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Thread: Drawer Lessons Learned

  1. #1
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    Drawer Lessons Learned

    Well i made 5 large drawers for the dresser a while back and to coin a phrase "it wasn't a walk in the park" so after that i did some correcting on my methods.. and it made a world of difference in the next batch of ten.. to some this maybe old hat but to others that have been holding off on making drawers this may help to avoid some of the misgivings that can arise during the process..

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    lay out your pieces and mark them for what side they go even if its evident, our mind seems to do things it shouldnt sometimes
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    check fit before glue up, and then make corrections for fit, nothing is worse than thinking its all good
    and the bottom wont fit in the grove while you have glue on already!! also take and sand the edge of the grove to allow for a easier start in the grove..
    makes a world of difference when glue is trying to dry on you
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    now lay your parts out in the sequence they need to go in and have the glue pan ready,, this trick is a off shoot from glenn's pot,,
    this cleans up easily with just a few bends of the lid, and you can get at the glue much easier than handling a bottle for all of it
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    these bessy setup blocks make for a nice square clamp up, and and allows for the clamps to be away from the wood so as to not mar it..
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ID:	74821 So now on the next step, Sanding them and fitting them in the dresser
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    I like your idea of using the set up blocks for the drawers I use them for doors but never thought of using them for drawers, will next time

  3. #3
    Wow that sure is alot of clamps for one drawer.

    How tight do your dove tails fit? When I cut mine they need a little tap to go tegether when dry. I apply the glue and tap them together , check for square and move on to the next one. At most I might use two spring clamps to hold a wooden square in place till the glue sets in about 30 minutes for ones that give me any trouble.

  4. #4
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    Well Captain i like the glue idea that is going to be adopted in my shop. I think its way better than struggling with the bottle which is what i have been doing in the past. Also so what if some gets wasted. rate at which i use glue it will be good to get rid of some this way because i got a better chance of keeping it fresh if i have to buy more often. thanks for the wake up.

    Now i want to ask some stupid questions.

    First why use such good looking wood for a draw? Draws in my view dont really get seen. I know you king of wood and so for you whatever wood this is probably economical for you to use but say it were me or for sale surely there are lower cost options to get price of "custom or at least solid wood made furniture down a bit.

    Second
    How did your groove get out of place such that it needed trimming? Is this something that you did before the dovetails or is it the dovetails that are shifting it sideways.
    Would it change things if the groove was cut after the joint was cut. I dunno so dont think i am trying to be clever. My draws i have made to date all suck and are all but jointed ply.

    Third
    Having seen a relatively recent post of the incra box joint jig is there not merit in using box joints as a simpler way of speeding up the production process versus the dovetail.

    I was planning on one of those jigs for my bday because of how impressed i was by the reports and results others have had versus the performance and setup issues involved in the pc dovetail jig. I guess what i am getting at is if the customer knows squat about a dovetail and does not see it as value in the sense of attractive and mechanical then are there any points to be had in doing them from a time/cost incurred versus selling price and productivity/throughput point of view.

    Thanks for sharing the insight gained. I got lots to learn still.
    cheers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Thomasville, GA
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    Good job, Larry! I know what you mean about getting the parts organized and laid out in the correct order!!! It took me a couple of do-overs to understand the importance of patience!

    A couple of questions:

    1) I assume since you ran your dadoes all the way on the side pieces that you're using a seperate drawer front. Correct?

    2) It looks like you used a lock rabbet to attach the back to the sides. Correct? That's what I do on almost all of the drawers I make. For shop drawers, I use lock rabbets all the way around and have had no problems.

    Keep up the great work!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  6. #6
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    rob, oak and ash to larry is probably the cheapest wood he can find(looks like one of those 2 to me)
    and dovetails are just prettier than box joints, especially in a piece of furniture.

    the drawers look pretty darn perfect from here larry, always my nightmare, I always cut extra pieces in case I mess any of them up.
    Human Test Dummy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Bienlein View Post
    Wow that sure is alot of clamps for one drawer.

    How tight do your dove tails fit? When I cut mine they need a little tap to go together when dry. I apply the glue and tap them together , check for square and move on to the next one. At most I might use two spring clamps to hold a wooden square in place till the glue sets in about 30 minutes for ones that give me any trouble.
    alan i had a mishap on the DTails and they were not as tight as they should have been on half of them as for clamps well lets say that some of that wood had a little cup to it. as for the setup of clamps i had the lock rabbet in the back and that caused me to make things go together a little tougher

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post

    Now i want to ask some stupid questions.

    First why use such good looking wood for a draw?

    Second
    How did your groove get out of place such that it needed trimming? Is this something that you did before the dovetails or is it the dovetails that are shifting it sideways.
    Would it change things if the groove was cut after the joint was cut. I dunno so dont think i am trying to be clever.

    Third
    Having seen a relatively recent post of the incra box joint jig is there not merit in using box joints as a simpler way of speeding up the production process versus the dovetail.
    well rob first question that is ash which was cheap and and i had it, with the dying of the trees its going to be going up in price soon i assume. the other one was made out of this so i made these the same, groove problem was the fault of not holding the piece down tight on the router table to make the groove, couldnt get the dado thin enough and needed it for another cut so ran a slot cutter on the Rtable. as for DTails over the box joint,, dont have a box joint jig and once again the first one was made this way so had to follow threw..i think having a captured bottom adds to the difficulty of drawer making when using some joinery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    A couple of questions:

    1) I assume since you ran your dadoes all the way on the side pieces that you're using a seperate drawer front. Correct?

    2) It looks like you used a lock rabbet to attach the back to the sides. Correct? That's what I do on almost all of the drawers I make. For shop drawers, I use lock rabbets all the way around and have had no problems.
    yes, a lock rabbet on the back and yes, on false frnts, makes fitting the frnts much easier and i dont have to worry about having a miscue on some grain matched wood with the frnts being half blinds,, and back to rob the time factor is much to long and needs to be shortened.

    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    rob, oak and ash to larry is probably the cheapest wood he can find(looks like one of those 2 to me)
    and dovetails are just prettier than box joints, especially in a piece of furniture.
    well allen they arent perfect!! and i will be glad when these are out of here,, and ash was what i had that was cheapest at the time, now i have some soft maple that will be used up next.

    Alan B, i could use some of your experience in getting things done faster and another reasonb for the ash is wear factor on the drawers i am using wooden guides and the drawer slides on its sides like the old ones used to..ash is hard and will slide well.
    Last edited by larry merlau; 04-06-2013 at 06:50 PM.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
    Honestly Larry I never saw the advantage of doing a different style joint for the back of the drawer. You need to do a different setup for the joinery and cut a different length piece. I just do dove tails on all four corners. One less setup for cutting my sides and front and back. Dove tail jig is already setup so no extra time there and if for some reason something goes wrong you can always rotate the drawer 180 degrees and make the front the back as they are the same.

    I use the lower end PC dovetail jig and I found if it's setup right you can cut all of your drawer pieces off of one side instead of doing the left sides on one side and the right sides on the other. What a waste of time that is.

    If I was closer Larry I'd be willing to physically help you any way I could. But since I'm not I'm just a pm or a phone call away.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Bienlein View Post
    ... I never saw the advantage of doing a different style joint for the back of the drawer. ...
    I got into the habit of using lock rabbets on the backs of drawers because it's the same setup on my router table as when making the dado for the bottom. I already have the 1/4" bit set up for the dado and it's the same cut for the vertical dado
    toward the back edge of the sides. Then, a quick shift of the fence to flush with the router bit sets up for the rabbet in the ends of the backs.

    At this point, I'll also run a rabbet around the edge of my drawer bottoms when I use 1/2", which I do frequently. That way, they slide into the dado in the sides and front, and the bottom of the bottom is flush with the sides and front. Obviously, I don't use captured bottoms (normally). I brad or screw the back edge of the bottom into the back of the drawer box.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  10. #10
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    Mar 2007
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    Just as a teaser, in my dovetail demo at Burning Wood this June is the entire process of making drawers, including preparing stock. It is useless to know how to do one dovetailed corner. It is more useful to know how to do dovetailed drawer boxes that fit their opening. More in June.....
    ++++++

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