Building Dovetail Drawers In 10 Steps

For a much better perspective, make sure to check out the video where I do the half blind dovetail drawers for a desk. I was under the misconception that making them took a lot of time and was a lot of work. The inside (numbered) surface of the drawer parts should be facing away from the jig, visible to you. Yes They are Machine cut half blind dove tails but they are used in most commercial kitchens and better commercial furniture. Cutting dovetails can become second nature after plenty of practice with saw and chisel. Step 8: Finishing begins by sanding the drawer boxes to achieve perfectly smooth joints over the dovetails.

Having been making sawdust for over sixty years, it is no big deal using whatever joint takes your fancy. As far as skill is concerned the ability to cut a perfectly fitting set of box joints to be just as much a demonstration of yours hand skills as dovetail joints and you end up with a stronger joint which can be readily executed in six or eight sided boxes not just rectangles. If a full ½ dado were cut in the side it would show through the final dovetail joint.

The box is dovetailed in one width and the top and bottom glued on; the sides and ends are then cut along the dotted line, thus forming the lid. Never had a joint or drawer fail yet and I have a whole whack of them in daily service. Sure, I could simply rabbet and nail the kitchen drawers together, but hey – the math is harder. A dovetail is a super strong joint in solid wood, but I’m not sure I’d say it’s bulletproof in ply. We remove more material on the sides than top and bottom to account for drawer slides.

As for learning to cut dovetails by hand well it is taught because to make a tight dove tail (and end up with a square box the correct final size) requires many wood working skills from planning and measuring to cutting. It’s the way most drawers are joined these days because it’s quick — maybe 100 times faster than making a dovetail joint. If you make them short, you’ll have to sand the boards down to the level of the pins and tails, or use a hand plane to do the same thing.

The time to set up this jigs compared to the time it takes to hand cut pushed me to take a class to learn how do it by hand tools. With the tenon or dovetail saw cut down the line K to the required depth, and carefully pare away the wood with a sharp chisel to the correct shape. I’m pretty sure I suggested they just keep cutting it into handi panels and sell it to someone else. I usually make my drawers square (they can be rectangular but they are still square), because they tend to be square anyway and make any adjustments by planing off the drawer front.making dovetail drawers

There are wooden relics from Egyptian tombs (about 3000BCE) that include dovetail joints. In this episode, Paul demonstrates the first of two different methods for marking out and cutting the half-lapped dovetail joint. The NHH1 Notch & Hook Hole Combination is available with all Dovetail Drawer Box side wall thicknesses, 1/2″, 5/8″, & 3/4″. This Video will give you the motivation and confidence to hand cut dovetails, I have taught thousands and I can teach you! Building on his previous instructional dvds Rob adds tips that he has since gained from teaching hundreds of students how to cut joints and sharpen tools. Locked rabbet drawer joints fasten the front of a drawer securely to the sides.

The tool used was a little different though, a dedicated table top router jig permanently held a dedicated router with 1/4″ slot cutter. I recommend sanding the inside face of the drawer front as well, since it’ll be hard to get to once the drawer is assembled. These figures are said to be based on the grain strength of various woods, and deviating from them too much may endanger the strength of your joints. Compared to over $250 with other set-up packages this HF dovetail jig cost me around $70 total and made strong good looking dovetails. This dovetail drawer box is the standard corner drawer box; you need to specify the WxDxH for this box.

Consequently, for one cut the face will be towards the backing board and will face way from the backing board for the second cut. Woodhaven sells a variety of dovetail jigs including their new top-of-the-line jig that can be used in the conventional mode or on top of a router table. Drawer Connection offers under mount softclose drawer glides as well as full extension sidemount drawer glides. I’ve used the same drawer joint in my home and shop-some of the drawers I built for my shop are fifteen years old and loaded with nails, screws, hardware, etc.

I’ll show you what I have learned over my many years of making dovetail drawers. To make the cut smoother and easier use a sweeping cut instead of trying to plunge straight in. Repeat the process with the other shoulder. Using the widest chisel you have, rest the chisel on the paring jig and carefully pare away the waste. The stock should be flat, of even thickness, and cut square on the ends – the same as you’d prepare stock for any furniture work. Cropduster writes: Dovetails are probably one of the most difficult joints to make well. I absolutely love the dovetail jig I received as a gift from a friend from Rockler.

Most other problems are usually caused by the pieces not being clamped down in the jig so they’re flush across the top, or because they move out of position as they’re being routed. I have made such doors (only 3 or 4 times in the last 10 years) so I do know how much work it is. And those doors almost always require hand trimming with planes, meaning it takes a lot of skill. But the backs and fronts require a rabbet cut, and that cut must be made into the outside face of the front and back.

The corner numbers go on the insides of all pieces, as they will be either up or out when properly oriented in the jig for cutting. Use the pins to mark out where the dovetails will be cut and then clamp the piece at an angle to make the downward cuts with your saw easier. Don’t discount making through dovetail joints by hand or the hybrid method employing both the bandsaw and hand. A wonderful combination of wood technology, tree identification, forestry, sawing, drying, and joinery as it applies to solid wood cabinet work.

Manufacturer of high quality dovetail drawers and boxes for cabinet and furniture makers. Everyone is right here; I can’t compare my solid drawers in Portland to somebody’s plywood drawers in another city across the country or world. Plywood only requires that I cut the components to their final dimensions versus potentially resawing the thinner thickness from a thicker board, followed by jointing and planning it to size. I picked an arbitrary 11 degree angle for my dovetail because I liked the looks.

My PC jig and I think your jig will cut the dovetails with the inside of the drawer towards the operator. Testing the dovetail strength; it only fails if you apply excessive side pressure to the joint. Since the drawer is not completely assembled at the kitchen cabinet manufacture you will not get as crisp of a finish as you would with a drawer box that is constructed at the cabinet manufacture. An Accented Top Edge allows you to select a different wood specie for construction of the Top Edge, creating a decorative detail for your Drawer Box. This is especially helpful for drawers in furniture for kids, or where the contents might be heavy.

Dovetail drawer boxes offer the strongest box construction available while offering the beauty of interlocking joints. A lot of companies leave dovetail ends unfinished and rough, exposing the joinery to water absorption and eventual failure. Mechanically, I find no difference between the two, and the time required to do a hand cut is seldom worth the additional effort. Kirby’s article is great at presenting the basics of cutting dovetails, and he includes numerous photos of the process, something I think is of outstanding help for the beginner. I clamp up the sides (up to 8 half inch boards), usually two so that everything is square.

The dovetails are now sawn and pared out in the usual way and the part denoted by the arrow is afterwards cut away with a chisel and finally finished to a smooth surface with a rebate plane; the method of working is shown at Fig. Mark all the waste wood with Xs. Then, clamp the two drawer sides together and carry the lines square across both pieces.

These drawers make a wonderful addition to any kitchen or bath remodel due to the style the dovetail design brings to the cabinetry. This box has the dovetail joints on the back of the box and has a butt joint on the front that is screwed together with wood screws. I’ll focus mainly on cutting half-blind dovetails, because once you learn to cut those, through-dovetails become a piece of cake. This may be accomplished by neatly sawing to the line and paring the end of the wood with a sharp chisel, or by bringing the wood to a finish with a finely-set plane, such as an iron-faced smoothing plane.

The bottom rear joint is a half dovetail, sitting immediately above the groove for the drawer bottom. You will make a small box, with two drawers suitable for storing writing materials or similar. Built from quality materials and hand assembled, our cabinet construction process results in semi-custom cabinets that look custom. Hollowpoint writes: I use both pinned rabbet joints and dovetails, but when I use dovetails I go to great length to make it is evident that they were not done with a router.