The Nightstands Build #4: Slicing the veneers and making the half-blind dovetail drawers

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Blog entry by Eric_S posted 10-10-2010 11:17 PM 6205 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: The Dry Fit Part 4 of The Nightstands Build series Part 5: The Nightstand Tops and how I messed them up »

Life got in the way again and it took me a few weeks longer to get a lot more done with the nightstands. I hope to have the stands finished by first or second week of November now. All thats left are the tops and fitting the drawers.

There are a few lessons I learned along the way, as always.

1) Don’t plane veneers thinner than 1/8” or you’re asking for trouble.
2) Before chiseling half blind dovetail pins, its best to sweep up the surrounding area in case you chip a pin it will be easier to find.

On to the pics :)

The original figure/curly cherry boards I chose for the ‘stands tops. I have lower quality veneer to use on the bottomside of the tops.

Resawing the veneers to approx 1/8”

...I said approx 1/8”

... after planing them just a bit.

Top of Nightstand #1

Luckilly I wont need that part of the veneers for the top. Thats from putting it through the planer. I raised the bed which helped, but only till it reached a certain thickness, then all hell broke loose. I ruined a few pieces but luckilly I managed to save 8 lucky tiles that matched for the most part. They don’t match perfectly because of the thicknessing but they still look nice :) Since I stopped thicknessing them all the way because of the blow out, they are not all the same thickness and will require sanding before I put them in a press.
Top of Nightstand #2


And now for the half blind dovetailed drawers. This is the first time I’ve done dovetails, so half blind was going to take me some extra patience. I think I managed to do each drawer side of pins in about 30-45 min per side. The tails were much easier. My marking gauge was very dull though so you can see it looks bad on the poplar. I think thats also why they didn’t join together as cleanly. The later ones I used an exacto knife since my marking is dull. Also I managed to chip some of the pins but luckilly was able to save the pieces and then glued them back during the drawer glue up. Front is cherry sides and back are poplar.

Cutting the drawer side tails together

After cutting tails, I put the drawer front in the vice lined up with the side of a hand plane so that I can rest the tail piece on top and mark the pins. The pins were then chiseled out by hand.

...and the chips from chiseling

First set of dovetails… not great

Second set…getting better

7th set…much much better

Drawer pieces finished

..glued up. You only see 3 because I ran out of clamps and had to wait. The backs were joined to the sides with a rabbet. Nothing fancy.

Test fit of one stand while the 4th drawer was being glued up. The drawers need a little cleaning up but not bad for my first drawers ever. I was super happy when they slid in very smoothly.

So next time i get in the shop, I’ll be pressing the tops and adding 3/4” maple edging to frame them. And then its more sanding and finishing. I wanted maple for the drawer pulls, but my LOML outvoted me with metal drawer pulls that match the curves. Now we just have to find them ;)

Thanks for looking.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

5 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3137 days

#1 posted 10-11-2010 01:14 AM

It’s looking great, Eric !

I think your hand-cut dovetail #7 looks about as good as my seventh try with a dovetail jig, so … Bravo !

I love the 4-way veneer top. That’s going to look great.

Also, nice job on the re-saw. What blade were you running, and … relatively speaking … how slowly were you feeding the boards ?

Last, is your basic carcase all level ? From the last picture, and—with a tough angle, particularly for me—it looks like you may have some high spots on the perimeter, on which your top will lay. Is that just a photo anomaly ?

[EDIT: if it’s the same stand in all the pic’s, then … it IS just the angle. Sure looks flat in the earlier pic :-)]

Very good progress. As to your November time frame … in my experience … I’ll get there when I get there ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3158 days

#2 posted 10-11-2010 02:02 AM

Thank you Neil. It was a new Timberwolf 1/2” blade and my feed rate was pretty slow. I still prefer the Woodslicer but mine was dull and I couldn’t run out and buy one last minute so I thought I’d try the Timerbwolf. It cut well but was rougher than the Woodslicer. I think the boards required more planing because of this blade. When I resawed with the Woodslicer when it was brand new, the blade hardly left a mark on the board.

The carcass is all level now. I dont remember if I took the pics before or after I planed it though. The drawers however are not, but it wont take long for me to fix that.

The veneers turned out well but I won’t be completely happy until its glued up. Thanks though.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3427 days

#3 posted 10-11-2010 02:50 AM

nice work, eric. that top is quite beautiful, as are the drawer faces (not sure i saw those till now). as far as thicknessing veneer, i guess you have a good excuse for a drum sander now, huh? ;-)

just wondering: what kind of saws were you using to cut the dovetails?

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3158 days

#4 posted 10-11-2010 03:19 AM

Thanks, a drum sander would be nice wouldn’t it. Actually, a random orbit sander would be nice. All I have is a finishing one. I think I may have to pick one a random soon.

The saw is a Dozuki dovetail saw which I like very much.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View BertFlores58's profile


1694 posts in 2885 days

#5 posted 10-11-2010 07:13 AM

Eric, You have a nice doveltail cut and veneering technique. Nicely done.

-- Bert

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