Now glue the front and back piece back on that you cut off earlier. Be really careful to line up the edges… if they DON’T line up they won’t fit back into the box. HEY PRESTO! you now have a drawer with a space to hold stuff.
Now’s a good time to attach a back to the box. Use the same thickness and type of wood unless you’re going for a different look. I rough cut a piece, apply glue to the back of the box and clamp it well. Don’t glue it with the drawers in. If a kid DOES do that, the best option is to drill a hole in the back, stick in a dowel and tap (or POUND) the drawer out.
Once the glue is dry use the bandsaw to flush cut the back down. I let the kids use a spindle sander with a big (3″) sleeve attached at this point. Hand sanding works well too.
Most of us know how to sand but kids… well, not so much. Usually they jump right into using 320 Grit, sand furiously for 30 minutes and marvel at how smooth it is… What they don’t know is how rough it will look as soon as they put on the finish.
Heres a good analogy I came up with at one point. I ask the kids if they have ever seen someone try to mow a lawn thats really really deep. I go into detail about the wet grass spewing out the mower until it clogs up and how horrible it looks once its all done… I than ask them if they’ve noticed how the wheels on the lawnmower go up and down so that the mower will take off less at a time… would it make more sense, i ask, if they would raise the mower as much as possible, cut the long grass than lower the mower and maybe even do it 3 or 4 times lowering it each time? They all nod and agree so at just the right moment i strike! HA (i say) THAT is EXACTLY what SANDING is like!!! They often look confused until i explain that the grains on the wood all stand up and starting with a high number grit like 320 or 220 is like cutting long grass with a low mower. They need to start at a rough grit like 80 than sand like crazy with the grain until all the scratches are gone. The wood won’t be smooth until they move up through the grits from 80 to 120 to 150 or 180 and final finish with a 220 or a 320.
While i’m telling the story I am sanding a piece of wood through all the levels… not making a big deal of it but casually mentioning details as i go along… The last step is the finish. I like to use beeswax because its non toxic and smells good.
I pull out the rag, give the wood I’m working on a buff with the wax and man you should hear the students. They oooohh and aaahh and than they all start asking to touch it. Amazing results and the kids are inspired to do a really good job.
Teaching is so cool.
We hope this tutorial has inspired you to try this project with your kids!
Thanks to stumitch for this great project!