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Making The Cabinet Drawers

Making the drawers. I’m not much of a: measure to figure out the size and more of a: OK how do I mate the pieces in the cabinet, then figure out where I need to cut.

I made a couple of pieces of scrap wood of he right size and attached to the railing and measured the space in between the railings (outside edge of side of drawer)

Drawer alignment.
Determining spacing.

Then I went to the router table and using a router bit called a drawer locking router bit glue joint I cut a couple of grooves while adjusting the router bit. More on that in a moment. once I got the right corner fit, I cut a groove in one of the drawer faces and placed it in the right spot.

Drawer locking joint
Joint fitting

That gave me the exact size I needed to cut the drawer faces and backs. The sides are easy since they can’t be shorter than the rails or deeper than the cabinet :slight_smile:

At this point drawer part batching is a lovely thing. I had to resaw the plywood because I wanted the sides to be 1/2″. 3/4″ looked super bulky and ugly. Yes I know it’s plywood, but I didn’t want to fret later.

Batch it all up

Because I resawed the plywood, the inside of course looks like crap. No worries there, the plan is to paint the drawers anyway and these will look fine once painted.

I then cut the drawer bottom grooves on the tablesaw. Had to do two passes because the 1/4″ plywood is actually not 1/4″ but also thicker than the blade kerf. I think it ended up being 1.5 blade kerfs.

Drawer bottom grooves

and after glue up here it is. Interestingly those locking joints made glue easy. Clamping down on the sides, squared things up perfectly.

Drawer fit open
Drawer fit closed

You’ll notice there are some holes in the drawer face… it turns out that though the drawer front and back was cut the exact same size (13″ 9/16th – that was the width of the face and back I needed and got lazy and cut the all the sides the same size) when you put then in the drawer joint one side is actually wider by 1/2″… which makes perfect sense since that is the thickness of the plywood. So I panicked for a moment then checked and sure enough turning the drawer sideways solved the problem and it fit as perfect as one can hope.

Now it’s onto gluing and mounting the rest of the drawers.

Oh about the Drawer Joint Locking bit…

This is what it looks like.

Whiteside Drawer Locking Bit
Whiteside Drawer Locking Bit #3347

The interesting part about this bit is that you set the depth to 5/16th (this is what the instructions recommend), then you adjust the height based on the thickness of the stock. I started at 5/16 and it looked like this when I joined the two parts:

Bit setting too low
Bit setting too low

I learned that because the gap is to the inside, I am not removing enough material and therefore I needed to raise the bit.

When I raised it too much it looked like this:

Bit setting too high
Bit setting too high

So next time it’s super easy to diagnose the fit. take one pass and go… incidentally… the height of the bit is 1/2″ :D I don’t know if that will be the same if the stock is thinner. If I was using 3/4″ stock, I would need a different bit that has a slightly different profile to take advantage of the plywood’s thickness and provide more glueing surface to make the drawer even stronger.

When it fits right, it looks like this:

Bit setting just right
Bit setting just right

and here is the profile of each part.

Bit profile

I realize there are perhaps 100 other ways one can approach this, but this is the way I did. It was fun and lot of learning in the process.


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