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Keeping inset consistent in dovetailed drawer

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Forum topic by mision56 posted 06-01-2018 05:07 PM 527 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mision56

56 posts in 998 days


06-01-2018 05:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dovetails drawers drawer fitting inset drawer case work hand tools

Hey Everyone,
As a skill stretch i am planning to cut half blind dovetails on an end table drawer. I’ve cut enough dovetails that I’m fairly confident on that part, but the drawer will be the first one I do inset and I’m wondering how to keep the inset consistent without using a false drawer front.

In the past, I’ve always done false fronts and used the playing card trick for alignment, but here the drawers position will be determined by the dovetails and I’m curious if there are tricks or best practices for this?

Table is included in the image below with a piece of MDF I used for getting the drawer size.

Any tips or just referral to somewhere this might be discussed is appreciated.


8 replies so far

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1905 days


#1 posted 06-01-2018 05:22 PM

Not 100% sure this is you answer but I leave the tails in the back about an 1/8” long so I can trim to fit.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Woodknack

12842 posts in 2799 days


#2 posted 06-01-2018 05:26 PM

Generally you’ll build the drawer snug and plane to fit.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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mision56

56 posts in 998 days


#3 posted 06-01-2018 05:36 PM

So I probably shouldn’t have fit the drawer before cutting my joinery?

Doh!!!

Oh well, I used some knotty sections thinking it would look cool but was leaning towards remaking it anyway.


Generally you ll build the drawer snug and plane to fit.

- Woodknack


View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4067 days


#4 posted 06-01-2018 05:59 PM

You can put stops in the back so the front
protrudes just a little, then plane that back.

Chris Becksvoort puts all the drawers in
his cases and sands the faces and frame flush
with a belt sander.

In terms of the shadow line, I think of it as
a fool-the-eye sort of thing. Make the drawer
as snug as you dare and then mark the reveal
around the front and put a bevel on it to make
the shadow line.

In a fine drawer the drawer parts can be fitted
to the hole before joints are cut. There are
little tricks of the trade involving stuff like putting
slight tapers in the shape so it looks good when
closed but isn’t hard to open in the wrong season.

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Woodknack

12842 posts in 2799 days


#5 posted 06-01-2018 09:02 PM



So I probably shouldn t have fit the drawer before cutting my joinery?

Doh!!!

Oh well, I used some knotty sections thinking it would look cool but was leaning towards remaking it anyway.

- mision56

Well it depends on how accurate you were, they might be fine. The most important thing is they are even and all look the same. There are different approaches to furniture, some build to tight tolerances using a high amount of accuracy and precision but woodworking is pre-industrial and doesn’t require it. You can make the drawer fit the hole and it’s okay if every drawer isn’t identical as long as they look identical. Just number the drawers so you don’t get them mixed up. It needs to look right, not be right, if you get my meaning.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Rich

4555 posts in 1008 days


#6 posted 06-01-2018 09:43 PM

I see you’re getting a variety of answers to two different interpretations of your question. I’ll chime on both. This is how I do it. There are countless other ways.

Reveal is the space around the drawer front between it and the frame around it — usually between 1/32 and 1/16 inch. For that, cut the front to fit the opening perfectly, build the drawer and table (I build the table first and then measure for the drawer dimensions) and then, with the table upside down and the drawer in its place, use spacer blocks to get the drawer perfectly level and square to the table. If you’re using the table top as the upper part of the drawer opening (which I dislike), then you can use dimes or pennies for spacers. If there is a narrow apron strip between the drawer and table top, the spacers should be that thickness plus the upper reveal. I then attach the guides and runners (each side is an assembly, not separate items) and let the glue dry (I like to use hide glue and glue blocks to attach the guides and runners to the table). Plan on doing some block plane work and chisel paring to taper the ends of the guides and runners flush with the opening. Otherwise, the drawer will hit on them when you slide it in. If you do it right, the drawer will slide into the opening and be guided into position and held snugly to ensure equal reveal all around.

What I would call inset is having the drawer front flush to the face of the apron. I do that by gluing down stops flush with the back of the apron. Since I cut the drawer front from the same stock I use for the aprons in order to get a nice grain match, that’s a no-brainer since the apron thickness is the same as the drawer front.

I can’t stress enough that this is just how I do it. It’s not the only way, but I like it because it’s virtually foolproof. You are using the drawer itself to position the guide and runner assemblies and the equal thickness of the drawer front and apron to get it flush.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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Woodknack

12842 posts in 2799 days


#7 posted 06-01-2018 10:21 PM

When he mentioned playing cards I assumed he meant reveal but I may have misinterpreted the question.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Rich

4555 posts in 1008 days


#8 posted 06-01-2018 10:32 PM


When he mentioned playing cards I assumed he meant reveal but I may have misinterpreted the question.

- Woodknack

Yeah, that’s how I interpreted it too. There were some answers regarding getting it flush with the front. Both are important.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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