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    Build a Wall Cabinet: Part 3, Drawers





    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    Now that the cabinet is put together, we can make the drawers. It's not as hard as you might think. Perhaps the most important thing to know about drawers is that they need a little room to breath in their pockets (the part of the cabinet that they fit into), so that they don't bind. So, the height of your drawer parts should be about 1/16 in. less than the height of the pocket. The front and back should be about 1/16 in. shorter than the width of the pocket. The overall depth of the drawer should be about 1/4 in. less than the depth of the pocket. (I'll show you a simple drawer stop in the next blog.) Well, let's get to it.


    How to Make

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottomclick to enlarge

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottom: I used 3/8 in. plywood for the bottom, but like all plywood it's actually less than it's nominal (named) thickness. That's a problem because common straight bits don't come in diameters that match the actual thickness of the plywood. So, use a bit that makes a groove narrower than the plywood's thickness. Here, I'm using a 1/4 in. diameter bit to rout the groove. I draw the location of the groove on the end of one of my parts and use that to set the fence location and the bit height. If you don't have a router table, just drill a hole in piece of plywood and screw your router to it, the bit sticking up through the hole. Use a straight board for the fence.

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottomclick to enlarge

    Rout rabbets in the front and back: The ends of the sides are square and fit into the rabbets routed into the front and back. I adjusted the location of my fence on some scrap until the depth of the rabbet matched the thickness of the plywood sides. That way, the sides were flush with the ends of the front and back after I glued up the drawer.

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottomclick to enlarge

    Make a finger hole with a drill bit: A forstner bit is the right tool for the job. Make a simple fixture to hold the drawer front. It's just three fences on a base. On fence presses against the top edge of the front. The other two at the front's end and hold it in place. This fixture is needed because you're using only part of the bit's diameter to drill the hole. It would be difficult and dangerous to simply hold the front in place with your hand. (My drill press has some built-in clamps that I used to hold the fixture to the drill press table. You can use regular clamps instead.)

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottomclick to enlarge

    Rabbet the bottom: Set the bit height and take a test cut on a scrap. Test it's fit in the groove. Raise the bit and test again. Repeat until the tongue fits snuggly in the groove. Now cut the tongue on all four sides of the drawer bottoms.

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottomclick to enlarge

    Put glue in the rabbets: This might not seem like a strong joint, but don't worry. We're gluing in the bottom, too. And that makes this drawer very strong.

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottomclick to enlarge

    Fold the drawer parts around the bottom: After putting glue on the rabbets and in the drawer bottom grooves, put the bottom in the front and the put a side on. Put the other side on and the the back.

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottomclick to enlarge

    Clamp up the drawer: You need to clamp front to back and side to side to pull the rabbet tight.

    Rout a groove for the drawer bottomclick to enlarge

    Remove any squeeze out: I like to use a card scraper, but a scrap of thin wood works, too. So does a plastic putty knife.



    MKenney