# Thread: Rookie question on dovetailing

1. ## Rookie question on dovetailing

Ok, I should know the answer to this but.....

I always use through dovetails on my projects but for this particular job the fronts will be seen so half blinds are the way to go.
Im using 5/8" thick solid maple for the drawers. (Ill be cutting these on a PC 4112 jig)

My question is figuring the length of the sides to achieve the desired drawer length.

Here goes and if someone wouldn't mind checking my math for me it would be greatly appreciated.

For a 21" deep drawer I am thinking a 1/4" set back on front and back before the dovetail so that would give me a 3/8" depth. (is this sufficient for strength?)
This would mean 21" - 1/4"-1/4" = 20-1/2" for my sides?

2. Rich,

Why do you have a 1/4" "set back" on both the front and the back? Are you using half blind (or lap dovetails for our Brit friends) on the back? I would just use through dovetails on the back. Then the length of the sides should just be the length of the drawer minus the lap or set back at the drawer front.

If you are concerned about the depth of the tails overlap at the front, use a 1/8 lap or set back. If I was building a drawer that might contain some weight, I would probably go with a 3/4" front.

3. from a production standpoint it makes sense to do half blinds front and back as I will only need one set up. I have to make almost 30 drawer boxes for this job.

probably not a bad idea for the 3/4 inch front though too.

4. Do a storyboard from front to back. Mark off and label every space, so you have 'setbacks', thickness of fronts and backs, the back of the cabinet and whatever else you are accommodating. Then build one drawer and check every dimension. When that fits, go to town on the other 29.

Absolutely essential is that each piece is exactly the same size and thickness as its brethern. Labeling is your friend here. Don't try to remember anything! DAMHIKT! With 30 drawers to do, boredom sets in and the mind wanders and then opportunity for bad words to be spoken jumps up at you.

5. ## Rookie question on dovetailing

I was thinking hand cut, so ...

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6. ouch as Carol said my mind will be on a beach somewhere after feeding the first four parts into the jig.. hand cutting id be swinging from the rafters singing wizard of oz tunes!!

7. Your math is correct for my setup. 21" drawer takes a 20-1/2" side. Depending on the bit, you'll have to fudge it a bit if you want the drawer to be exactly your desired length. I've used brand new bits from the same manufacturer and what I thought was the same tightness of joint, produce two different length drawers.

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Join Date
Sep 2014
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28
"For a 21" deep drawer I am thinking a 1/4" set back on front and back before the dovetail so that would give me a 3/8" depth. (is this sufficient for strength?)"

I have no idea what this means. Are you talking about the DT's?

Drawer depth is not critical.

I don't even measure I just stick a side in all the way, make a mark and cut app 1" off.

For 1/2 blinds, allow ~1/8" so your front dt's will be 1/2".

5/8 is awful thick for a drawer side. I rarely ever go over 1/2" except for shop cabs or something.

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