Throughdovetails Join The Back And Sides

Drawer back is V2 in. narrower than the sides to allow for the drawer bottom.

Side

Drawer back is V2 in. narrower than the sides to allow for the drawer bottom.

Drawer bottom, V2 in. thick, is beveled to fit grooves in the sides and the front.

Half-pin

Drawer bottom, V2 in. thick, is beveled to fit grooves in the sides and the front.

Half-pin

There's no need to angle the saw. When cutting the pins for through-dovetails, you can cut all the way to the shoulder line.

Groove follow both the angled line and the square line to bring the entire cheek of the pin into square. Use a combination square to check that the pin edges and shoulders are square.

Scribe tails from pins, then cut away the waste—The tails are scribed off the pins only after you are satisfied that all of the pins are square. Place the tail board inside-face up on the bench. Clamp the pin board 90° to the face of the tail board, just as if the drawer were going together. Line up the inside face of the pin board directly on the inside edge of the tail-board shoulder line. Scribe the tails using a sharp, hard-lead drafting pencil, which leaves a thin, definite line.

Place the tail board in the vise with the inside facing you. Draw a square line across the end grain from the end of each angled line. Remember that the angle of the pins appears on the end grain and that the angle of the tails appears on the face of the board. Mark the waste with an X and cut to the pencil line, not into it. If you cut beyond the pencil line you will have a gap. Chop out the waste as you did for the pins, but stop at half depth and flip over the board. Repeat the process on the other side and check to see that everything is square.

At this point, your dovetails should start to fit together. If they are a little snug, pare only the tails. Once you have squared the pins, they should not be touched again.

Cut the through-dovetails

Through-dovetails join the drawer sides to the back. Lay out the pins using the same technique described for the half-blind dovetails, but you don't have to leave room for the lap. Once the pins have been cut, chop out the waste halfway through the pin board's thickness, leaving some material to support the end. Then pare to the shoulder line. Flip over the piece, continue to chop out waste, and then pare to the shoulder line. Place the piece back in the vise and pare the cheeks square. This area can be slightly undercut in the center. Tails are marked and cut exactly the same as they are on the half-blind dovetails.

Glue up the drawer and slide the bottom in place

Now, when you assemble the dovetails, you have four pieces of wood that are starting to resemble a drawer. At this point,

Through-dovetails go all the way through. To mark out the tails, clamp the back at a right angle to the side. Because the tails go completely through, make sure the back and side are flush.

Glue blocks fit the tails. Use clamping blocks made of the same species as the drawer sides (or a softer wood). Be sure to remove any material that might crush the pins. Taping the blocks in place helps ease assembly.

Check for square. Once the clamps are in place, check the diagonals to see whether the drawer Is square.

Glue blocks fit the tails. Use clamping blocks made of the same species as the drawer sides (or a softer wood). Be sure to remove any material that might crush the pins. Taping the blocks in place helps ease assembly.

Check for square. Once the clamps are in place, check the diagonals to see whether the drawer Is square.

you can glue up the drawer, making sure that it is kept square while you clamp it.

A traditional dovetailed drawer uses a solid-wood bottom. The grain of the drawer bottom should ain side to side, allowing it to expand and contract from front to back. Edge-glue enough 3/s-in.-thick stock to equal the drawer depth. Cut these panels V16 in. smaller than the dimension of the drawer and the bottom of the grooves. Bevel the bottom of the drawer. I

typically use the tablesaw to cut this bevel and handplane the bottom to fit. The bottom should fit the groove so that it slides easily but not be so loose that it rattles. Finally, cut a slot (a Vs-in.-wide sawblade kerf) in the back edge of the bottom to screw the bottom to the drawer back. The slot should be long enough to allow the bottom to expand and contract freely.

For the final drawer fitting, lightly plane the sides to fit the case. If the drawer needs some height shaved off, take it off the top of the drawer, leaving your flat (reference) edge alone on the drawer bottom.

I usually finish the inside of the drawers and the case itself with shellac. Oil finish inside a case takes longer to cure, usually smells for a long time, and can become gummy and tacky over time. □

Janet A. Collins runs the Workshop Program at North Bennet Street School in Boston.

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.

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