The Dovetails

The top and legs are joined with through dovetails. The worst part about cutting these dovetails is finding a way to clamp these rather large and heavy slabs in place to make the cuts. I wound up clamping them to the workbench with pipe clamps.

The actual cutting is just like any other dovetail, except there's a little problem with vibration because the slab is so wide. I might add that it took almost a full day just to cut and chop them out — mostly because I didn't want to blow a cut.

the pins. To start, the pins are marked out on the legs. Each of the pins is the same size. Looking at the outside face of the legs, the narrowest part of each pin is V2" wide, Fig. 2. To mark the angles on the end grain I used a setting of 1:5 (10°).

However, the spaces between the pins varies, increasing from 2Von the outside edges to 4" in the center. This spacing adds a rather nice custom-made look to the finished joint.

the tails. Once the pins are cut and chopped out, they are placed on the end of the slab for the top, and the cut lines for the tails are marked. Then it's just a matter of cutting and chopping out the waste sec-

i tions as with any dovetail.

fitting. The three slabs can now be dry-assembled (a somewhat frightening event). As the tails are pounded home, watch for any signs of splitting in the legs or top.

If everything goes well you can go ahead and trim the bottom edge of the legs square and glue up the table. If there are massive problems, there should be enough wood left on the legs to cut new pins, and the top will just have to be trimmed down a bit for new tails.

THE DRAWERS

If I may be permitted a little pat on the back, I think the mounting system for the drawers is kind of clever. Actually, the system we came up with was mostly the result of one problem leading to another.

The first problem we faced was how to support the drawers from the top (instead of from the bottom, or the middle of the sides, as is typical). The solution was to cut the drawers' sides extra-wide so they extended Yt above what would normally be the top edge. This allowed room for a groove along the top edge so we could hang the drawers from overhead guide bars.

the drawer fronts. After coming up with this mounting system, the first step was to cut the pieces for the drawer fronts and backs. The three drawer fronts should be laid out on one board and cut so there's a continuous grain pattern across the three fronts, Fig. 3. (The same goes for the drawer backs because they're visible from the other side of the table.)

The drawer fronts and backs are SV2" wide. The final length of these pieces is taken from the assembled table. First measure the distance between the legs (it should be 49") and subtract 1". (The 1" allows for the two V2" gaps between the outside drawers and the legs, see Fig. 3). Now divide the remainder by 3 to get the final length of each drawer. (I came up with a length of 16" for each piece.)

the sides. The drawer sides are cut 4" wide (VsTwider than the fronts and backs). The final length of the sides is 19V/ (1" less than the width of the table). This means the drawers will be recessed V2" from both the front edge and back edge of the table.

the dovetaii.s. Now the drawers can be assembled with through dovetails. If you managed to cut the dovetails on those slabs for the table, the drawers are no sweat.

Since all three drawers are exactly the same, and since I wanted to maintain the continuous grain patterns on the drawer fronts and backs, I clearly marked every piece to keep things organized.

Then I marked and cut the pins on the drawer fronts and backs, Fig. 4. When marking the tails (Fig. 5) be sure to leave the extra V2" width on the top edge of the drawer sides, Fig. 6.

-1:5 ANGLE TOP VIEW

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/i — 2V*"—«-j'/j

—— 2 V»"—"

vs[—-----4"--

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m--4"--

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SIDE VIEW

FIGURE 3 W SPACE ON BOTH ENDS —v

FIGURE 3 W SPACE ON BOTH ENDS —v

ALLOW FOR SAW KERFS

FIGURE 4

ALLOW FOR SAW KERFS

FIGURE 4

DRAWER FRONT AND BACK (SIX PIECES)

1:5 ANGLE

1:5 ANGLE

FACE SIDE

FIGURE 6

19 W

DRAWER SIDES (SIX PIECES)

19 W

DRAWER SIDES (SIX PIECES)

SIDES EXTEND V» ABOVE FRONT AND BACK

SIDES EXTEND V» ABOVE FRONT AND BACK

Woods m Ith

FIGURE 7

FIGURE 8

BOTTOM OF GROOVE ON THIS UNE

ROUND-OVER CORNER TO PENCIL UNE

DRY-ASSEMBLE AND MARK

DRAWER SIDE

THROUGH GROOVE

DRAWER FRONT

FIGURE 9

COUNTERBORE BOTH SIDES ON ENDS ONLY

TABLE TOP

RABBET

FIGURE 10

CENTER MIDDLE DRAWER ON BOTTOM OF TABLE

CENTER LINE

CENTER LINE

FIGURE 11

FIGURE 12

ALIGN GUIDE BARS ON MARKS _ AND DRILL PILOT HOLES

DRAWER SIDE

GUIDE BAR

DRAWER CENTERED ON BOTTOM

PLACE GUIDE BAR IN GROOVE AND MARK POSITION

ALIGN CENTER HOLE ON CENTER LINE

TABLE TOP

After the dovetails are cut, dry-assemble each drawer. Now the position of the groove for the guide bars can be marked. We wanted to mount the drawers side by side with no gap between them. To accomplish this we had to mount the drawer guides on the inside face of the drawer's sides. Which, in turn, meant the grooves for the drawer guides also had to be cut on the inside of the drawer.

To mark the position of the groove, mark the front edge as shown in Fig. 7. Then disassemble the drawer and use this mark to cut the W-wide groove. Finally, round-over the corner on both ends, Fig. 8.

Now the four pieces for the drawers can be glued up, but they must be square. I cut a piece of plywood to the inside dimensions of the drawers and placed it inside the drawers as they were clamped together to hold them square.

Normally, the drawer bottom would be cut and mounted at this point. But, in order to mount the drawer guide bars you have to have access through the drawer, so the drawer bottoms are installed later.

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