Cabinet Making #3: Making Drawers

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Blog entry by Tim Dorcas posted 06-28-2010 06:43 AM 2746 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Making the Cases Part 3 of Cabinet Making series Part 4: Drawer Fronts and Test Fitting »

Up to now, things were relatively easy. Now the actual work was going to start. To make the drawers, I decided to use Poplar. However, I did something I would now change. I purchased 4/4 of the stuff with the idea that I would resaw in half on my bandsaw. In retrospect, I should have purchased 8/4 and cut it into thirds. After resawing, planing and sanding, the boards were much thinner than I had hoped.

The next decision was how to construct the drawers themselves. I have an Akeda Dovetail Jig and using it would have been the obvious choice. However, I was always fascinated by Drawer Lock Bits and thought this project was a good opportunity to give them a try. I promptly went down to Lee Valley Tools and bought the Small Drawer Lock Bit.

As with most things, there was a certain amount of setup to get the optimum fitting but once done, things went very quickly. I do have to have to say there was a massive amount of tear out when doing the side pieces. Here’s an example.


Ideally I should have created a Zero Clearance board for this bit but one thing that helped was creating a scribe line and then doing the cut. I know what you’re thinking…the cut looks like crap. Yes it does. But all the tear out is on the inside of the joint so with a little sanding, you never see it. And did I mention this joint is fast?

Here’s what it looks like when you pull it together.


Once again, I tried to get away from clamping by using my pin nailer.


And once again, I ended up using clamps. I only used the pin nailer on the front and the back where it wouldn’t be seen.

After completing the drawer joints, I used a dado blade to make the 1/4” cut for the drawer bottoms.


In the past, I had always used a 1/4” router bit to make this cut thinking it was going to be painful to take the blade out of the tablesaw and then try to get the dado blade to make an accurate cut. This is simply not true. I have the Freud SD608 which is incredibly easy to setup. The cuts were far superior then those that I had made in the past. I have used this dado set quite a lot for this project and it’s been excellent.

-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

4 comments so far

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2933 days

#1 posted 06-28-2010 07:58 AM

In the second picture, there seem to be a gap between the sides of the drawer lock joint.
Is that on all of the joint?

Great job thanks for sharing.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 3858 days

#2 posted 06-28-2010 02:20 PM

lol…there’s no gap. The drawer had not been glued up yet so I was trying to hold everything together and take the picture.

-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2933 days

#3 posted 06-28-2010 06:25 PM


I have been considering buying the drawer lock bit but have been holding off. Now that I know it cuts well…


-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3672 days

#4 posted 07-31-2010 11:12 PM

Nice looking drawers.

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