Dresser: Plank Joining

Published Friday, November 8, 2019 by Bryan

After the wood had adjusted to the conditions of my shop, I began on the casework. Step one was to cut the ten-foot planks to length. I aimed just a little on the long side, because the tools I have to handle these large pieces aren't the finest. I needed to have room to re-square the edges afterward.

This cherry already had one surfaced side, so I was able to move directly to thicknessing next. I brought everything down to just 1/32 over an inch. That should leave me a full inch after finishing, which will be the sort of visual weight I'm looking for.

With the faces smooth and parallel, I moved to squaring the edges to them. I don't have a jointing fence for my planes, and I recently learned that the sole of my longer plane isn't flat, so this was a bit of a slow process, requiring frequent pauses to check progress. Luckily, my No. 4 is in good condition, so making small adjustments went well.

Once everything was flat and square, I could finally tackle the first bit of assembly work I mentioned in the previous post. I used dowels and glue to join pairs of planks together, finally arriving at four boards eighteen inches wide, the full depth of the dresser.

Glue-up took several days, because I only had enough clamps and space to do one board at a time. But once it was done, I could finally square the ends, and match the exact lengths of the sides to each other, and the top to the bottom. For this work, I first attempted to use my router to run a pattern bit along a square jig. Unfortunately, my clamping wasn't good enough, and the jig shifted.

This isn't the first trouble I've had with router jigs, so instead of trying again, I cleared off the bulk of the error with a saw, and turned to a more laborious, but safer solution. I quickly assembled a shooting board, sharpened my plane, and set to shaving the end grain.

Now I could finally get to the part I had practiced for...

Categories: Woodworking