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GK1

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I've been making drawers with lapped dovetail fronts and with the back held in a simple housing in each side. The sides extend beyond the back which means there's a bit less space but also that it's unlikely the drawer will be pulled right out. Also I've been making the back less tall so the base gets pinned to the bottom of the back.

Now I've seen various references to having the back dovetailed as well. Is this the more traditional method for good quality work ? Does the entire base fit in a groove or is the back made less tall ? Also is there a way to prevent the drawer from being pulled out - I think I've seen a method where the drawer has to be tilted to slide in and as it's pulled out it meets a stop on the cabinet frame.
 

Jacob

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GK1":221yxrcm said:
I've been making drawers with lapped dovetail fronts and with the back held in a simple housing in each side. The sides extend beyond the back which means there's a bit less space but also that it's unlikely the drawer will be pulled right out. Also I've been making the back less tall so the base gets pinned to the bottom of the back.

Now I've seen various references to having the back dovetailed as well. Is this the more traditional method for good quality work ? Does the entire base fit in a groove or is the back made less tall ? Also is there a way to prevent the drawer from being pulled out - I think I've seen a method where the drawer has to be tilted to slide in and as it's pulled out it meets a stop on the cabinet frame.
There's loads on the net e.g.
http://woodarchivist.com/393-build-drawers/
Back is shorter than the sides and sits above the bottom board so the DTs are differently spaced - and with wider pins for strength as you are joining thin boards, not like the drawer front.
This site shows a side slot for the bottom board but this is only for small lightweight use as it is weak and gives a narrow edge on the runner - prone to wear. Drawer slips are the standard way to go, but still with a slot in the front board. If you pin the bottom at the back you may need a deeper slot at the front, to allow for movement. Better to glue the bottom in the front slot and leave it free at the back. There's a modern fashion for a slotted screw supporting the back of the bottom board but this is not a good detail - better with nothing.
n.b. DTs were for all qualities of work - they are the hand-tool simplest and most effective way of joining the sides, short of nailing them - which is not uncommon in old work.
 

thetyreman

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you're answered most of your own questions :D

you'll get more room out of the space inside with dovetails at the back, the top at the back always goes down from what I've seen and they have a bevel,

the highest quality drawers you see in fine furniture almost always have quartersawn sides and drawer slips, as well as a brass screw coming through from underneath that's loose to allow for movement, when using solid wood for the bottom.

There is nothing wrong with a dado at the back though, usually it's used for cantilevered drawers where you want the drawer fully open without falling out, e.g. a workbench drawer or tool chest drawer.
 

thetyreman

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as jacob says the brass screw is optional, I didn't use one on my last (workbench) drawer, it looks nice though, probably only worth it if using very expensive woods for visual purposes. You can also use plywood for the base and then don't have to worry about movement, I've glued little blocks of pine using hide glue underneath when it's plywood to stop it rattling.
 

woodbloke66

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I now build my drawers using a rail housed into the carcase: the rail then runs in a groove underneath the centre drawer muntin.

IMG_2687.jpg


As the drawer runs on the rail, the drawer box sides don't ever need to touch the carcase and the front is just screwed in place. Drawers made like this are more complicated to make but much easier to fit and it's only the...

IMG_2470.jpg


...drawer front which needs to be accurately fitted all round, usually with 0.15mm shadow gap - Rob
 

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custard

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GK1":7r8ev61b said:
I've been making drawers with lapped dovetail fronts and with the back held in a simple housing in each side. The sides extend beyond the back which means there's a bit less space but also that it's unlikely the drawer will be pulled right out. Also I've been making the back less tall so the base gets pinned to the bottom of the back.

Now I've seen various references to having the back dovetailed as well. Is this the more traditional method for good quality work ? Does the entire base fit in a groove or is the back made less tall ? Also is there a way to prevent the drawer from being pulled out - I think I've seen a method where the drawer has to be tilted to slide in and as it's pulled out it meets a stop on the cabinet frame.
Yes, as a general rule dovetailing the back with through dovetails is a sign of first quality work, although if you're an undisputed master cabinet maker like say Rod Wales, then you won't use dovetails at all on any of your drawers and that'd still be okay!

Making the back slightly shorter (only by about 5 or 6mm) is important as it prevents a cushion of air building up which will push out other drawers when you push this drawer home, or at least that's what'll happen if you're skilled enough to reliably make piston fit drawers. I know at least one maker who uses this "whack a mole" drawer feature to impress prospective clients regarding his making skills, but it seems a bit tiresome to me.

I wouldn't get too focussed on mechanical methods of preventing drawers being pulled out. It's only really important for very shallow drawers. This is a copy of a Shaker desk that I make quite frequently,

Harvard-Side-Table-small.jpg


It has a deceptively shallow drawer, so I fit a sprung wooden stop to prevent clients embarrassing themselves, but on 99% of drawers it's simply unnecessary.

There is a trick that was pioneered by Alan Peters where you fit a drawer with some clever shaping that means it tightens up just before it would be pulled out completely. I trained at the same workshop where Alan Peters originally trained, and they recommend against this technique, saying your drawer box and drawer cavity should be straight and true. Far be it from me to disagree with Alan Peters, but having tried both methods I think the workshop is right and it's more trouble than its worth.
 

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Benchwayze

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Hi GK.

You should be able to find a copy of 'Cabinetmaking for Beginners' by Charles H Hayward.
In that book there is an easy to follow chapter on basic drawer making. What we might call a WIP or step-by-step. The drawings are also clear and easy to understand.

That's where I first learned his way. (Whilst still at school. Though it might have been in one of Haywards other books.) They aren't expensive and worth their weight in Cuban Mahogany!

Suggest Amazon, Abebooks.co.uk or eBay.

HTH

John (hammer)
 

custard

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woodbloke66":v9k149iu said:
I now build my drawers using a rail housed into the carcase: the rail then runs in a groove underneath the centre drawer muntin.
Interesting method, but what would happen if the contents of the drawer were off to one side, wouldn't the drawer then want to tip slightly and therefore make the shadow lines around the drawer front uneven?
 

woodbloke66

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custard":1psfkche said:
woodbloke66":1psfkche said:
I now build my drawers using a rail housed into the carcase: the rail then runs in a groove underneath the centre drawer muntin.
Interesting method, but what would happen if the contents of the drawer were off to one side, wouldn't the drawer then want to tip slightly and therefore make the shadow lines around the drawer front uneven?
Nope, contact is still made on the drawer bottom and top (runners & kickers) but the wide sides don't need to touch the carcase. If you have a peek at the pic above taken during the construction of my CoD, you'll see that it's impossible to make and fit one in the conventional way as the side panels are only 10mm thick and the legs are 40.

The advantage of this method of building drawers is that the front is applied completely separately as it's screwed on. This means that you can do some very...

5c034b22a117c3926e999ee22bf8ad5d.png


....fancy veneered work on the front face of the piece which would be almost impossible with conventional drawers - Rob
 

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Jacob

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custard":3ef0eaq1 said:
.....
Yes, as a general rule dovetailing the back with through dovetails is a sign of first quality work, ......
And second quality work! It's the easiest, hence normal, hand tool way. The only hand tool way that would be simpler would be nailing.
 

GK1

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Lots of interesting information here thank you all. So far I've been using plywood bases so I've not been concerned with shrinkage. As I progress I'm finding that something I once considered perfectly good enough becomes, well, worthy of improvement.

I looked at a dresser that I have in the home and the drawer has been made with through dovetails all round, and a pinned on surround moulding to the front which hides the end grain and gives relief to the front.

Benchwayze, I've used up a little more of an Amazon voucher and ordered that book.
 

deema

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I’m intrigued by how Woodbloke66 makes his drawers. I don’t fully follow how this is being done. I quote from his reply:

“I now build my drawers using a rail housed into the carcase: the rail then runs in a groove underneath the centre drawer muntin”.

Would it be possible to show a little more detail?
 

marcros

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I think that there is a good explanation on the Axminster blog. It covers a couple of posts. I think also that Rob showed it on a recent thread here. Unfortunately the Robert Ingham book is out of print.
 

woodbloke66

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deema":486d9fyq said:
I’m intrigued by how Woodbloke66 makes his drawers. I don’t fully follow how this is being done. I quote from his reply:

“I now build my drawers using a rail housed into the carcase: the rail then runs in a groove underneath the centre drawer muntin”.

Would it be possible to show a little more detail?
Yep, I can. Busy at the mo' drum sanding veneers, but I sort it out and post a few pics. It isn't my method btw but one I came across in Rob Ingham's book 'Cutting Edge Cabinetmaking' which has, as has been mentioned above by 'marcros', sadly out of print but you might be able to get hold of a second hand copy somewhere. If you see one, grab it pronto :lol:

Edit: This is the post from the AxBlog of a few years ago - Rob
 

dzj

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"“I now build my drawers using a rail housed into the carcase: the rail then runs in a groove underneath the centre drawer muntin”."

Stickley also used a similar method.
Perhaps someone with greater knowledge of antique furniture might suggest furniture makers of the past who also came up with similar ideas.
 

Jacob

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dzj":3ravuclm said:
woodbloke66":3ravuclm said:
..I now build my drawers using a rail housed into the carcase: the rail then runs in a groove underneath the centre drawer muntin...
Stickley also used a similar method.
Perhaps someone with greater knowledge of antique furniture might suggest furniture makers of the past who also came up with similar ideas.
I can't quite see the point of Rob's method. Something tells me "furniture makers of the past" wouldn't get it either. :lol:
The one simple way to make sure a normal drawer will fit is try all the pieces first before joining them up. Push in the front and back pieces to check for height/width/clearance, slide in the sides ditto. Trim if necessary then mark and cut DTs. Much easier than trying to fit a finished drawer which has ended up a bit tight.
woodbloke66":3ravuclm said:
..it's impossible to make and fit one in the conventional way as the side panels are only 10mm thick and the legs are 40...
No prob. Just add a "spacer" to fill the gap. Quite a common feature - many cupboards are made with panelled sides, not solid, and need the spacer as well as runner and kicker.
Muntins are common in the bottom of wider drawers because it avoids having to have a thicker board to span the width.
 

woodbloke66

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Jacob":1bml55ic said:
I can't quite see the point of Rob's method. Something tells me "furniture makers of the past" wouldn't get it either. :lol:
The one simple way to make sure a normal drawer will fit is try all the pieces first before joining them up. Push in the front and back pieces to check for height/width/clearance, slide in the sides ditto. Trim if necessary then mark and cut DTs. Much easier than trying to fit a finished drawer which has ended up a bit tight.
You miss the point entirely Jacob. Look earlier in this thread to see Rob Ingham's chest of drawers where the front of the piece is entirely veneered to make a seamless pattern. The way that Rob Ingham did this is to make the drawers, then ensure that the fronts were a righty tighty fit before the veneers were matched, fitted and then laid. Very difficult, almost impossible to do with conventionally made drawers; still a bit tricky this way :D - Rob
 

custard

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woodbloke66":amk5h077 said:
The advantage of this method of building drawers is that the front is applied completely separately as it's screwed on. This means that you can do some very...

View attachment 5

....fancy veneered work on the front face of the piece which would be almost impossible with conventional drawers - Rob
Robert Ingham must set the record for combining the highest making skills with the worst design skills. His stuff is impeccably made but fugly beyond belief!
 

woodbloke66

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custard":23h7qka1 said:
woodbloke66":23h7qka1 said:
The advantage of this method of building drawers is that the front is applied completely separately as it's screwed on. This means that you can do some very...

View attachment 5

....fancy veneered work on the front face of the piece which would be almost impossible with conventional drawers - Rob
Robert Ingham must set the record for combining the highest making skills with the worst design skills. His stuff is impeccably made but fugly beyond belief!
I have to agree Custard. How he makes his stuff is beyond me; just trying to read through the text on some of his old articles in F&C is enough to give me brain ache. His designs are definitely an 'acquired' taste, but a very few are quite respectable, though you can count those on the fingers of one hand. He is though, if you ever meet him, a proper gentleman and scholar.

PM sent- Rob
 

Jacob

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woodbloke66":3lfah2va said:
.....The way that Rob Ingham did this is to make the drawers, then ensure that the fronts were a righty tighty fit before the veneers were matched, fitted and then laid. Very difficult, almost impossible to do with conventionally made drawers;
Er, surely very easy with conventionally made drawers. Before you join the drawer bits you fit each front into the chest to fit as tight or as loose as you want. See earlier post.
still a bit tricky this way :D - Rob
Yep. There are definitely easier ways!
 
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