Problem Solver

Machine-dovetailing a drawer whose sides arc less wide (high) than its front need not stump you. It takes an extra setup step, but it can be done quite easily.

What you want to avoid is routing one socket too many in the drawer front. You know how it is. Routing along the fingers of the dovetail template tends to sap your attention. The router base is covering a lot of the work, and you can see there's still some uncut wood, so you kind of lose track. Then, OUCH! You've cut sockets right up to the end of the front. Just one too many!

You need to clamp a stop to arrest the router at the last template slot you intend to rout. You finish that slot and die router can't move any farther.

A drawer with sides that are lower than the front can be dovetailed confidctitly if you clamp a slop to the template.

With the router bit positioned in the last slot to be routed, butt a scrap against the base and clamp it to the template. The stop is the piece of light wood under Mr. Hands, and the last template slot the router can access is the fourth from the right. (The side has already been removed here, but be assured that you can rout both side and front at the same time.)

socket

socket

drawer front

DRAWER SIDE---

FLU SM DOVETAIL

SETUP FOR CUTTING RABBETED DOVETAILS

socket

SOCKET

END OF SLOT

Z'

SCRAP

DRAWER SIDE--

RABBETED DOVETAIL

SETUP 1

—•"lOEPTMr»— ENO CF SLOT ^ j ^.TEMPLATE

rabbet drawer front

POSITIONING SCRAP -—

rabbeted DOVETAIL SETUP 2

The logic in the setup for cutting rabbeted dovetails is evident in these section views. In the setup for cutting flush dovetails, the template overlays the front and side more or less equally. The tail thickness will match socket depth. When you rout tails on the sides in making the rabbeted dovetail—Setup 1—the position of the template duplicates that in the flush dovetail setup. To get a socket deep enough to accommodate the tails, the socket piece must be shifted forward the width of the rabbet— Setup 2.

Here's an assembled rabbeted dovetail joint. The rabbet in the drawer front can conceal a drawer slide or overlay the casework or the cabinet's face frame.

Naturally, you have to switch to the other end of the jig to rout the sockets in the other end of the drawer front.

After the sockets are routed, fit the drawer sides in place, one by one. and rout the tails. To help you position each side, and to prevent tear-out, clamp one of those scraps of drawer-front stock in place of the drawer front.

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