DVD Cabinet #3: Dovetail drawers

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Blog entry by SPHinTampa posted 02-03-2013 07:08 PM 2061 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Creating dovetail cabinent Part 3 of DVD Cabinet series Part 4: Hanging Drawers and making the floating style base »

in my last session, I completed the carcase. I double checked my final dimensions against the drawer prototype to make sure nothing is off.
So I started with this

The steps in today’s session were:
1. Prepare maple stock by resawing and cutting to final dimensions
2. Set up and test incra jig to make through dovetail joints
3. Cut thru dovetail joints using incra jib
4. Cut stopped dados for drawer bottom and DVD partitions
5. Glue up drawers and clean up joints
And ended with a group of drawers to fill my case.

The detailed steps were:
Step 1. Prepare stock
I started by cross cutting standard 1×6 maple to rough size (all pieces were longer than 12” or I would have resawn first, cut second)

I then marked all pieces for resaw (1/2” for drawer sides, 3/16” for drawer partitions)

I used the bandsaw with a 1/2” 4tpi blade to resaw the drawers. Some people may have resawn longer boards but I find I have more success with shorter pieces.

I then ran the resawn boards thru the Planer to get a consistent thickness (not shown) and used a simple stop block to cut to consistent final size.

Step 2 – Set up Incra Jig
I used the template guides to find a pattern that matched my stock.

I then pulled the appropriate sized bit from my MLCS Incra Set … well almost. The standard set does not come with the 10.5 deg 3/4” bit, so had to buy that separate. This bit is required for thru dovetails on 1/2’ stock. Otherwise use the standard 14 deg 3/4” bit on 3/8’ stock.

Next you need to center jig on stock. You could center jig by eye but I don’t. I start by using a centering pin and a block with a known offset. I set my fence to lock at 1.5” and advance entire carriage forward until fence contacts my square. I then have the carriage and the fence at a know offset from the center of the pin.

I clamp the carriage to the table and zero the jig over the bit. The template with give you the starting bit depth setting. I used brass set up blocks to set the height of the bit.

I then calculate the center of the drawer stock by dividing the width by 2 and using measurement scale to move the fence (not the carriage) to the center point and then test it by running test piece that is same width as drawer stock thru bit, then flipping around and running far edge against fence again. After the test cut is done, you are off from center by half the difference in the width of cut versus the width of the bit.

I adjust fence to the thru center using the micro adjust feature and feeler guages. Then I the move template to match up with the suggested center cut on incra template.

Next step is to make test cuts on another edge of the board to set the final bit height. I cut one B cut and two A cuts to test the bit height.

This joint is too loose so I heighten to tighten (or lower to loosen) but half the distance of the gap in the joint.

In theory you would then plane your stock to match the dovetail bit height. I don’t. I cut the pins proud and then use a block plane to level them unless I am grossly off.

Step 3 – Cutting dovetails for drawers.
Now I put a backer board in place and use a strong clamp to hold the ends in place for the first set of cuts. A few lessons learned from prior projects. Since you are pushing the bit thru stock which is vertically in the air, the bit tends to pull the boards out of alignment. To counter act this, I use a zero clearance insert, I slow the routers speed to 12K rpm and I am very careful to use strong clamps.

Using the templates, I make tail cuts.

I then swap out the boards and cut the first pin cut.

The pin cut requires a second pass with the boards flat to cut the second incline.

For thru dovetails, a small nib is left behind, which you can easily remove by running chisel along the flat of the pin.

I then test fit one joint to make sure everything in good. Don’t want to do this too often as you can break the joint separating the dry fit.

Step 4. – Stopped dados
I then chuck up a Ply wood bit to cut stopped dado for the drawer base. If you place groove correctly then you can cut thru on two sides.

And only cut stopped on tail sides. I just mark the leading and trailing edge on the router table and do the cuts by eye since they can not be seen.

I use a Router sled to cut stopped grooves for drawer partitions.

Step 5 – Assembly and Glue Up
One picture – 2 hours of work. I stacked all the parts together for glue up and sand them to 150 grit before assembly.

Start by assembly right side into front and back.

I then insert drawer bottom.

And snap in left side.

I then slide in the partitions that divder the drawers for the DVDs. These are not glued in case I decide to use cabinet for something else in the future.

I then clamp and check for square.

Once the glue has dried, I clean up the joints with a block plane.

And we are done

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

2 comments so far

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2803 days

#1 posted 02-03-2013 09:59 PM

A really nice picture how-to Shawn. Comin along nicely

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

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3786 days

#2 posted 02-04-2013 12:52 PM

Shawn, nice work!

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