Building a drawer without dovetails? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-29-2012, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Building a drawer without dovetails?

Working on my rolling drill press cart. I want to make a drawer for the top space. I am new to woodworking and not ready to try dovetails. I am also working in 3/4 pine plywood leftovers for the drawers. Other than just making a butt joint box, what joint besides DT's would be OK for a drawer? Is a butt joint box OK?



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post #2 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 12:06 AM
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Check out the drawers Greene and Greene built. Easy and really elegant.
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post #3 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 12:21 AM
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Obviously a butt joint is fastest, and in reality, as long as you screw it it will last long enough. If you want to get fancier, you could do a box joint relatively easy with the table saw or a router.
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post #4 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 12:55 AM
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Rabbets work well for that situation. We used rabbets for our nightstands in high school shop, I've been using it for about 11 years now without any problems. It's not as strong as dovetail or a box joint, but it's a lot better then a butt.
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post #5 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 02:34 AM
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This is a drawer style I created myself that works wonderfully and is very strong


The closest board is the face, in this picture it's just pine. The sides and back are 3/8" plywood. You can use a dado blade or just use your table saw blade and do a 1/16-1/8" cut at a time. That's what I do since I dont have a dado yet. The bottom piece is 3/16" plywood.


It's very easy and make sure you cut the sides all at the same time. If you do this it will minimize the chance of error when sliding in the base piece.


The drawers come out very sturdy. Also make sure you know what kind of slides you plan to use so that you can measure the space between the drawer sides and slot accurately. I messed that up once and had to use spacers and it didn't look very pretty.


Here's the inside
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 04:42 AM
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Rabbeted drawers are fast and sturdy. Most of mine are done that way. All machining is done on the table saw with minimal changes. The sides are rabbeted to accept the front and back. The groove for the bottom is made with two passes (for 1/4"). The back is cut short to accept the bottom to be slid in.

I use glue and staples (or brads) shot from the front and back at a slight angle into the sides. That way no fasteners show on the sides. The bottom is cut to fit, and when slid into place, the drawer is squared, and the bottom is fastened to the underside of the back. I don't glue the bottoms.






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post #7 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 05:50 AM
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To add to the posts above, I think with today's high strength urethane glue you can use rabbeted joints and expect them to last for many years. In years past the horse hoof glue was not nearly as strong and sturdier joints were needed. Many of us like to maintain the traditional types of joints to keep the old heritage woodcraft alive - and it's fun.
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post #8 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 06:37 AM
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Haha I had no idea those were called rabbited. I just made them from my mind and from what I've seen. Glad to know they have a name.
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post #9 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 07:26 AM
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The cabinet shop I work for uses 1/2" plywood that is glued and butt jointed together with nails then staple the bottom to the sides. They have never had a call back to fix one yet and have been in business about 16 years. I use the same method. Quick and dirty but effective.

With the new soft close hardware you can purchase there shouldn't be any stress on a drawer enough to tear it apart.

Do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.
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post #10 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
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The cabinet shop I work for uses 1/2" plywood that is glued and butt jointed together with nails then staple the bottom to the sides. They have never had a call back to fix one yet and have been in business about 16 years. I use the same method. Quick and dirty but effective.

With the new soft close hardware you can purchase there shouldn't be any stress on a drawer enough to tear it apart.
Are they using the epoxy coated undermount like these? The kind of drawer member that cradles the bottom and the side of the drawer?






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post #11 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Here's what I came up with for my drawer. The front is a 3/4 plywood piece rabbeted. I think this should work OK with glue and some brads. Not sure how I am mounting it. I might just slide it in freestyle. I may also make a runner in the bottom center with something inside to keep it centered.

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post #12 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul W Gillespie View Post
Here's what I came up with for my drawer. The front is a 3/4 plywood piece rabbeted. I think this should work OK with glue and some brads. Not sure how I am mounting it. I might just slide it in freestyle. I may also make a runner in the bottom center with something inside to keep it centered.

You could do it that way, but I would rather make the box out of the same material, and rabbet the sides at the front, like you showed in the back. The actual drawer front (a loose piece) would be added to the front of the box, with screws from the inside.






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post #13 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure if I was clear C-man, the whole thing is being made from 3/4 plywood I have left over from the project. You are saying make the box with rabbets like the back and put a front piece on it. I thought about that, an may do so, but I would need to get some kind of wood for the front and then I would need more of the wood for the door I was going to make for the bottom. Definitely something to think about.
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post #14 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul W Gillespie
Not sure if I was clear C-man, the whole thing is being made from 3/4 plywood I have left over from the project. You are saying make the box with rabbets like the back and put a front piece on it. I thought about that, an may do so, but I would need to get some kind of wood for the front and then I would need more of the wood for the door I was going to make for the bottom. Definitely something to think about.
Paul, it's a LOT easier to add your drawer fronts after mounting the drawer. That is what Cman is referring to. Allows you to get the drawers sliding right and then line up the drawer front for an even gap all the way around.

Have you considered a locking rabbit joint? It's one thing Woodsmith Shop does well on... Maybe check their website?

--------------------------------------------- one day I'll be so good that I won't need this forum any longer... then I'll know I have full onset Dementia! ~tom
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 04:16 PM
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I'll second Firemedics' locking rabbet. Very easy to do and nearly as strong as the dovetail, IMO.

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul W Gillespie View Post
Not sure if I was clear C-man, the whole thing is being made from 3/4 plywood I have left over from the project. You are saying make the box with rabbets like the back and put a front piece on it. I thought about that, an may do so, but I would need to get some kind of wood for the front and then I would need more of the wood for the door I was going to make for the bottom. Definitely something to think about.
If you're using all plywood, then your drawer front will have exposed plywood edges. Maybe that's not a concern.

As for the locking rabbet, I wouldn't suggest using it. It takes some set up and if used in plywood, the edges of the joint detail are weak and can break easily before and during assembly. It works better in solid wood, IMO. I would still suggest rabbets, as they allow for a fast setup for alignment and assembly.






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post #17 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Well I cut all the drawer parts today and went with basic rabbet joints. C-man I did build a box that fits totally inside the case frame. I could add a front, but I think since it is plywood, I might just have it be a drawer that sits flush in the box. This will hide the edges. I am not sure yet, I may add a front. Still need to rough sand and glue up.

Front face and side.


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post #18 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
Are they using the epoxy coated undermount like these? The kind of drawer member that cradles the bottom and the side of the drawer?









.
Sorry it took so long to reply but yes, those are what he uses 90% of the time. When they use the undermount then they dado the bottom in but still use butt joints on the corners.

Do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.
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post #19 of 20 Old 01-30-2012, 08:29 PM
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Sorry it took so long to reply but yes, those are what he uses 90% of the time. When they use the undermount then they dado the bottom in but still use butt joints on the corners.
With those slides, they can be screwed to the drawer side, or into the bottom edge of the drawer side. In using a standard coarse thread screw #6x5/8" or longer, into the bottom of the drawer side, makes for a very stable movement. I've done that before on jobs with bunches of drawers.






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post #20 of 20 Old 02-01-2012, 03:04 PM
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Nice job on the drawers for what it's worth, i use this joint when doing plywood drawer boxes and then fasten whatever solidwood drawer front I happen to be using

http://home.comcast.net/~kvaughn65/c...tion_joint.jpg
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