Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The mania of perfection -inset pulls, carved fronts and a fear of commitment...

It's not often that I get so obsessed about something.  I've been screwing around with "the perfect" drawer front for a dresser I've been working on, not able to decide what I want to carve on the drawer fronts. Spending some time in Hawaii recently has my head filled with visions of tribal artwork, and I've been playing around with designs for weeks. Ugh, I've always regarded a carving design like marriage - once you commit, you're committed, right? 

So I've been having appropriate fear of commitment feelings with these drawer fronts. 

I'm not a huge fan of hardware in drawer fronts - I feel like knobs or pulls distract from the piece. Or - at least - they distract me. I decided to play around with an inset pull, to see if I liked the effect on these drawer fronts. 

Inset pulls utilize the face of the drawer to create a recess, eliminating the need for a knob. I grabbed a piece of scrap - to test a idea I've had rolling around in my head. 

I drew a few lines on the scrap, the same size was the actual drawer face,  

and then went to the mortiser. I want this inset pull to be diamond-shaped, so I rotated the 3/4" mortising bit

to 45 degrees. 

All lined up -

and drilled. 

You need two different router bits to complete the pull - a cove bit for the back of the pull,

which makes this cut. 

And a small roundover for the front. 

 Which gives you this result. 

 I've rounded over the top edges of the diamond, but the bearing on the router bit doesn't really allow the bit to get too close to the corners. Still - I could envision what the drawer face was going to look like - so I decided to try again, this time with an actual piece of oak, not scrap.

I cut a small piece,. 

and went through the same process.

Practice really does make perfect.

Rounded over and waiting to the corners to be squared by hand.

Yup, that's pretty much what I could see in my head. I wonder if other woodworkers have visions of things before they actually make them. 

Finally - my goal is to carve a small area around those inset pulls - just a simple set of triangles, sort of randomly placed. My mind kept pulling me back to some simple tribal design, almost as if these triangles were carved with a simple pocketknife, a little crude and imperfect.

I cut some small triangles out of masonite, and started playing with their placement. 

Once I was satisfied with the layout, I drew directly on the wood. 

The carving has commenced! 

Next time I write about this, I hope to be able to show some pictures of the finished piece. I'm ready to move onto the next project!

1 comment:

Vegas Lupe said...

To your readers I can tell that so far, from what I have seen of the project, the drawer fronts look beautiful. I look forward to a future blog post about the finished product.

I love your perfectionism. Like you, I also have this trait. However, this quality is both a blessing and a curse. Woodworking is teaching me to forgive myself. If things don't turn exactly as I envisioned, that's cool. They are close enough... (Although I might end up putting a few dollars in the jar).

It is okay to make a commitment. Your drawer fronts are perfect.