Locking Rabbet

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Even though the drawers of the DVD case are small, they're sure to get a lot of wear and tear. So to make sure the drawers stand the test of time, I used a locking rabbet joint to attach the front to the sides.

START WITH A CENTERED GROOVE. Detail 'a' on the opposite page shows you what an assembled locking rabbet joint looks like. This may look challenging at first. But you can make this joint with a few simple steps.

The first thing you'll need to do is cut a centered groove on each end of the drawer front. You can see how I did this in the photo and Fig. 1 at right. But there are a few things I should point out.

First, I used a l/i" straight bit and set the bit to cut the full depth. Then using an auxiliary table you can cut the groove in two passes.

To do this, you'll want to be sure you have the fence set to center the groove perfectly. This is where some test pieces can really help you out. By making a few practice cuts and then adjusting the fence, you'll be able to quickly center the groove.

I wanted to be sure I made a clean cut at both ends of the groove. So I used a backer board to support the workpiece. This eliminates the chance of any chipout as the router bit exits the end of the workpiece.

Now, you can go ahead and make the cuts on all the drawer fronts.

TRIMMING THE TONGUE. After making the grooves, you'll need to trim away part of the drawer front to create a tongue. This tongue fits the dado you'll be cutting in the side of the drawer. In Fig. 2 at right, you can see how I used a W' straight bit to trim the tongue to final length.

COMPLETING THE JOINT. All that's left to complete the locking rabbet joint is to cut a narrow dado in each drawer side to mate with the tongue. For this you'll need to switch to an Vis" straight bit. Again, Fig. 3 at right covers the setup you'll need to get the fit of the tongue just right. OS

To center a groove in the ends of the drawer front, use a 'A" straight bit and set the depth to make a full Vi" deep cut. Next, add an auxiliary table and adjust the fence. Make one pass, and then remove the auxiliary table, then make a second pass.

Next, you'll need to trim the end of the drawer front to create a small tongue. To do this in a single pass, I used the V4" straight bit already installed in my router and the setup shown in detail 'a.' Here again, a backer board prevents the back edge from chipping out.


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+ W board straight 1

j f



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All that's left to complete the locking rabbet joint is to cut a narrow dado in each side piece to fit the tongue on the drawer front. For this you'll need to install a V straight bit and make a single pass. Detail 'a' shows you the setup you'll need for doing this.


NOTE: . Trim tongue on inside face of front

END VIEW Backer board v C r "tit* v





NOTE: . Trim tongue on inside face of front


This project combines the best of both worlds — a modern, elegant design with basic, traditional joinery. Simple techniques make it easy.

Here's a project I've been looking forward to building for some time. This queen-size bed completes the five-piece bedroom suite that includes an armoire, dresser, night stand, and wall mirror. (To see all of these projects together, check out the photo on the back cover.)

To match the contemporary look of the other pieces, we decided to build a platform-style bed. With this type of design, no box spring is needed. So you end up with a sleek, low-profile bed. But best of all, the clean, simple design makes building a large project like this very straightforward.

For starters, the headboard and footboard are both put together with basic mortise and tenon joinery. Nothing fancy or tricky here. All you have to do is chop a few mortises, cut some tenons to fit, and you're almost done. And the panels in headboard simply slide into grooves cut into the frame pieces. To complete the job, you just cut a couple of rails, install some simple hardware, and the bed is ready to assemble.

Cap doweled to legs ^

Cap hides joinery at top of headboard


NOTE: Bed is sized for a queen-size mattress

NOTE: Bed rail fasteners allow frame to be easily assembled or disassembled

Fastener mortised into leg

Headboard and footboard assembled with mortise and tenon joinery

Sturdy plywood platform supports mattress

Footboard legs are chamfered on bottom and top edges

Gentle curve on footboard rail

I Cleats are glued and screwed to rails

Top rail rests in slot mortise

Chamfered cap

Bed rail fastener mortised into end of side rail (See page 49 for sources of hardware)

Leg blanks glued up from two pieces of stock plywood panels are seated in full-width grooves

NOTE: Headboard panels are stained contrasting colors before assembly

Plywood platform rests on cleats—

Grain of panels runs vertically

Vt' plywood used for platform



NOTE: Rails and stiles are cut from 3A"-thick stock

NOTE: Headboard panels are 3A" plywood



'A' chamfer at bottom of legs




NOTE: Panels are set in full-width grooves that are cut in multiple passes by flipping rails to sneak up on final width

NOTE: Groove centered on rail


Thickness of 44* plywood

Dado blade

NOTE: Leg blanks are glued up from two pieces of V/2"-thick stock f Vr-\+- b*— On this project, I decided to get the most involved work out of the way A first. That means I started by put-

gj^ ting together the headboard.

(LOOK IT OVER. Take a look at the drawing above and you'll get a good idea of how the headboard is yi/4 put together. You'll see that it's really nothing more than a large, mortise J and tenon frame.

You start with two sturdy legs and join them with three rails. The space between the upper rails is filled by a pair of vertical stiles and three plywood panels set into grooves. I think the main challenge you'll find might just be the large size of the headboard. But it's not unmanageable.

THE LEGS. To get started, you'll need to make the two stout, 3"-square legs. These will give you a solid foundation. As you can see above, the leg blanks are glued up from two pieces of lW-thick stock. Once that job is completed, you can cut them to length, and then turn your attention to the mortise and tenon joinery.

THE LEG JOINERY. As shown in the left margin, each leg has three mortises. Two long mortises for the lower and middle rails, and a narrower, open mortise to capture the upper rail. This open-ended mortise makes the assembly go a little easier and it will be hidden by a cap piece added later. Finally, a shallow groove, sized to hold the side panels, connects the two upper mortises.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE. But before you get started on the layout, let me point out a couple things you need to know. First, as shown above, you want to orient the leg blanks so the glue lines are along the sides of the headboard. They'll be a lot less noticeable this way.

The second item has to do with the width of the mortises and the grooves in the frame. I did things just a bit differently here.

To keep things simple, I wanted to set the three plywood panels into full-width, centered grooves cut into the frame parts. But now since 3/4"

plywood is usually a bit undersize, this requires cutting custom-sized grooves to get a good, snug fit. I didn't want to cut full 3/i"-wide mortises and then have to cut slightly narrower grooves. So what it boils down to is that I sized the width of the mortises to the plywood as well. It's a pretty minor compromise that makes the joinery go a lot easier.

GETTING TO WORK. Now you're ready to get busy laying out the joinery. I just kept a scrap of the plywood in my apron pocket to use for a layout and joinery gauge.

Once the layout is complete, the drill press, a couple of sharp chisels, and the router table will take care of the hard work. The box at right will lead you through the process.

When you finish routing the groove in the last step, you'll want to stay at the router table for just a bit longer. Install a chamfer bit and then use it to ease the bottoms of the legs. This will keep them from chipping when the bed is moved.

RAILS AND STILES. With the legs ready to go, you can turn your attention to connecting them. Your first task is to cut the the three rails and the two stiles to size. Once this was done, I swapped out the standard blade on my table saw for a dado blade to handle the joinery.

Here again, you want to work around your panel plywood. So first, I cut the centered grooves in the upper and middle rail and the two stiles for the panels. Just sneak up on the width of the groove by turning the pieces end for end between passes, as in detail 'c.'

After the grooves are completed, all the pieces get tenons on both ends. Since the tenons on the rails and stiles are all the same thickness, I first cut the stub tenons on the stiles to get the blade setting right. (Bury the blade in an auxiliary fence.) Then you can cut the longer tenons on the three rails, as in detail 'a.'

THE PANELS. With the joinery complete, all you need now are the three plywood panels. After cutting them to size, I did a dry fit of the headboard and then gave some thought on how to approach the glueup.

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