Drawer joinery question.

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Forum topic by Griffin_SC posted 05-17-2016 08:27 PM 507 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Griffin_SC's profile


17 posts in 225 days

05-17-2016 08:27 PM

I’ve gotten to the point of building my drawers finally. My original plan was for Poplar drawer boxes with a Oak face. Boxes would be built with a lap joint in the corners with a couple of pocket screws inside where they can’t be seen. Since then though I’m got access to a Dovetail jig that can do half-Blind joints and I’m thinking about going that direction. I have a couple questions though.

1. If I go with dovetails should I still use a separate face or pull it all together into one drawer with the face installed in with it.

2. If I do with a 1 piece drawer how should I completed the finish. I wasn’t planning on staining the poplar box. But I do need to stain the face of tails of the face. Do you stain/dye the face then glue it up? How well with the glue hold like that?

6 replies so far

View DrDirt's profile


4143 posts in 3167 days

#1 posted 05-17-2016 08:52 PM

If you want ‘white (ish) drawers with a stained face… then do option 1, not a single piece front.

Also the separate front allows you some adjustment of the drawer front to set the gaps around the drawer.

If it is important to do the 1 piece method, suppose, you can always stain your drawer front BEFORE you assemble the drawer, just keep the stain out of the dovetail pockets. then put drops of glue in each half blind pocket, swish with a small brush and assemble the stained drawer.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View Redoak49's profile


1827 posts in 1413 days

#2 posted 05-17-2016 09:59 PM

DrDirt is correct with good advice. Personally, I like to make the boxes separately from the fronts as it makes finishing easier and alignment better.

Most times I pre finish my drawer sides and bottom. I then cut the dovetails and put them together. It makes finishing much easier.

View bruc101's profile


1075 posts in 2966 days

#3 posted 05-18-2016 12:45 AM

Sho am glad to hear you’re going to use dovetails and not pocket screws to build those drawers with.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View rwe2156's profile


2128 posts in 905 days

#4 posted 05-18-2016 12:04 PM

Sho am glad to hear you re going to use dovetails and not pocket screws to build those drawers with.

- bruc101


-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Griffin_SC's profile


17 posts in 225 days

#5 posted 05-30-2016 03:49 AM

Will it look odd that my drawer box and face are the same size? Both pieces are going to be cut from 1×8.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2238 days

#6 posted 05-30-2016 05:11 PM

I would go with the half-blind dovetails. To my way of thinking the decision of integral front vs. applied front is a matter of which type of drawer slides you select. With wood side mounted slides, I like to use an integral front. Undermount or side mount slides usually require 1/2” gaps between the drawer box and cabinet , so applied fronts work well to cover the gap.

As far as the finish, just stain the fronts before assembly. Keep the stain off of the glued area and you will be fine.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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