IL Drawers with a Different Dovetail

The assembled drawer is clean and functional. The sliding dovetail joint is a natural for this application, since its shape mechanically resists the tendency of the front to separate from the sides. And assembly is quick—no fasteners or clamps required.

common size of dovetail bit, too, being the size any router bit ser includes. Adjust the cutting depth to V* inch. Sci the fcncc so the slot's ccnterlinc will be Y* inch from the end of the drawer front. Test it by slotting some scraps of the working stock.

To cut the slots, butt the workpiece end against the fence, back it up with a plywood sled, and feed the work from left to right, cutting the slot.

The dovetail joint is traditionally used in drawers because it has mechanical strength. Think about how you jerk drawers open and slam them shut. Use a namhy-pambyjoint, and one day you'll yank that drawer and its front'11 pull off.

That's not likely to happen with a dovetailed drawer. Its tapered interlocks will hold the joint together, even if the glue fails.

But real dovetails arc time-consuming to make, even if you use a dovetailing jig and your router. The sliding dovetail gives you the mcchanical strength of the dovetail without demanding a lot of your shop time in return. It requires one basic router table setup, with a fence shift about halfway through. No parts to clamp and unclamp, clamp and unclamp, as with a dovetailing jig.

Here's how to do it.

Each slot in the drawer front has to be inset about a half-inch so its shoulder has enough meat to resist splitting out. In most cases, you need to provide space for drawer slides, and this overhang will conceal them. If you use the same ofiset in cutting the slots in the sides for the back, you extend the use of the first setup, thus To conceal the end of the dovetail saving time. slot in the drawer front, the tail

Fit a '/»-inch dovetail bit ir. the table- routed on the end of the side must be mounted router. This bit will work trimmed slightly. The easiest way to whether the drawer sides are Winch do it is to snick off the end, as shown, stock or Vi-inch stock. It's the most at the same time you cut the tail.

pretty difficult setup to achieve, you can always center the slot by making two passes, one with each of the two faces against the fence. Though the slot Ls wider dian the bit diameter, this shouldn't be a problem, since you will next cut the tail to fit whatever size slot you have.

To cut the tail, you must reset the fence, but don't monkey with the bit height. Leave it right where it was when you cut the slot. In setting the fence, don't ever position it so that the work is trapped between it and the bit. Always bury the bulk of

Rouring the dovetail slot in two passes centers it across the edge, hut you have to pay attention to the position of the ait to avoid feed direction problems when you do. The first pass is never a problem. But be sure the hit is cutting the slot wall farthest away from the fence on the second pass—as shown here—so the pass can he made right to left, as usual.

You may want to stop the dovetail slots shy of the front's top edge. If so, clamp a stop block to the fence. The problem is that feeding left to right, as is proper, you can make only one slot in the drawer front. To cut the second slot, you have to feed the work in the opposite direction. Yes, it's the wrong direction. Because it is the wrong direction, you need to be especially watchful that the bit doesn't force the workpiecc away from the fence.

If the stopped slot is what you want, set the fence and stop, and make one slot in each drawer front. Then shift the stop to the left side of the bit and make a second slot in each drawer front.

The slots in the sides will surely be through slots, which you can cut before or after the fronts.

With all the slots cut, including a few in scraps, you must shift the fence to cut the tails. Don't change the bit height; the height for the slots also works for the tails. Move the fence so the bit is all but concealed. Make test cuts on your scraps and test how the resulting tails fit the slots.

Now the fit you want is such that the bit in the fence, letting the cut be made by the small section diat protrudes. Set the fence, then form the tail by making two passes. This will center the tail on the stock.

The most common approach here? Make a fat tail, and in a series of adjustments, work to thin it down just enough to fit the slot. Remember as you adjust the fence after the first cutting that you'll be doubling whatever amount you move it, because you make two passes to form the tail. And since moving only-one end of the fence halves the change at the bit, you should move one end of the fence the amount you want to change the cut. Confusing, huh? Here's an example: If the tail is ]At inch too wide, move one end of the fence Mo inch. This changes the cut by lAi inch at the bit. Taking '/w inch off each side of the tail will reduce its width Mt> inch.

When you cut the work, it's a good idea to use featherboards to jam the work against the fence. If the work docs drift off the fence— and because the actual cut is so shallow, it doesn't have to drift far to have impact—it can leave a section of the tail too thick to fit the slot. The uneven thickness probably won't be obvious, and that's a disaster just awaiting assembly. Prevention is the best cure. Though it's an extra setup step, the featherboards can save several extra assembly steps. For good measure, zip the stock past the bit twice on each side.

As good as the router table is, the horizontal router table is even better. Consider that you can rest the work flat on the table to cut the tails or to slot an edge.

the parts will assemble easily, without serious persuading. The assembly process probably will take just enough time that the wood will absorb a little moisture from the glue, causing it to swell. The slot will be a Utile narrower, the tail a little fatter. If a dry fit is tight, a damp fit will be impossible. Fit the tails accordingly. Make fence adjustments as necessary. then cut the tails.

If you cut stopped slots, you need to trim the tails on the sides with a chisel.

With the sliding dovetails cut, change

One stopped dovetail slot in each drawer front must be routed using a climb cut (feeding left to right). In my experience, this sounds dicier than it turns out to be. The stop clamped to the fence limits the length of the cut, preventing you from inadvertently routing a through sloi.

your setup to cut slots for the drawer bottom.

To assemble the drawer, apply a bit of glue to the leading edges of the tails and slide them into their slots. The glue will be spread along the tail and slot as the two slide against one another. After front, sides, and back are joined, slide the bottom into its grooves and drive a couple of brads through it into the back. The bottom should square the drawer. Unless the fit of the sliding dovetails is unusually sloppy, you shouldn't need to clamp rhe drawer.

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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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