Order of Operations
Cutting Dado Joints
on the Table Saw
Cutting Grooves for
and Completing Back
Drawer Bottom and
Other Finishing Touches
Using Metal Drawer Slides
Stronger is Better
Author: Hendrik Varju
Hendrik Varju / Passion for Wood / August 2014
10 hours, 28 minutes on 5 DVDs
Price: Cdn. $94.95 + applicable taxes
+ shipping and handling
Ontario residents pay 13% hst. Canadian residents outside of Ontario pay hst at their own province’s rate, or 5% gst if in a non-participating province. Residents outside of Canada pay no tax.
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2014 rounded out Hendrik’s instructional DVD offerings to a total of fourteen titles, releasing two new productions. “Making Frame and Panel Doors” is the second DVD newly released in 2014, but let us first hear about the long awaited production: “Making Drawers”.
Previous videos have covered machinery and tool skills, wood science, joinery methods, finishing and more. However, this is the first time Hendrik has tackled his drawer building and installation methods in a video production. “Making Drawers” covers his favourite methods for building and installing drawers, with the footage spread over 10 1/2 hours on 5 disks. As is Hendrik’s usual style, this DVD set is a detailed step-by-step course – not the “usual” DVD fare that may have disappointed you in the past.
The DVD starts by reviewing some of the more common types of drawers Hendrik makes, including using false fronts vs. “true fronts”, wooden runners vs. metal runners and web frames vs. centre-hung drawer styles. He discusses when he uses each method and why. As with anything in woodworking, there are many possible methods, but often only a small handful of good ones.
Chapter 2 covers in greater detail the one type of drawer Hendrik builds most often: a centre-hung true front drawer with wooden runners. He draws a sketch showing all of the details, including joinery methods, and writes up a cutting list so that you understand the plan of attack. Chapter 3, called “Order of Operations”, outlines in even greater detail the step-by-step approach to building such a drawer. Then five more chapters take you through the building of a drawer, including dowel-reinforced rabbet and dado joinery, cutting grooves for the drawer bottom and cutting grooves for the wooden runners. Every detail is covered step by step and in real time, with painstaking precision dominating at every turn.
After all drawer parts have been made and refined, Hendrik takes you through the glue-up, which is wonderful to see. He first takes you through the glue-up without glue so that you understand every step that is going to occur and why. During the actual glue-up, things move very quickly, so seeing a dry run is more conducive to learning what needs to be done. Then after explaining everything, Hendrik takes on the real glue-up, shown in real time so you understand how to tackle such a job within a limited time. Seeing a professional complete a glue-up right in front of you is always such an amazing learning experience. Too many instructional DVDs fake these sorts of steps, using multiple cuts and showing only parts of the process. Hendrik does it in one take so that nothing is left out from the reality of the situation. He doesn’t leave out any detail.
After the drawer glue-up, Hendrik then moves on to pinning the rabbet joints with dowels, including an ingenious method he came up with years ago to refine the shape and size of commercially purchased dowel rod. Unfortunately, commercial dowel rod is never the proper size and is almost always oval instead of round. So Hendrik has to refine the dowel rod further to prevent splitting of the drawer sides as they are pounded into the dowel holes.
As in all of Hendrik’s DVDs, this production is full of techniques he has been using and perfecting for nearly two decades. There is always a wonderful mix of theory, with sketches and full explanations, married with real-time demonstrations you can duplicate in your own workshop. This is the beauty of these multiple disk courses, which give you an absolutely enormous level of detail, but in a “live demonstration” format just not possible in a woodworking book or magazine article.
The most important aspect of this production, as with all the others, is Hendrik’s full demonstrations done in real time. He doesn’t assume prior knowledge, so even a beginner will be able to follow along the journey. Yet he has a knack for covering the basics while simultaneously delving into super fine points an amateur is unlikely to even consider for many years. The incredibly valuable lesson in all this is that Hendrik never just touches on the basics, but goes deeper, giving you a level of understanding of how to dial in accuracy on that last one one-thousandth of an inch. In fine furniture work, accuracy and detail is everything.
Hendrik is known for his extremely long and detailed “bonus footage” sections in his instructional DVD courses and this DVD is no exception. The bonus footage is called “Fitting and Installing Drawers”. It is one thing to build a drawer, but quite another to install it with great precision. Hendrik shows you how to make the wooden runners with a precise fit to both the drawer grooves and the drawer pocket. Then he shows you how to install the runners in the case and troubleshoot the action so that the drawer runs true and smooth. He also shows you how shop-made drawer stops work to stop the drawer at the perfect placement. This is how you achieve a drawer with a piston-like fit. It is a true art form.
In a second bonus footage chapter, Hendrik takes you through the installation of a drawer using side mounted full extension metal drawer slides. While he prefers to use wooden runners on finer pieces, Hendrik explains when metal runners are acceptable or even preferred and he shows you how to install them precisely as well.
The bonus footage on this DVD runs for almost 3 hours in total, which is about 3 times longer than the average woodworking DVD. And that’s just the bonus footage! Remember that Hendrik’s productions are not just “entertainment” like a woodworking television show. These are lengthy step-by-step woodworking courses in a DVD format. Like it says on the front cover of these productions, these are “Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box”TM. In short, “Making Drawers” is the most complete DVD course of its kind on this subject matter. You’ll appreciate the depth of the information and the subtle details fleshed out at every opportunity.
In this must-have video, you will learn:
- about different types of drawers and when to choose one type over another
- how to design a true front drawer with dowel-reinforced rabbet joints and wooden runners
- how to cut accurate rabbet and dado joinery
- how to mill a drawer back to fit precisely in a dado
- how to cut accurate grooves for a plywood drawer bottom
- how to cut accurate grooves for wooden drawer runners
- how to drill accurate holes and counterbores for drawer handles or pulls
- how to glue up a drawer with speed and confidence, leading to a square result
- how to accurately size dowel rod, drill holes to pin the rabbet joints and then glue and trim the dowels
- how to make the wooden runners precisely and install them in the case to get a smooth running result
- how to use simple shop-made stops to locate a closed drawer exactly where you want it
- how to use and install side mounted metal runners
As always, Hendrik’s DVD courses are not like the usual 45 to 60 minute production you may have found disappointing in the past. Hendrik takes you through every procedure in real time, ensuring that you fully understand the thinking behind every step. Most woodworking videos and television shows just show you the “gist” of each technique, editing away the finer details and problems that might arise. If you truly wish to elevate your drawer building and installation techniques to a professional level, the details are everything.
Normally, Hendrik can only cover all of the high-level details he loves to teach in person, but he has once again succeeded at giving you personal coaching in a DVD format. As a 5-DVD boxed set running for nearly 10 1/2 hours, “Making Drawers” will be the leading instructional woodworking DVD in this area. As the trademarked name says, this is “Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box” TM and nothing short of Hendrik’s in-shop seminars and courses even comes close.
To order your DVD today, click below.
Types of Drawers
True Front Drawer
Cutting Rabbet Joints
on the Table Saw
Milling Drawer Back
to Fit Dados
Grooves for Runners
and Other Final Steps
Pinning the Joinery
Making and Installing
Drawer Runners and Stops
Too Many Choices
Feel is Just as Important