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    Build a Small Shelf with Drawer: Part 4

    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    The case is glued up and the back slats are milled and cut to size. Now’s the time to finish up this little piece. Start by making and fitting the drawer. I hand-cut dovetails for the front, and used a dado-rabbet joint at the back. But you can use any joinery you want. Then work on the small pull, made from the same material (black locust) as the back slats. I laminated a couple slat offcuts to get the thickness I needed.

    How to Make

    Cut the tongue

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    The pull is mortised into the drawer front. After squaring up the laminated blank, cut a tongue on one edge.

    Shape the pull

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    Now draw the profile of the pull on the blank. I used the cap of a lubricant can, which seemed the right size and shape. You can draw any profile you like.

    Glue in the pull

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    Cut out the pull at the bandsaw. You could also use a scroll saw or a coping saw.

    Make way for nails

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    To smooth this small piece, it’s easier to take the work to the sandpaper. Tape the paper to a flat surface and rub the pull on it to smooth all the surfaces, working up through the grits (I started with 150 and finished with 220).

    Finish up

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    Once the pull has been smoothed, use a chisel to carefully trim the tongue so there’s a small, 1/16-in. shoulder on each end.Then lay out the pull’s mortise on the drawer front. Use a marking gauge to define the outer edge of the mortise, then drill out the waste. Finish with a narrow chisel. The knifed lines will help prevent tearout as you chisel away the waste. (The blue tape on the drill bit serves as a depth stop.)

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    Now glue in the pull and clamp it in place.

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    Once the drawer is glued up and fitted, you’re ready for the final details and finish. The back slats are nailed in place. I used brass-plated linoleum nails (Lowes), just because they seemed the right size. But because the black locust is brittle, and I’d be nailing near the ends, I predrilled the slats for the nails.

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    After doing some final sanding and cleanup, apply the finish. I used wipe-on poly. Be sure to finish the back slats before nailing them in place. Otherwise you may see unfinished areas as the slats move with changes in humidity.

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    Nail in the back slats once they're finished. I was afraid of dinging the cabinet with the hammer, so I used a nailset for the final blows and to sink the heads just a bit.

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    The final touch is a coat of paste wax.

    Now you’re ready to move on to bigger cabinetry. Consider this a dress rehearsal. Have fun in the shop.