So, I closed my last post with the observation that I hadn't cut dovetails in a while and that I should practice before beginning the case. I was right. Unfortunately, I ignored my own advice. I wanted the dovetails to be nice and tight and, even though I know better, decided that a little encouragement with a mallet was in order. It wasn't.
The split wasn't clean, so I had to start over. Of course, this was the last corner and I wasn't about to switch to pins first in the middle of a project, so my tool chest will now be 22" wide. Actually, I think it will be better anyway, as it will fit on a 2' wide shelf unit I have. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
With just a couple exceptions on the first corner, the dovetails did come out tight, though not without an inordinate expenditure of time. Conveniently, Shannon Rogers of The Renaissance Woodworker just did a nice podcast about fixing gaps in dovetails.
The only way I can get them real tight is to leave the pins very slightly proud and trim them to fit, which takes time. As my sawing improves I cut closer and closer to the line, which makes things go faster. I'm also very slow in chiseling out the waste so I don't disturb the knife wall. I'm encouraged that speed is my challenge, which isn't a high priority anyway. For the most part, it is just a matter of practice.
The old chest had dados on the sides of the drawers and runners fastened with brads to the sides of the chest.
Seasonal wood movement loosened the brads so that the runners sagged or came off. Someone had made replacements for several of them and put staples in others to hold them. Not a good arrangement.
I want to do my drawers this way, but there obviously has to be a better method for attaching the runners. Screws in slots might well be OK, but I'm opting for belt and suspenders. Unless one of you has a better idea, I'm going to create 1/16" stopped dados for the runners, glue one end and let the side move on screws in slots in the middle and on the other end of the runner. Stopped dados take time, but I don't think ones this shallow will be too bad. Six drawers, twelve dados. Stay tuned.