Blue Spruce Toolworks is still open for business and accepting all orders through our website!  We will continue to offer you all of the new products and special savings opportunities as we always have. Please check our homepage and your emails for all of the great tools you have come to expect from us!

Due to the Stay at Home Order for the State, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Spruce Toolworks will not be able to ship any orders until the middle of April. We apologize for the inconvenience that this will cause. As soon as this Stay at Home Order has been lifted, we will resume shipments and business as usual.  If you have any questions, please contact us at orders@bluesprucetoolworks.com.

Making Drawers, Part 1

October 31, 2012

I have put off making drawers for the Hope Chest until near the end because I was not confident in my dovetailing skills. I have not had time to hone my skills with many real projects. Actually, this project is only my third with hand cut dovetails. One was a hanging cabinet I made for my mom about eight years ago, one was a gift box for a dear friend and now there is this one. Starting a toolmaking business has slowed down my woodworking aspirations! I made some practice joints before I dove in, but I was still rather nervous. I knew I had only one chance; I did not have any material in reserve. There have been many, many tutorials on dovetailing both in blogs and on videos by experts much more qualified than I am. Therefore, I will just offer up some pictures to show how I went about it. Feel free to ask questions or offer useful suggestions for myself as well as the other readers.

Practice cuts help tune your eye-hand coordination; more is better.

Practice Joints

Planning the drawer details

Scribe baseline with marking gauge and layout initial saw cuts with a pencil

Use a chisel to establish shoulder cuts to help get a crisp joint.

Use rip and cross cut saws to make the initial cuts. Nice finish from Wenzloff Saws!

Cut out waste using a coping saw. I need some more practice (or a better saw!)

Remove waste to baseline with a chisel. Only half way through then flip over.

Sawing the front tails

Front tails

A little trick I learned from somewhere to help when removing waste for small pin sockets is to add another saw cut in the middle.

Establishing a shoulder using a butt chisel

I used a board to help keep all my chisel work straight and vertical.

A 1/8 inch dovetail chisel excels here. You need crisp, precise work. A marking knife can be handy at times also.

Use a marking knife to transfer the tails to the pinboard.

Sawing the pins

Chop the waste and then pare to the baseline. Here I am using a butt chisel.

I seemed to have lost some images from the drawer making session so we will skip ahead.  Here you can see the front pin board for the half-blind dovetails. These take some careful chisel work as you cannot cut all the way to the back corners with a saw.  I did over-cut the baseline to make it a little easier to clean up the waste, though I am not sure that I like seeing the saw cuts inside the drawer..  These joints are a lot easier to clean up if you have skew chisels or fishtail chisels to help get into the back corners. I am using a moving fillister plane to cut the groove for the drawer bottom. I have the iron set pretty coarse here; I backed it off a bit after this picture.

That is it for Drawer Making Part 1.  All of the dovetails have been cut and grooves added for the drawer bottoms. I also gave all of the parts a quick cleanup with a handplane where needed and slightly chamfered the edges prior to assembly.




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Projects

Slaying Dragons, Part 5  Finishing Touches
Slaying Dragons, Part 5 Finishing Touches

December 07, 2018 1 Comment

Well, I had a busy weekend finishing up the Dragon Slayer Cabinet project.

Check out the final installment and the end result.

Continue Reading

Slaying Dragons, Part 4 - Cabinet work, continued
Slaying Dragons, Part 4 - Cabinet work, continued

November 29, 2018 2 Comments

Continue Reading

Slaying Dragons, Part 3 - Designing the Cabinet
Slaying Dragons, Part 3 - Designing the Cabinet

November 15, 2018 6 Comments

I wanted to showcase the sword, the book with the debossed cover art as well as the beautiful illustration of Siegfried with his sword drawn.

Continue Reading