Router Table (Pt. 6)

Friday, I finished up the three bottom storage drawers. The drawer joinery, is another one of details that my design deviates significantly from Norms. For utility drawers like these, that aren’t going to see a lot of daily use I like to use dado & rabbet joints. They’re easy to make on the table saw, & provide a strong mechanical connection.

The following rendering shows  a drawer constructed using this joinery method.  The drawer sides have a dado cut into both ends, while the front & back have rabbets cut on their ends that fit into the side panel dados. The false front is glued onto the inner front panel.

small Drawer Rendering

Rendering of a drawer with a false front, that's held together with dado & rabbet joints.

The following shots show the  steps I use to make drawers using dado & rabbet joinery. For reference, the drawer sides are 1/2″ ply, the bottom is 1/4″ ply, and the false front is 3/4″ ply. Before you start, one thing I recommend, is to place indicator marks on key faces. It’s really easy to get a board turned around and cut a rabbet or dado on the wrong side when your running a batch of boards. Indicator marks help prevent this, assuming you remember to pay attention. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way many times over.

drawer Bottom Dados

Step 1 : Make a dado on the bottom inside edge of all the sides. Since I'm using plywood, I don't have to worry about wood movement.

drawer End Dados

Step 2 : Make dados on the inside ends of all the side boards. For a clean look make sure to cut the dados a little further back from the edge than needed, that way then can be planed or sanded flush with the front after glue-up.

drawer End Rabbit

Step 3 : Make rabbets on both the outside ends of the drawer fronts & backs. Since you cut the side dados first, you can sneak up on the rabbet width and thickness, and thus achieve an excellent fit.

drawer Bottoms

Step 4 : Once the side joinery is complete, do a dry fit, and measure the exact length and width the drawer bottom needs to be.

drawer Glue Up

Step 5 : The final step as always is glue up. I prefer to only apply glue to the dados because I get less squeeze out that way. Once the clamps are in place, set the drawers on a flat reference surface, and adjust the clamps as necessary to ensure the drawer sets flat.

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