Special Considerations

Tedswoodworking Plans

16.000 Woodworking Plans

Get Instant Access

In times past craftsmen demonstrated their skill by concealing all signs ofjoinery. Drawer fronts, for example, were joined with half-blind dovetails so the joint could not be seen (when the drawer was closed). Through dovetails were only used to join the drawer back to the sides.

But times have changed. Joinery has come out in the open. Today, through dovetails are used on drawer fronts to show off this handsome joint, and add a spot of subtle decoration. However, when through dovetails are used on drawers there are some special considerations . . . and some problems.

layout. The layout (size and spacing of the pins and tails) should be done with care. If the pins and tails are equal width, the dovetail joint will look just like a box joint (from the front of the drawer), see Fig. 1. However, if the joint is laid out so the relationship between the pins and tails is about 1:4 or 1:5, the joint takes on much more of a custom look.

DRAWER BOTTOM

So now the joint is nicely proportioned, but you still have to get the drawer bottom in there some way. There are two basic options for mounting the drawer bottom, see Fig. 2. The easiest way is to go ahead and cut the dovetails on all four pieces and assemble them. Then to insert the bottom, a rabbet is cut around the perimeter of the bottom edge of the drawer and the bottom is glued into the rabbet. (A plywood bottom must be used with this method.)

On large drawers that will have to bear a lot of weight, it's helpful to cut the rabbet about V* deeper than the thickness of the bottom. Then triangular glue blocks can be cut and glued to the plywood bottom and the drawer sides.

stopped groovks. Another option is to cut grooves in the front and the two sides for a plywood bottom. The groove on the drawer front can be cut from one end to the other providing it doesn't slice through the half-pin, Fig. 3.

The groove on the sides must be stopped. If the groove were cut all the way through, it would slice off part of the tail and there would be an unsightly gap showing right on the front of the drawer.

The easiest way to cut a stopped groove is on a router table (see Woodsmith No. 5). Although cutting a stopped groove is kind of a hassle, there is an advantage to this method. The plywood bottom can be inserted as the drawer is glued together to help pull the drawer square.

figure 4

GRAIN PARAUEL WITH FRONT AND BACK

THROUGH GROOVE ON FRONT --v.

STOPPED GROOVE ^ ON SIDES

BACK LOWER THAN SIDES

GRAIN PARAUEL WITH FRONT AND BACK

THROUGH GROOVE ON FRONT --v.

STOPPED GROOVE ^ ON SIDES

BACK LOWER THAN SIDES

GLUE BOTTOM INTO FRONT ONLY DO NOT GLUE INTO SIDES

BACK TRIMMED TO REST ON BOTTOM

RABBET BOTTOM FOR GROOVES

GLUE BOTTOM INTO FRONT ONLY DO NOT GLUE INTO SIDES

SOLID WOOD BOTTOM

Since dovetails are usually reserved for drawers (and furniture) of rather high quality, you may want to make a solid wood bottom (instead of using plywood). The problem with solid wood is that it's going to move (expand/contract with seasonal changes in humidity). If a solid wood bottom were glued into a rabbet, it wouldn't be free to move, and sooner or later it would split. So, it must be mounted with the stopped groove method.

The solid wood bottom can be glued up of slightly thicker wood than the groove.

BACK TRIMMED TO REST ON BOTTOM

RABBET BOTTOM FOR GROOVES

Then the edges are chamfered (just like a raised-panel in a door), or rabbeted to form a tongue to fit the groove.

The primary consideration, however, is the direction of the grain, Fig. 4. The grain must run across the width of the draw er. That is, so the end grain is mounted in the drawer sides.

The front edge of the bottom can be glued into the groove in the drawer front to hold it in place. However, the edges in the drawer sides must be free to move (no glue is used). Also, the back should be trimmed so it rests on top of the solid wood bottom. This allows the w ood to move freelv.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

Wood finishing can be tricky and after spending hours on building your project you want to be sure that you get the best outcome possible. In The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing you will learn how to get beautiful, professional results no matter what your project is, even if you have never tried your hand at wood finishing before. You will learn about every step in the wood finishing process from a professional wood finisher with years of experience.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment