After finishing the Utilitarian Cabinet I said I was going to lay off the plywood for a long while. Events conspired against me: we needed a small table or cabinet to fill the narrow space beside the couch and the remaining walnut plywood was just right for the job.
For this cabinet I borrowed a Festool Domino to make the joints for the case and drawers. The Domino is a lot nicer than dowels. It can make one pair of tight fitting mortises for alignment and loose fitting holes elsewhere, which makes the joint much easier to assemble and disassemble than dowels. This cabinet went together without the struggles that we had with the dowel-joined Utilitarian Cabinet—I was able to do it without a helper. The drawers went together very easily as well, and the dominos helped in assembling the miter joints in the pedestal and in affixing the pedestal to the case.
I also experimented with the undermounting Blum Tandem-Plus Blumotion drawer slides, which waste less space at the sides of the drawers. With the drawer cavity only seven inches wide I wanted to make the widest drawers I could. Understanding the requirements for these slides proved to be rather difficult. Blum is very bad about posting detailed information, and they also sell different products in Canada than they do in the USA, so Lee Valley has products that are not otherwise available in the USA. It wasn’t immediately obvious to me—though it should have been—that the undermounting slides would have a minimum drawer width. It is not easy to figure out what this minimum width is. Lee Valley didn’t know, and when I asked Blum USA about the Canadian slides they couldn’t find the answer! I eventually learned that the Tandem-Plus would work on my narrow drawers as long as I used special “locking devices”. The undermounting slides waste less horizontal space but they consume over an inch of vertical space. This led to a problem when I positioned the handle without checking the position carefully and the mounting screw hole hit the drawer bottom.
When I went to fit the drawers into the cabinet they worked right the first time. This is a huge contrast to my experience with the side mounting slides I used in the Utilitarian Cabinet where I had to spend hours on drawer fitting. I had a brief problem with it when I did the final test fit and the drawer hit the case. It turned out I had accidentally pressed the levers that raised the drawer. Lowering the drawer back to the correct position was very easy. The finished drawers open and close very smoothly and much more easily than the drawers in the Utilitarian Cabinet, though we’re not sure we like the Blumotion drawer closing action. Because the drawers are tall and narrow I used the wood with the grain running vertically and I mounted the handles vertically.