Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Drawer joinery...

Over the past day, I have been creating the joinery for the cabinet drawers. The joinery at the front is half-blind or lapped dovetails, whereas the back of the drawers is assembled with pinned rabbets. In the photo I have created grooves for the bottom in one drawer. The location of the groove is situated over a tail so as not to cut into the corresponding pin of the drawer front. A little trial and error measurement is necessary here, but it all works out in the end. The drawer sides have been purposely left a bit longer than necessary to be trimmed later and fitted with the drawer back. I will continue to work on the other drawer components and leave the lipped drawer last, as the measurements and offsets on this particular drawer are differently located. I like to plan ahead when creating dovetail joinery and mark all the components extensively, including the board orientation and reference faces and edges. It is very easy to get confused otherwise, not that it's ever happened to me :)

After completing the drawer shells tomorrow, I will make the drawer bottoms consisting of edge glued hardwood planed down to a fraction of an inch, to easily fit the drawer grooves. I should have everything including drawer bottoms, assembled and glued later tomorrow. There is some tuning and fitting involved for each drawer both at the sides and front to back. The drawer pulls come next and I'm currently giving this thought.

The combination of beech cabinet and sapele drawers actually work out very well, there is contrast but not overwhelmingly so, more on the subtle side. My other choice was to use cherry for the drawer fronts, but I have been using this extensively lately and wanted something different.


19711007 said...

ah, I get it now ( i was wondering what you meant with how to do the rabbet coordination with the dovetails and pins).

by the way: nice benchtop!

john said...


What purpose does the jig just to the right of your drawer parts serve?

Norman Pirollo said...

Hi John,

That jig is a dovetail guide I've been using for years, although I can probably do without it now.

I use it to clamp down the boards to hollow out the pins and tails. The upper caul can be aligned with the baseline of the dovetails to simplify chiseling downwards. It excels at aligning the pin and tail boards perpendicularly for transfering the pin markings from the tail board.

I have a much better picture of it here at my other site with more detail: