The drawer build is slowly coming together. I've set up a sequence to ensure that any steps are not skipped in creating a drawer. For example, I create the grooves for the drawer bottom after making the half-blind dovetails at the front of the drawer. The grooves are created just prior to glue-up. If I create the grooves before the dovetails, the tails are considerably weakened and fragile due to the groove. The nice part is that the groove is completely housed and does not therefore need to be a stopped groove. Some of the other steps include hand planing the surfaces of each of the drawer components. Each drawer is individually fitted to its compartment in the drawer case. The drawer front is marked and cut first as it needs to be a nice, snug fit. Each of the drawer sides is then marked, measured and cut accordingly. The heights of each of the pieces are similar, I hand plane them to ensure they are exactly the same height.
All this in preparation of creation of the dovetails. Marking the pieces also becomes very important at this stage. Each of the outside surfaces and the orientation of the pieces are marked, as in the photo. I've made a small change to the dovetails partly due to a suggestion to a blog reader and partly to strengthen the joint. The tails were fairly large in the mock-up with little pin surface area. I am concerned with the tails telegraphing through the drawer front, so I reduced the size of the tails slightly leaving more wood in the drawer front pins. In the photo, the top drawer has the new dovetail layout.
I use a few tools to make these dovetails as in the photo, most of the chisels used are visible and I keep them sharp with repeated honing during my work. I also have a few more measuring tools than necessary, the duplicates are merely to keep the measurements for making the tails handy. At the the right in the photo, a dovetail jig is partially visible. I use this mostly to orient the tail and pin boards for precise marking and chiseling.The drawer sides are slightly proud of the drawer front edges and I hand plane them down afterwards. During the glue-up, I check and re-check that the sides are perpendicular to the drawer fronts. Later on, I install the drawer backs and drawer bottom for each of the drawers.
Creating and assembling the eight drawers is a bit time consuming, and patience is a necessary virtue here. What I have done is to create the sequence I mentioned above and make sure everything is correctly and visibly marked to avoid any mistakes. So far, so good.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as bringing a dovetail joint together after a few taps with a mallet, well at least in the woodworking world. Hopefully, in the next post I'll have the eight drawers mostly complete except for the drawer pulls, of which the design I haven't finalized yet.