Step

To prepare ihe drawer front, begin by making a face side on the wood. A face side is flat in length and width, with no twist. Now, establish a face edge, which is straight and square to the face side, and plane the wood to thickness. These are your reference surfaces: Face sides always go to the inside, and face edges always go downward. Next, crosscut the right-hand end of the front and mark it with a quadrant. (See photo, left.) Saw the length and width to less than Vs in. larger than the opening—that is, within planing distance. Offer the wood up to the drawer opening. Now: •Match the face edge to the case. If the bottom of the opening has a little curve from one side to the other, plane the face edge to match.

•Fit the right end. The opening might not be truly square. With a very sharp bench plane—not a little block plane—trim the square end of the wood to match the case. Then take another one or two shavings off the inside edge, so the wood has a minuscule taper toward the face side.

•Fit the left end. Plane the left end to match the shape of the case and minutely taper it toward the inside, so the front enters halfway. There is a point of no return: Go too far. and the drawer front will be too short.

•Fit the top edge. Plane the wood so the drawer front just enters the case. Take one or two extra shavings toward the face side.

Plug the drawer front partway into the opening. (See photo, left.) It should fit like the cork in a bottle of wine.

Fit the drawer back and sides.

Prepare and mark a face side and edge on each drawer side and on the drawer back. Crosscut the sides square and to their finished length. So there's no confusion, quadrant-mark the outside bottom front corner of each drawer side, as shown. (See photo, right.) When there's more than one drawer, number the pieces inside the quadrant. Plane the top edge until the drawer side goes halfway in.

The drawer back fits the opening from side to side, but it sits up on the drawer bottom, and there should be V4 in. of clearance at the top as well. (See Fig. 2.) Register the back's top edge with the top of the case opening, and fit the ends as you did the front. As you plane the drawer back, remember that its face side goes to the inside of the drawer. When it's in the front opening, the face side looks at you.

Facing confusion. The face side mark, on the inside of the drawer side, points toward the face edge, which goes downward. Draw a quadrant on the outside bottom front corner to eliminate any confusion.

Fit the drawer front.

Fits like a cork. The two-shaving taper planed on the edges of the drawer front is so small you can barely see it against a try square. But it's just enough to allow the front to enter partway, and go no farther.

FIG. 3: STUDY DRAWER DETAILS

FIG. 3: STUDY DRAWER DETAILS

These proportions yield an elegant drawer joint, but you can vary them to suit yourself. The drawer bottom slides under the drawer back. Plane the parts to fit the opening before you join and assemble the drawer.

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