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Drawer joints - Box vs. Dovetail vs. ???

6200 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  ChevyNomad
Has anyone ever seen a general guide as to what type of joint to use for attaching drawer sides to the drawer fronts vs. how tall the drawer is?
Or simply, the strength of various joints? Any drawer slamming tests?

Half lap dovetails vs. though dovetails vs. ½” box vs. ¼” box vs. drawer lock etc.

I know dovetails are the strongest on larger drawers but is an over-kill on drawers 3 inches or so tall. Box joints work well on smaller drawers and I’ve even tried drawer lock joints but found they are not strong enough for drawers that contain heavier materials such as used for a workbench with drawers over 6 inches tall. The aesthetics has a lot to do with which joint is used as some people only want to see box or dovetail joints – so that’s what they get.

The location of the drawer stops also have a lot to do with how good the joint needs to be, but on overlay drawer fronts the drawer front is usually the stop.
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Chevy, I have never seen any kind of chart. Perhaps the simple answer to your question is when you need a very strong joint for heavy items use pocket hole screws and Titebond III. If you wish to hide the screws they sell angled dowel inserts to glue into the holes, or you can make your own. I believe this method is what Norm used when building his new shop benches. Titebond III is rated to be stronger than polyurethane glues and much easier to use. (Their claim, not mine)
That's one option I have not tried for drawers. I may build up several test boxes and run my own tests. Drawer slamming seems to be the most destructive.
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