Built-In Bed #13: Drawers & Fronts

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Blog entry by Scott R. Turner posted 01-14-2011 03:12 AM 4427 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Woodworkus Interruptus Part 13 of Built-In Bed series Part 14: Drawer Fronts »

I don’t think I’ve posted a picture of the bookcase sides with shelves and the decorative top piece installed. Here’s what they look like:

You can see that they’re already in use.

With my practice drawer out of the way and fairly successful, I moved on to building the first four drawers for the built-in. These are all 6” tall and 15×20 inches, so I can conveniently make them from 1/2” stock from the local Big Box Store. The quality of this stock is actually pretty good; it’s generally straight and uniform in thickness. Sometimes an edge is banged up, but this can be concealed on the bottom of the drawer.

Out came the chop saw and the dovetailing jig and a few hours later I had a stack of drawers.

No real problems – the first few joints were loose in one way or another so I tweaked the setup and the rest were fine. Then it was on to cutting the rabbet for the drawer bottom. (I’m using 1/4” birch plywood for the bottoms.) I’d realized after doing the practice drawer that since I was using plywood for the bottoms and half-blind dovetails, I could do a four-side rabbet and bury the rabbet in a tail. So I set up a 1/4” straight bit in the router table and ran off 16 rabbets.

Then it was time to assemble the drawers. This was a little trickier than I expected. With a four-side rabbet and a trapped bottom, the glue up becomes a little cumbersome and I kept getting drops of glue on the drawer sides. There was also another slight problem, which I’ll get to in a minute. Here’s a picture of one of the assembled drawers.

Now, if you have a keen eye for woodworking, you may notice an unusual feature on this drawer, namely that it seems to have a rabbet on the outside top of the drawer side. Sadly, it does. After I’d finished rabbeting all the sides, I discovered that I’d rabbeted the wrong face of the drawer sides.


Fortunately the 6” height of the drawers goes evenly into the number of tails on my dovetailing jig, so I was able to flip each board over and end for end and still assemble the drawers. This puts the first incorrect rabbet on the top outside of each drawer side as shown above. Later I’ll put a thin runner over each rabbet and call it a design feature :-).

The front of each drawer is going to have a decorative molding. I mocked it up in SketchUp and it looks like this:

These drawers will have a roughly 7”x16” front, so I was able to design the moulding out of 1×3 and 1×2 stock with a minimum of cutouts.

I’m making the side pieces with their half-moons by template routing. Here is the template and some practice pieces being rough-cut:

And here they are again after being routed and drilled out for dowels:

And finally, glued up:

I got a little sloppy and didn’t keep track of how I laid out the dowels, so I think I ended up with one of the rails swapped end for end or side for side. You can see a fairly ugly mismatch on the bottom right corner. No matter, really, because this piece is just for practice and sizing.

Tomorrow when the glue-up is dry I’ll get out an ogee bit and rout the inside of the molding and present it to Madame President for her approval.

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