Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 6
July 2008
A Practical Alternative to Making Drawers Using Hand Tools

The following drawer design is intended to appeal to the middle-ground woodworker who wants to craft a solid drawer but who may also want to take advantage of using a drawer slide.

Preparing the Components
The pieces should be in an almost-finished state before cutting any of the joinery. Crosscut everything to rough length, leaving things slightly long (approximately 1/8"), so that the ends can be squared up later. To dimension the stock, I use a tenon saw (filed crosscut with 13 tpi) with a bench hook.

After the pieces are rough-cut to length, use a shooting board to square up and finish one end of each piece. Measure and scribe the exact length, which should be a hair shorter than the piece. With the finished length scribed, do the final fitting on the shooting board to ensure a square end that's perfectly parallel to the other. I use a 5-1/2 bench plane; I find the extra heft helps to push the plane through the cut. A very fine plane iron setting is recommended, and be sure to keep the blade sharp.

Rough-cutting the stock   Squaring up the ends
Rough-cutting the stock slightly long.

  Squaring up the ends using a shooting board.

Scribing and Cutting the Stopped Dado
After shooting all of the ends, use a marking gauge to scribe lines on the inside of the drawer's front face piece to establish the width of the dado, which will be equal to the thickness of the drawer sides. Mark the height and width, and scribe the bottom edge of the drawer front to show the depth to cut to. With a chisel, make a thin cut just inside your scribe lines. This will help prevent tear-out when you rout out the waste.

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