Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Let Go

We have just entered week 13.  Glue ups are happening.  Some with excitement, others with lots of trepidation.  I dragged my feet towards gluing up my cabinet.  I would reach for other things to work on and when I had questions about my more urgent pieces, Jim Budlong was the first to tell me to put it aside and get my cabinet ready instead.  I tried again with Laura a few days later and she told me the exact same thing.  "You're just like Jim!", I wailed.  But now my cabinet is glued up and I'm able to move on to those other things.

One of those things is a small drawer box that
fits inside the cabinet.  This school is well known for its Krenov cabinets but what makes them so special is how the drawer slides in and out of the drawer pocket.  Of course, there's no rattle, but even better is that when one pulls the drawer open, it slides smoothly, and before it's open all the way, there's a slight pull that keeps the drawer from slipping out completely.  That's called "let go".  To get that clean feeling, one has to put in at least 2 1/2 days of very detailed least, that's how long it took me.  And then it took about 2 1/2 minutes for me to blow the box apart....not enough glue.  All that precision work gone. Poof!

After drowning my sorrows with a friend that evening, I dragged myself in the next morning, poured a ton of glue into the joints of my drawer box, clamped it up, and went home....all before noon.  And I didn't come back. That was my first time taking any time off and that's when my epic fail turned into one of those "aha" moments.

Getting some unscheduled rest snapped me out of whatever funk I had been in the past few weeks. After spending weeks on the smallest of details, feeling like I was getting nowhere, doing the work I was doing was becoming drudgery.  And with that feeling, I was quickly getting to the point of not caring.  Too tired, too discouraged.

Now?  Game is back on.  Along with those 8 hour days, 6 days a week, is rest.  Lots of it. Play too.  If I'm going to do serious work, I can't take it too seriously.


  1. Thats interesting! whats the benefit of a whole drawer box instead of just splining in panels to the case sides? and hows that little box put together? Could you go into more details?

    Dont worry about goofing up, we all do it :). Grooves on the wrong side, gluing something in upside down...

  2. Thanks for the questions Nick. Because the cabinet has a concave door, the sides are angled outward. The idea is that this more visually appealing. It also raises the drawers off the bottom of the cabinet so they don't scrape the bottom. The box allows one to have "parallel" sides for the drawers. To allow for "let go", I still need the sides of the box to open slightly bigger in the back. That's where all the precision work came in. The sides of the box are triangular wedges and I have to plane the middle partition to get the perfect "let go" feel for both drawers. At this point, the box is glued up but the partition is not. The partition is eventually glued in using splines. It was such a tight fit dry that when I added glue, it expanded, and along with all the stress I put on the box going in and out with the partition, the joints popped open. We do a lot of the case work joinery using dowels. It's a very easy and clean system. That's how the box is joined. Hopefully I've explained this well. I try not to get too detailed in my blog since I don't want to bore family and friends but I welcome your questions.