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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2014, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Default Drawer Construction Techniques Welcome

I spent the day prepping some drawer stock for our kitchen cabinets. I hope I can get my tools set up in production like mode. It has been raining off and on for a couple of days so I scrounged through the lumber rack and came up with enough maple to build six of the drawers. So, with more rain heading our way, I am going to build those six drawers, then hopefully, the rain will move on and I can gather up the material for the remaining drawers.

With that said, your comments are welcome. I would like to keep the table saw available to cut the drawer bottoms.

The drawer sides need most of the work and all four pieces get a groove cut for the drawer bottoms.

I am trying to figure out how to set up my routers to do most (hopefully all) of the work. The big drawback is the router table doesn't have a miter track.

Thinking out loud...
Router 1 (Triton) - set it up with a straight bit and fence to cut the drawer bottom dadoes.

Router 2 (Bosch 1617) - set it up to cross cut a dado in each side near the end of the board. The rear piece of the drawer fits in the dado. Since I don't have a miter track, I am thinking about making a simple jig to hold both sides and attach an exact width dado jig over the boards. That is not as fast as using the table saw, but it should work.

Router 3 (Bosch 1617) - Use it in conjunction with the Porter Cable Dovetail Jig to cut the half blind dovetails (front of the drawers only).

I have all of the pieces for the first six drawers cut and ready to go. But, next week, I will have to buy additional material to make the lower drawers which are deeper that the top ones. I would rather leave everything set up so I can mill those pieces also.

Your thoughts - plan or no plan?

I will take some pics of the operation.
Here are the first two. 5/8 inch thick drawer stock ready to finish prepping for assembly.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 04:12 AM
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Good start.

So you have a skeleton-type frame, with flush, inset type drawer fronts and are going to use blind dove tail fronts like this?:

... with dado's cut into the sides to slide the bottoms in up into a dado in back of the drawer face... that is cut into the socket, between the pins.

I was with you with all until- You lost me when you went into the rear joining.

You said "the rear fits into a dado" Did you mean that or a rabbet? (I'm guessing you might have meant the later, but....) If you are already doing half blind dovetails on the fronts... why not on the backs? You will already have the PC joint already setup for the same sized stock, right? If not that and doing a rabbet joint, then since you already have your dovetail bits out, another easier technique/effect, in the same tradition and styling (as the rest of your design) is a rabbeted dovetail joint:


Just a few ideas. (You had asked.)

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Last edited by MAFoElffen; 09-18-2014 at 04:15 AM.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 07:29 AM
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My suggestion:

Dovetail Joinery with a Router - YouTube

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 08:01 AM
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Thanks for this, James. At my low level of experience, I think I will have more chance of success in making a strong drawer box with this method.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 08:42 AM
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Hand Cut Dovetails, a different approach! - YouTube

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 08:47 AM
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 12:13 PM
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Default Drawer Construction

I like your half blind dovetail construction for drawer sides to back panel. I used sliding dovetail to join fronts to drawers. You don't need any fancy jigs, just some measuring and a good fence on your router table, Oh, and a dove tail router bit. I just did 5 drawers for a red oak chest of drawers. You just need to mark your stop points on your fence to have all drawer fronts the same cut. I use a 1/4" straight bit on table mount router to cut the groove for drawer bottom panels also using stop marks on a temp fence face on my router table. Test cuts for every application using scrap pieces; general rule!!
I noticed in your photo of stock wood: The pieces marked BL28 are poplar wood. You can save some material by using one piece for drawer fronts instead of a second for an over-face. I am thinking you might not like how the poplar takes stain, though it IS excellent for painting.
Love to see when you have it all completed. Happy Routing!!
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 12:35 PM
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This is a handy router bit for doing down and dirty drawers.

Whiteside Drawer Glue Joint Bit


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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jw2170 View Post
Thanks James. I like the ideas presented in the video.

Mike, that is exactly how the half blind dovetail drawer construction will be done for the drawer fronts.

Sorry if I confused y'all about the rear of the drawer. These are kitchen cabinets, not fine furniture so I see no reason to spend extra time on the rears. Nobody ever sees them anyway.

I took a couple of pics of some drawers stock left over from a previous project. Looking at the right end of it, you will see a dado cut in the side. The rear piece of the drawer simply slides into it. Glue and nail and it is a done deal. And it helps add rigidity to the drawer box.

What isn't shone in the pics is the fact that I rip off the lower portion of the rear piece flush with the drawer bottom groove. That way the drawer is constructed completely, then the bottom is simply slid into the groove from the rear. Stick it with a couple of nails or staples, or screws if you like. If the bottom is damaged later, it can be replaced and not the entire drawer.

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I hope to get started later today. We are having monsoon type rains, and a few minutes ago, there was a loud explosion - like a cannon being fired - followed immediately by a loud electrical sound that sounded like all of the electricity in the power lines were being absorbed into a transformer. Scared the beejeevers outta me. Having spent my career working in a chemical plant, I was fearing the worse. But it only resulted in a brief power dip and all seems OK. I checked outside and around the house and all is well. We passed the smoke test.

I hope all the ideas presented will help others that are working on projects that require drawers.

I also included a couple of pics from previous drawers that I built using the same methods I have described. They are in the buffet built late last year. They look good.
Mike
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Stick486 View Post
Ha Ha Ha...NO!

At least not for 21 drawers.

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