Next, carefully mark the outline of the tails onto the pin board (drawer front). So, a drawer that measures 16″ deep and 24″ wide would have the grain running side to side. It is no fun to cut out the wrong pieces. When the drawers are ready, plane the sides flush with the front; be careful not to reduce the size of the drawer front. When fitting the completed drawer boxes, the drawer front can always be planed to achieve the desired fit and appearance. Remove the piece from the jig and test the fit with one of the tail boards. With a sharp block plane, I took light shavings from the drawer guides (which were glued to the drawer web and flanked the opening) on each side. The sides and the front will have a 1/4″ groove cut near the bottom inside edge of each piece. Cut the pins fat and pare them just shy of the line. After gluing up the panels, sand them to fair the seam and smooth the surface. Now the opening can be adjusted more precisely. So you need a 1/2 inch on the bottom to hide the grove. Once you've finished cutting the tails on both ends of one side piece, complete the opposite side piece in the same manner. In all honesty, it really does not matter. Dry-fit one of the two sides with both the front and back of the drawer assembly. With several light, careful strokes, the drawers were planed to a tight fit. It's the traditional joint of choice for joining boards at right angles. I do not mark out the angle to cut the tails at. But you just angle the saw so you don't cut the front of the drawer. Once the drawers are fitted, you can apply a small amount of wax to the bottom edges of the drawer sides and the guides. The bit should be adjusted to a 3/8" height above the table, with the fence 1/4" from the back-side of the bit. Generally, you want to run the grain in the direction of the longest dimension. In this video, I show you my process of finishing the box. I am starting a new project. That way, when the drawer box is assembled, the drawer side will sit proud of the drawer front, which allows the side to be planed flush with the end of the drawer face, without altering the size of the carefully fitted drawer front. Dovetails can be complex, but they do not need to be. ” gap all around the drawer front. Hardwood isn’t usually commercially available in less than 1″ thickness, so I re-saw my stock. If you look at 18th century furniture you will see these saw marks. However, one small advantage is they won’t be seen unless the drawer is fully withdrawn. This is the simplest and easiest way I know to hand cut a dovetail joint. On the interior surface of the drawer front, scribe a line about 1⁄32” less than the thickness of the drawer side. If you mill your sides to a thin dimension, you should consider using drawer slips for reinforcement and extra strength. If any adjustments are going to be necessary, it will be much easier to address before any glue is applied to the assembly. Short and sweet. The ... Quite a few years ago I thought I was ready to build real complex period furniture. Up to this point I thought I had tackled the difficult parts of the project. This is far more exact, and it requires fewer tools. This is just one method that does not require much thought or a pile of jigs. Just make sure you go out and try it yourself! I start with a chisel set back about 1/16" or so from the depth line and make a quick down stroke along the line. When building furniture, we probably spend as much time making the drawers as we do making the piece itself. Rip the stock with a circular saw or on a. 1/2 inch for the back and 5/8 inch for the front. This allows them to be planed during the fitting process. That is a good height for most objects stored in a typical desk. After all the sawing and chopping out it's time to put the drawer together. Cut the pins into the fourth side of the box in the same manner. Slide the stock forward while holding it firmly down onto the table and against the fence until the back edge reaches the first pencil mark. That is another good reason not to use a 3/4 inch dovetail in the front, my 5/8 inch give me an 1/8 in extra to help miss the edge. For this desk, I selected a single piece of mahogany, long enough for both drawer fronts and the center dividing strip between the drawers, then milled it to, Many woodworkers make the mistake of using material that is too thick, which produces heavy, clunky drawers. If it is too loose it is hard to make it bigger. These are three small blocks that are glued and clamped onto the front rail of the drawer web, just behind the drawer fronts. If not,  you can pare away a little so that it fits. But the drawer fronts and sides where a real challenge. After gluing up the panels, sand them to fair the seam and smooth the surface. I always say that folks won’t notice a small discrepancy in spacing or angle in your dovetails – they’ll only notice the gaps! Next, flip the board over and do the same thing from the other side until you break through. Then carefully angle the stock and lift the back edge off of the bit. Cutting the dovetails to leave the sides extended from the drawer front simplifies fitting and maintains the smallest possible gap between the drawer and carcase. Wasting away. Make a Dovetail Marking Gauge With Hand Tools: Let me describe how I made this gorgeous Dovetail Marking Gauge, using just hand tools.If you want to make one, you'll need the following materials and tools:Materials Hardwood (I used African Blackwood and African Padauk)Wood Glue (I used Titebond … Check the four joints to make sure they are properly seated. For this desk, I cut a couple of. From the February 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Selecting Material I plane a little more off the back end of a drawer, making the back slightly narrower than the front. On top of that, there may be small differences from board to board. While keeping pressure on the board, use a marking knife and transfer the marks to the end of the pin board. The are made from 12/4 stock. I recommend a light coat of shellac, lacquer or just wax. Issue #174. Drawer slips are small mouldings, placed along the interior of the drawer sides to prevent their splitting under a load or heavy use. The combined thickness of the rails is 1-1⁄2“, so I had 3″ for the drawers. You'll also likely need to change the bit to a straight-cutting bit. This amount makes for a good appearance and a strong joint. “, so I had 3″ for the drawers. Rip the sides 1⁄32” narrower than the opening and leave them about 1″ longer than necessary in case you need to re-cut the dovetails. ” kept them thick enough while making them lightweight, too. He currently teaches at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop. Basic skills on machines and with hand tools will produce crisp, clean work. Now the opening can be adjusted more precisely. It’s a good idea to provide some form of protection. You can see the drawer front and 1/2 thick back in the right of the picture. For instance, drawer stock for an 18th-century spice box or a contemporary jewelry box might be as thin as 1⁄8“. This is the simplest and easiest way I know to hand cut a dovetail joint. Patience. Basic skills on machines and with hand tools will produce crisp, clean work. I post a picture when I do the second one. Here is how I went about setting out and cutting my dovetails using hand tools and with some practice you can too. Choose what ever finish you think would compliment your box the best. Detailed information about the school’s classes is available online at This is the simplest and easiest way I know to Hand cut a Dovetail joint. As alway… You completed the dovetail box project. I allowed 24-1⁄2” leg clearance, giving me 4-1⁄2” for top and bottom rails, and my drawers. Many woodworkers make the mistake of using material that is too thick, which produces heavy, clunky drawers. Save up to 68% on 7 issues of woodworking projects and tricks. While traditional dovetails are cut by hand with a dovetailing saw and chisel, we're going to use a dovetail jig and a router. I use a marking gauge to make a grove for the depth of the dovetails. Particularly with pine, it is so soft. We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. ■ Good material. Drawers are expected to operate easily, without sticking or rattling around. Fitting the width of the drawer side to the height of the opening before building the drawer gives more control of the process. After the appropriate finish has been applied, attach the drawer pulls in their proper locations. This helps to keep them straight and the right size. This will allow the drawer bottom to float within the grooves, with a small amount of play. When gluing up, keep a damp rag nearby. To lay out your dovetails, follow the 1:8 rule or just lay them out at 10º, with half tails at each end and two full tails centered on the remaining space. These drawers are supported by and ride upon a web frame consisting of two latitudinal rails (front and rear) and three longitudinal rails (two side, one center). However, the box still wouldn’t slide fully into the desk. However, if you do need clamps, check the drawers for square. Assembling and fitting the drawer before installing the drawer bottom allows precise placement of stops glued to the lower rail. Finally ready to glue up the chair. I cut the slips on the table saw with a careful sequence of cuts that yielded the slender parts. Cut the 1/4" plywood bottom to size. When making your drawer bottoms and orienting the grain, take the size of the drawer into account. This amount makes for a … Rabbeted reveal. For this desk, I selected a single piece of mahogany, long enough for both drawer fronts and the center dividing strip between the drawers, then milled it to 3⁄4” thickness. Proud sides. With thin drawer stock a jeweler’s saw or coping saw will remove the waste between tails quickly and without the risk of damaging the work by chopping between the tails with a chisel. I put the chisel in the grove that I made with the marking gauge. Next, it is time to just cut. In the front there is room for 3/4 inch but I like 5/8 so that is what I use.


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