Pre-Sanding the Cabinet

In this part of the cabinet project, I will be showing you how to prepare the cabinet for gluing up. We will focus on flushing joinery, pre-sanding inside faces, and will prepare the drawer cavity for a smooth, obstruction free fit.

This lessons objectives:

  • How to flush off joinery
  • How to pre-sand inside faces
  • How to remove sharp corners
  • How to avoid causing damage to joinery

Pre-sanding is one of the easiest areas to cause irreversible damage to the cabinet, despite not being obvious at first. Because after all, how much damage can a bit of sandpaper do? Well once your joinery no longer fits nicely together, none of your components are flat, and corners are left sharp as a razor. You'll soon realise how crucial this step is and how much of a difference it makes to any project.

The diagram to the right (below on mobile phones) shows which corners need to be arissed before assembly. This is because these corners can be difficult to access after assembly and it only takes a few seconds to address them now.

To ariss corners, I usually brush over the sharp edge a couple of times with some 180 grit wrapped around a block. This produces a small 45 degree chamfer that feels nice to touch.

Although you can take this a step further by taking a piece of 240 grit, wrap it round your thumb, and brush over the corner once. This rounds over the small 45 degree facet and takes the edge to the next level.

As for the drawer cavity, I heavily rounded over the corners using a block plane to begin with before blending in the facets with sandpaper. The method of rounding off edges within the drawer cavity is unconvetional and is not something I do on every project. Although after making this project 3 or 4 times with students, I've noticed a few of them struggle with the drawer catching on misaligned components within the cavity due to this being the first time they have constructed a carcass like this. By rounding the corners, you greatly risk the potential of any issues arising.

To the left (below on a phone) is a diagram of a standard countersink screw and I have labelled the parts of it according to the size of the hole you need to drill.

D = Depth

Self explanatory, this is the height of the screw from top to bottom. In this project, we are screwing two 15mm components together. So you probably want to use a 25mm long screw for this.

P = Pilot

The pilot hole needs to be the same size as the shank that runs through the centre of the screw thread. This prevents the components from splitting as you drive in the screw, and also keeps it on the right course. This is what I drilled in this lesson.

C = Clearance

The clearance hole is the diameter of the screw threads. In the case of this project, I used a 4mm x 25mm screw. The 25mm size refers to the overall length of the screw (Labelled D) and the 4mm refers to the width of the screw thread (Labelled C) Ignore the clearance hole for now. I will explain it's use in a later part of the project.

Supporting Material

Click the images below to see supporting material helping you with this part of the project.

Pre-Sanding the Dovetail Box

If you need a reminder on how we sanded the internal corners of the dovetail box. This will take you straight there.

How To Screw Wood Together

This video shows you how to correctly screw wood together using a pilot, clearance and countersink.

Lapped Dovetails

Drawer Construction

Want to go off on a tangent and see one of my early videos on drawer construction? View it here!

Have you got the plans yet?

Package includes working drawings, a cutting list, and a 3d SketchUp model!

The Student Series

Want to see another beginner make this project before you? It's a great way to scope out any mistakes before you make one yourself!

*To be filmed*

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