial on that. The wood piece is clamped to the jig and then the whole jig slides over the saw blade to cut one space at a time.  The wood piece is then unclamped, moved over, and run across the blade again.  I always use a scrap piece behind the good piece, otherwise there is usually tearout, especially on something like plywood. What is important is that each piece fits into the other, not too tightly that you have to hammer it together, but not too loosely so that it would fall apart without the glue.  I always practice on scrap wood until I can get a good fit.
For the ends of the boxes I decided to cut out handle holes.  They are centered on the end piece and down about 1″ from the top and make about a 4″ wide total hole. This is done on the drill press with a hole cutter.  The one I used was 1 1/4″ diameter, here it is ready to cut a hole in one end of the handle.  The end piece is clamped to the drill press table with a piece of scrap wood underneath.
Here it is started:
After the one hole is cut, just move over and cut the other one. Here’s the two holes cut out.  After that you run your jigsaw between them on the top and bottom connecting lines.
There is a 1/4″ groove run across the bottom of all the pieces, up 1/2″ from the bottom, that will hold in the bottom 1/4″ plywood. That I did on the router table using a 1/4″ straight bit.  I made three boxes at the same time, so there are 6 sides and 6 ends and 3 bottoms.   I sanded and then put a couple coats of shellac on the insides of all the 15 pieces (I didn’t shellac the part below the groove, since that will be on the outside of the box and therefore painted the same colour as the box.

The boxes are then glued up and tightly clamped for a couple hours.  I used 8 clamps.  As woodworkers say, one can never have too many clamps!
  I painted the outside of each of the boxes a different colour.

These boxes are very sturdy and I’m sure will come in handy.  I should have made myself some!

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