If you get into cabinet / furniture making, at some some point you’ll need to make a drawer or two. Now you know how the drawer parts need to be sized, and how the jig makes the dovetail joints. The drawers feature half-lapped dovetails into the thicker front, and housing dados with tenons at the back. Just in case I haven’t made my point clearly, here it is. Dovetails are nice, but aren’t the only nice drawer joint around. In the end you need strong drawers that are attractive, and there are many ways to make them.
Cuttingbone, I am sorry you felt I was disrespecting old fashioned cabinet making. Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the structural members of case furniture. It’s a mixed blessing as far as cutting dovetails is concerned; the compressibility means that fitting the joints isn’t too arduous, but the softness means that it’s easy to screw up, and paring end grain is an exercise in frustration. Lapped half-blind dovetails for drawers join the thinner sides to the thicker front.
The following 2 illustrations show the orientation of the jig on the ShopBot table, the drawer parts and how they fit into the jig, and the orientation of the parts for cutting. The drawers are very strong and it is virtually impossible to pull the fronts off the drawers. You’ll cut your tails first, then use the tail board to transfer the location of the tails to the pin board. Almost all of the powder-coated euro style slides which I have run across require 1/2 in. per side, too. You can dovetail that 30” deep x 84” tall home entertainment center with the Keller Dovetail System.
I find little ornamental value in either, but routinely use template dovetails in most of the drawers I build, particularly in heavy use situations like kitchens. The joint must be accurately marked out and then cut, and if done improperly, the joint will not be secure, and will lose the advantages that dovetail joints are known for. This box has the dovetail joints on all four corners, making this radius front drawer a stunning piece of art. Each custom dovetail drawer we build at Eagle Woodworking is delivered on time. Here we’re making half-blind dovetails, so the tails don’t go all the way through.
The drawer front is laid flat on the bench after it has been sawn, and with a mallet and sharp chisel the corner of the dovetail is knocked off as shown. We’ll finish all wood boxes at your request using ML Campbell magna max finishes, or Aqualente water-based finish for your green project. For example, pinned rabbet joints are a viable alternative that produces strong, attractive joints. While the quality of the drawers were ok (I ordered the plywood) the delivery time was excessive – 5 weeks. Make this sturdy Shaker bench with through mortise and tenon joints and four dovetails braces.
It is probably a much better product for drawer boxes, but to most consumers it is all about what they can see. Both the outside and the inside of the corner show a tight and crisp dovetail that will glue up well and look great. All joinery & bottom are adequately glued making the drawer perfectly square & extremely strong. To make the repair, cut each corner brace just short of the drawer side, load both mating edges with carpenter’s glue and clamp in place. Mark the area to be removed with an X and use a fine dovetail saw (15 tpi or more) to cut to the line. You almost have to lay a board across the top and use it to hammer… otherwise you can break the tabs of the dovetail.
Using half blind dovetails is really great for certain projects like making drawers for example. A little lead (or bevel) from front to back is given whilst sawing, and if this method be used care must be taken to see that the parts of the drawer sides which will be on the inside of the completed drawer are towards the worker, or the lead will be given to the dovetails in the wrong direction. A variation of this type of dovetail is frequently used to joint internal uprights to the horizontal shelves of writing desks, cabinets, and bookcases, etc.
If the drawer is just for utility, say for a work bench, I’ll just rabbet my drawer. The wood I am using here is birch ply from a home center admittedly not as good quality as from a cabinet lumber supplier. Modern machine tools make dovetail cuts easier and faster, for efficient manufacture and production of large or small orders with consistent precision. If you don’t do this and you’re cutting multiple drawers, you will get mixed up and never figure out which tails go with which pins. Drawer hardware needs to be attached to the dovetail box to function in the cabinet.
Then plung into each gap between the fingers moving left to right to remove the materal and cut the joint. With proper layout and cutting everything should be flush on dry fit up. I also make sure that it fits into its opening and make any adjustments before gluing up the drawer box. So many guys out there slap a dovetail into a piece thinking it’s the key that is going to make their piece extraordinary, when in reality is distracts from the overall composition of the piece.