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    Build a Simple Silverware Organizer: Part II





    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    In Part I of this two-part series on How to Build a Silverware Organizer for your kitchen drawers, I covered all the basic steps involved in building the 23-in. x 16-in. tray with plywood bottom that would serve as the organizer's basic framework. Now in Part II, we'll cover customization of the framework with the addition of dividers meant to bring order to your spoons, forks, knives, and more. Follow along below as we wrap up this project.

    Final Finishing Notes

    For those interested in what type of finish I applied to this project, here's the recipe: I started by pre-finishing my components with some clear shellac, thinned down to about 50/50 with denatured alcohol. Next, I applied three coats of wipe on satin polyurethane, allowing it to cure for about four days. Finally, I used #0000 steel wool to apply a coat of clear paste wax, buffing it off to a nice satin luster.


    How to Make

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Complete the Dadoed Framework: As you may recall, before I glued up the organizer's framework back in Part I of this series, I cut several dadoes to acommodate all the interior dividers that would serve to organize my silverware. Now it's time to start putting those pieces into place. I began by cutting piece number 2 to length, applying glue sparingly to the joinery before sliding into place. Next, I was able to cut and fit component 1. Don't glue it in yet, however!

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Apply Glue Sparingly: Now glue component 2 (see previous step) into place. I glued up the interior compartments in much the same way a woodworker might glue a sliding dovetail. I applied a bit of glue to the bottom third of the dado, as well as the top third of the component and then slid the divider component down into place.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Mark for More Dadoes: The dadoes in component 1 need to match the dadoes cut into the exterior framework directly across from where it will later be positioned. I simply laid the workpiece against the dadoes I needed to mirror and marked them with a pencil.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Cut the Last of the Dadoes: Now it's just a matter of cutting those well-marked dadoes into the workpiece and getting ready for another glue-up.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Once Again, Use Glue Sparingly: With all the dadoes cut, I can slide the component into place and get to work custom fitting the interior dividers that keep my silverware pieces well organized.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Mark Silverware Dividers for Length: All that work cutting the additional dadoes outlined above was in preparation for this moment. Now it's time to cut and fit the 4 dividers which will serve to keep all my spoons, forks, and knives separated. You don't need a ruler or tape measure. The most accurate way to do this is to bottom out one end of each divider in one of the dadoes, then use a pencil to mark the other end--again, where it bottoms out in the dado.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Cut and Fit the Dividers: Now cut each of the five dividers (L) and slide them in for a test fit. In the photo at right, I'm using a steel ruler to ensure that I haven't cut the dividers too long. If there's a bow in the dadoed piece I'm holding the ruler's edge against, it will be easy to see. A bow will indicate to you that some or all of the dividers are a bit too long.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Label Your Joinery: With all the dividers custom fit, it's a good idea to number them. This will ensure that you reassemble the dividers in the same order in which they were test-fit.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Flush the Edges: With all the dividers fitting nicely (but not glued into place), now is the perfect time to use a block plane to flush them to to the framework they but up against. The top edges of this project's workpieces should all live along the same plane.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    A Sweeping Curve Makes Silverware Accessible: Now it's time to add a nice curve to those four dividers we just finished fitting and edge planing. Your fingers need this relief cut in order to be able to fit them into each divider to grab forks, spoons, etc. You can either use a specialized marking tool for curves--as seen here--or just find a household object with a diamter that fits the bill. Trace the curve onto one of your workpieces with a pencil.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Bandsaw Does the Heavy Lifting: Now tape the four dividers together as one "packet," with the template piece you marked the curve on, placed on the top. Cut the curve out at the bandsaw, making sure to cut just shy of the layout line. You'll use a sander in the next step to bring the cut right ontot he pencil line. With all five pieces taped together, you only need to make one cut.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Finish Up with a Bit of Sanding: I used a belt sender to finish the curve, and then followed up with a bit of hand sanding, working through 120-grit, 220-grit, and 300-grit sandpaper.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Don't Forget to Pre-Finish: It's a lot easier to finish these dividers now, before they're glued into place. Just remember to keep the finish away from the ends, where you'll be applying glue in the next step.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Glue the Dividers into Place: Using the numbers I wrote on the ends of each divider as my guide, now I'm ready to glue all four dividers into place.

    Complete the Dadoed Frameworkclick to enlarge

    Clamps Yield the Best Result: You could simply slide the dividers into place and allow the glue to dry, but I chose to use clamps to ensure that all my edges were perfectly flush with one another. A small scrap board was used as a caul to hold all the dividers flat against the plywood bottom of the silverware organizer. Then I used a couple of clamps to ensure that my dividers were fully bottomed out in each of the dadoes.



    Ed_Pirnik