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dovetail drawers

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Forum topic by stumpknocker posted 04-22-2011 02:41 AM 3181 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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stumpknocker

28 posts in 1564 days


04-22-2011 02:41 AM

Does anybody have a method for running the grove for the drawer bottom in a dovetail drawer. It would seem to me that you would have to stop the grove short of the dovetails.


14 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7822 posts in 2396 days


#1 posted 04-22-2011 02:53 AM

You don’t if you plan it right. The groove will only be exposed if you
put it going through a pin. A tail should cover it with normal size
dovetails and a normal depth groove.

Another way to do it if using router cut dovetails where you have
little control of spacing is to dry-fit the drawer and rout the groove
with a slot cutter. The you can either square the corners with a
chisel or round the drawer bottom corner so it fits the rounded
slot corners.

If using a more French-y method, you leave the back of the drawer
short and you could conceivably glue up the fours sides, flip the drawer
onto the router table and cut the slot in the three full-width sides
with the slot cutter, knock out the bit of excess at the back of each,
round the 2 front corners of the drawer bottom and slip it in, fixing
it at the back with a nail.

Through dovetails present some issues with the groove half-blind ones
don’t. With through dovetails you either make a stopped groove or
make a little wedge-shaped patch for the hole and glue it in.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View TomHintz's profile

TomHintz

207 posts in 2146 days


#2 posted 04-22-2011 08:40 AM

I just use a straight bit in the router table that matches the drawer bottom material. Plunge it down over the bit 1/4” or so from the end of the piece, cut across and stop 1/4” or so from the other end. Nothing to it really. That is a good cut to know on the router table anyway as it comes in handy quite often.

-- Tom Hintz, www.newwoodworker.com

View stumpknocker's profile

stumpknocker

28 posts in 1564 days


#3 posted 04-22-2011 02:34 PM

Thanks for the help. I am headed to the shop as we speak.

View IkeandBerry's profile

IkeandBerry

45 posts in 2012 days


#4 posted 04-22-2011 02:37 PM

What I do is cut the groove all the way through the board and then when I cut the dovetails I make sure that the location of the groove ends up in the middle of a tail. The next step is to then rip the tails width down to the depth of the groove. Now mark and cut your pins, they will not be as deep since you cut the width of the tail down. This completely hides the groove and you do not have to worry about making stop cuts. I learned how to do this from Tom Fidgen in his book Made By Hand.

-- There is nothing like the sound of a hand plane passing across a board in an otherwise quiet shop.

View Bob Fowkes's profile

Bob Fowkes

34 posts in 1375 days


#5 posted 05-19-2011 12:26 AM

“The next step is to then rip the tails width down to the depth of the groove.”

Huh?

“Now mark and cut your pins, they will not be as deep since you cut the width of the tail down.”

Huh?

I’ve been to dozens of sites trying to find out how to hide the groove for the bottom, w/o using a stopped dado. Ike—- it sounds like you know how, but I’m not getting it. My drawers are half-blind dovetails in the front, though dovetails in the back. Any help would be appreciated.

-- Bob

View Loren's profile

Loren

7822 posts in 2396 days


#6 posted 05-19-2011 01:46 AM

Bob, you can also do a miter at the back on the bottom, beneath
the dovetails… a nice little craftsman trick.

It’s also possible to do this little thing where you do dovetails and
a little finger joint at the bottom covering the groove end. It’s very
a clever and refined trick of the trade. Not many old time
guys working with hand tools would bother with making a stopped
groove – it’s a real pain to do without power machines.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7486 posts in 1431 days


#7 posted 05-19-2011 03:07 AM

Since I dado the back into the drawers I make, Running the groove in the sides and front is just a dado cut for me. I dado the grooves first, then lay out the tails/pins si that the groove is covered. Depth of the groove matches the depth of the half-blind dovetails I use.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Bob Fowkes's profile

Bob Fowkes

34 posts in 1375 days


#8 posted 05-19-2011 03:25 AM

“Depth of the groove matches the depth of the half-blind dovetails I use.”

I think this is what a previous poster was saying, using different words, but I can’t get a picture in my mind of what this means.

My groove for the (oak plywood) bottom will be 3/16” deep all around (front, sides, back). The half-blind dovetails in the front are 9/16” deep, with a 3/16” web. I see that I can lay out the bottom pin on the front piece so the groove butts up against it, so it will be hidden.

I can’t for the life of me figure out how to hide the grooves at the back. I can plug them, which I’ve done in the past, but was hoping for a more elegant solution. Sigh.

-- Bob

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11507 posts in 1438 days


#9 posted 05-19-2011 04:44 AM

A small slot cutter in the router table works in my box joint boxes.Use the disc sander to round the corners of your drawer bottom and youre done. Just my humble opinion.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7486 posts in 1431 days


#10 posted 05-19-2011 04:51 AM

Hide grooves in the back? Not any different than the front. Just watch where the pins/tails land as you lay them out. Bottom pin on the back is just the same as the front. IF the groove depth matches the pin’s depth, pin will cover the groove.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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bandit571

7486 posts in 1431 days


#11 posted 06-04-2011 12:10 AM

I’m going to try something like this. I have a small box, with full dovetails. I’ll need a groove around the bottom for the box’s bottom. Two sides will be a dado . cut with the tablesaw. The other two? well, a 1/4 hole will be drilled at the base of the dovetail. I’ll mark for the groove a chisel it out. About like chopping a LONG mortise, is all. Pictures when I get it gone?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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bandit571

7486 posts in 1431 days


#12 posted 06-04-2011 06:09 PM

Wound up using a 1/4” Forstner bit. Marked out the area for the groove. “Hog” out the waste in the groove. Groove starts about halfway into the dovetail. Cleaned out the groove with a 1/4” chisel. ON the two sides where the groove will be hidden, just a dado cut, on the tablesaw. Didn’ take all that long to do. Test fit showed NO groove showing up. Easy enough?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

16033 posts in 1614 days


#13 posted 06-04-2011 07:03 PM

It usually works out better for me to put a through groove on the side with dovetails half way between the bottom half tail and the first full tail and a stop groove to match it on the part with pins. I use the router table to cut the stop groove using two correctly placed stops and place the bottom edge against the fence and trailing end against the first stop lower part down on router bit and push along fence till lead edge hits second top then raise off router bit. It’s really very easy to set up and works well for me. I simply cut the through groove on the table saw.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View FlWoodRat's profile

FlWoodRat

732 posts in 2657 days


#14 posted 06-04-2011 10:03 PM

If you are using half-blind DTs for the drawer front and full through DT’s on the back, there is no issue. Just run the dado through one of the tails and out the back. No need to fill the voids as the back of the drawers are not seen.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

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