Assembly

Drawer dovetails should never be completely fitted before assembly as they only fit once, and the worker should have enough confidence in his jointing to accept that they will fit. Some craftsmen use only a minimum of glue, thickly coating the ends of the sides and wiping them across the pins on the assumption that as the dovetails are mostly end grain there is little point in gluing every socket. However, it is better to have too much glue than too little, providing it is thin enough to be squeezed out. One drawer side is laid flat on the bench, the front and back pushed home, the other side placed in position and tapped down with a mallet using a block of wood to cushion the blows. A sash-cramp/clamp should be kept handy in case the drawer needs a pull across the width or from front to back, but it should not need much cramping, and if a cramp does have to be left on while the glue sets, the drawer should be set on a level surface free from twists. After wiping off the excess glue with a clean wet rag (some workers give the insides a coat of polish before assembly to prevent the glue staining), the drawer is checked for squareness with a rod and left undisturbed until the glue has set and the bottom can be cut and fitted. If the drawer is fractionally out of true the bottom can be cut to pull it square, but it is rarely possible to correct a twist.

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