Dovetailed drawer Print
Written by Sid Aksoy   

Dovetails

Basic cabinetry: Part 4, Making and fitting a dovetailed drawer

A dovetailed drawer is easier to make than most people think. Sure, a little practice on a few off-cuts is recommended before you attempt the actual drawer. But once you get a feeling for the tools and the timber at hand, you will always be ableto apply this skill to a good piece of furniture.

Dovetailed drawers are a giveaway sign of quality and a craftsman’s skill level and expertise. This little detail lets a prospective buyer know straightaway that the tradition of the craft is still alive and the product is a piece of quality, integrity, beauty and love. It is also a very sustainable approach to create long-lasting furniture. I have not seen well-made, dovetailed drawers fall apart.

To fit the front and sides, first measure the space between the sides of the carcase and the height between the rails and cut a piece of 19 mm thick timber to fit the dawer space.

I recommend that you fit the drawer front so that it goes in easily but without any gaps at this stage. Make sure that you mark the drawer-front with a triangle, as this is essential for knowing what is in and out, up and down.

Cut the drawer-front slightly tight and fit it with a hand plane. A fine-tuned block plane or even No.4 bench plane does a very good job here. I personally like wooden planes a lot and my Japanese “Miki” (Akio Uozumi) makes fitting a dream.

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