Pennsylvania Spice Box for Mom #6: Drawers and yet another dovetail jig

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Blog entry by SPHinTampa posted 06-06-2012 08:26 PM 9097 reads 3 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Finishing external details on case Part 6 of Pennsylvania Spice Box for Mom series Part 7: Tombstone style, veneered door »

Have completed the bulk of the body, I moved on to the drawers. I used the incra jig to cut both the half blind and thru dovetails.

So I started this session with the body completed

And finished with the interior completed as well.

Steps in this session
1. Glued and cut out drawer faces
2. Set up incra jig with 1/2” 14 deg bits and loaded dovetail template
3. Cut face drawers with half blind dovetails in front and thru dovetails in back
4. Cut hidden drawer with all thru dovetails
5. Glued up drawers
6. Clean up drawer for final fit

I had already cut poplar drawer sides/back during stock prep so first step is to create drawer fronts.
Start with three pieces of resawn curly maple. Thanks for great stock from Intercity Lumber in Tampa.

Glued up sections into one piece so I could cut drawer faces from continuous grain matched stock.

Ripped sections to height and measured actual fit

Used RAS to cut to final width

Next step was to set up Incra jig for dovetail cuts.

First thing is to set bit height to get a good fit. You start by setting bit to rough height and them making two A cuts on the template.

The using the general rule of lower to loosen, height to tighten, you move bit to get a perfect fit.

I then set the jig to determine bit center. I do this a little differently than the manual. I drilled a hole dead center of a block of wood that is precisely 3” square. I use the router center finder to position the block and butt fence up against block of wood.

I can then align the Incra measure at 1.5”, knowing that is dead center. I can then calculate center of stock against that measure and align the an A cut line against the center measure. In this case, my stock is 2 5/8 so I align an A cut on the template against 2 13/16” (1.5+ 1 5/16 = 2 13/16”) mark to get a center cut.

I test my center mark by running a test board that is the width of drawer over the bit in one direction and then the other. If the bit is centered for both cuts ( one pass each way) then cut should not be wider than the bit.

I then use the jig to make the a cuts to get the tails. Note, I poke the router bit thru a masonite board to get a zero clearance insert on my table (low low tech)

First I sneak up on the outer cut with a series of scoring cuts.

Then I make a series of A cuts to define the tail.

I set up a stop block that allows me to advance the cutter into the stock for the half blind pins just deep enough to fit the tail. I then use the B cuts on the templates to cut socket for half blind pin in front.

Cutting the thru dovetail pins is a two step process that I show further on. First you cut the B cuts vertically and then lay the piece down and cut the pins horizontally. Then you use a chisel to knock out the little nubs that remain.

Sounds complex but goes quite fast and gets good results.

I am now half way there.

I used a slightly different template (more spaced out pins) but same methodology to cut the thru dovetails on the hidden drawer.

First I recentered off the original 1.5” mark. And began cuts with new dovetail template.

Cut the tails using a series of A cuts

Cut pins vertically using B cuts (note the big piece is the backer board I use to prevent chip out)

Cut pins horizontally using B cuts. As you can see, your drawer stock must be a hair thinner than your bit height in order to get a thru pin. If it is not, you can not adjust the bit height, you must plane the stock down.

I then cut a finger hole into the front using a Fostner bit.

Having cut the pieces, the glue up goes quickly.

I attach the plywood base using tape for clamps

I clean up tails using a chisel.

And plane the drawer sides to get them to fit.

And now I have a pile of drawers

With the big satisfaction of seeing them all in place.

This was a good day.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

2 comments so far

View StumpyNubs's profile


7590 posts in 2797 days

#1 posted 06-06-2012 08:47 PM

Looks great!

Charles Neil has a very extensive video series on building one of these. It’s really a great project to learn new skills!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2800 days

#2 posted 06-07-2012 02:23 AM

Super sweet. Lotsa gr8 details. Like the dovetails also

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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