Lipped Halfblind Dovetail

For overlay drawers with excellent strength, use lipped half-blind dovetails. With this joint, the front is rabbeted and joined to the sides with dovetails.

Joint begins and ends with a half-pin.

Joint begins and ends with a half-pin.

corner joints hardest. For these reasons, front-corner joints should be as strong as possible and have some mechanical reinforcement. This mechanical connection can be as simple as pegs or pins in a rabbet joint, or it can be the interlocking strength of the classic half-blind dovetail (see sampling of joints on p. 79).

At the back corners of a drawer, aesthetics are less of a concern because these corners are rarely seen. Even though the back corners suffer less racking and stress than the front corners, you still want to choose a sound mechanical joint. Often, the rear-corner joints are different from the front-corner joints. If you are using a machine setup to cut the front joinery, however, it makes sense to use those same setups to cut the back joinery. Some rear-joint options, such as the dado and the sliding dovetail, allow you to create a drawer with built-in full-extension slides so you have access to the entire depth of the drawer.

Drawer bottoms: Fancy or functional

As with the corner joinery, the choice of material and design for the drawer bottom depends on the style of drawer you are building—whether it's a quick-and-dirty shop drawer or a drawer for a high-style reproduction secretary.

Solid wood and plywood are commonly used for drawer bottoms. Solid wood is the traditional choice, and aesthetically, it's hard to beat. But you must allow solid wood to expand and contract with changes in humidity. In most cases, solid bottoms are either raised or rabbeted to fit grooves in the drawer sides and front. Align the grain so that movement occurs front to back; doing otherwise could cause the drawer to bind. Typically, the bottom slides in from the rear and is screwed to the back via a slotted hole that allows the bottom to move without cracking.

Plywood is a much more stable choice for a drawer bottom because it does not expand and contract with humidity changes as much as solid wood. Though reproduction builders and a few purists resist using plywood bottoms, it's easy to argue their superiority. A plywood bottom can be housed in grooves in the sides, back, and front, or it can be slid in from the rear and screwed to the drawer back. â–ˇ

Matthew Teague is a writer and woodworker in Nashville, Tenn.

Rear-corner joints

For both aesthetic and structural reasons, the back corners of drawers need not be joined in the same fashion as the fronts: The rear corners are less visible than the front corners and suffer less racking and stress during use.

To avoid interfering with the action of the drawer, any reinforcing fasteners must be flush or slightly countersunk on the drawer sides.

Vi in. extra length at back

Because the joint itself is seldom seen, a simple nailed or pegged butt joint is sometimes used at the back of drawers that see only light use. Adding biscuits is a good way to strengthen this otherwise rudimentary joint.

A simple dado cut in the drawer sides is an easy and effective means of attaching the back to the sides. When using a dado at the back, you can leave the sides long, creating in essence full-extension slides that will give you access to the full depth of the drawer when it is opened.

BUTT JOINT

Because the joint itself is seldom seen, a simple nailed or pegged butt joint is sometimes used at the back of drawers that see only light use. Adding biscuits is a good way to strengthen this otherwise rudimentary joint.

DADO

A simple dado cut in the drawer sides is an easy and effective means of attaching the back to the sides. When using a dado at the back, you can leave the sides long, creating in essence full-extension slides that will give you access to the full depth of the drawer when it is opened.

To avoid interfering with the action of the drawer, any reinforcing fasteners must be flush or slightly countersunk on the drawer sides.

Vi in. extra length at back

DADOED RABBET

The dadoed rabbet helps keep the drawer square and is easier to fit than a simple dado. You rabbet the back to fit the dado, as opposed to trying to match the dado width to the thickness of the back. Leaving the sides long at the back will give you access to the full depth of the drawer when it's open.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment