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Drawer Dovetails

Tony's Method

Tony has sent me details of how he makes drawer, also known as half-blind or hidden dovetails on his WoodRat. There is a little final hand cutting to do as there also is with the standard WoodRat way. Tony originally posted this on the UKworkshop forum here where the full version and larger pictures can be seen.

So over to you Tony.....

"Thanks to Alan (Aldel) for his method of cutting through DTs which inspired this method for half-blind ones.


First of all, I LOVE cutting through dovetails by hand. It is the woodworking operation I most enjoy. However, I don't like cutting half-blind by hand as the waste is a pain to remove. I decided to find a good way to use the Rat on half-blind DTs.

Second point is that I like to use the aluminium bars for most operations.

My method allows any TCT straight cutter to be used regardless of the DT bit used (within reason).

The following method was used to cut half-blind DTs in three 200mm deep drawers 2 weekends ago. These half-blind DTs were cut and finished in 4 hours which I think is not bad at all.

 

First, I cut the slots for the bottom using the router table. I use these slots to align the wood a bit later.
 

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I cut the tails in the sides in the normal way using a Woodrat HSS DT bit. I clamped all six sides together and routed all of the tails in one go. Fast.

I mount the drawer front in the vice and push a small piece of base material into the routed slot to align the front to the side during marking out of pins.
 
Then mark out the pins using a sharp craft knife. I ran a 0.3mm pencil along the pencil line afterwards to make it more visible during routing. I also use a little desk spotlight to ensure accurate cutting.

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I set the stop on the Rat to allow the router to cut to the required depth of the pins (back to front of the drawer front). I find this easier if the router is running as I move it towards the line. I set the stop at the point that the cutter just touches the line.
 
I route as close as I can to the lines without going over the top. This is really quick and accomplished in one pass as the depth stop is set to the full depth of cut.
 
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Finally, I quickly clean up with a few chisels. This is really quick and easy as almost all of the wood is already removed. I ground a couple of cheap Marples chisels as skew chisels to help clean out the corners.
 
Here is my very first attempt - this is not glued and has not been clamped yet.

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Tools used.


This method works for me and the cams and button will remain in a drawer for the foreseeable future.

3 drawers in 4 hours at my first attempt is, in my opinion, pretty quick although reading this one might think the method slow. It isn't as only a little wood is removed with the chisels."

Cheers
Tony

Thanks for sending that in, as its such a simple idea. It just did not occur to me to do it that way. I guess I thought that the angled cuts would be a problem but clearly they aren't. Just take care not to go over the line and trim back with a chisel!  There are no curved pockets that happen with some of the purpose made dovetail jigs and its quick too. I imagine good lighting is essential though.

Whoooops! Anyone spot the little mistake?         Yes, .........hidden dovetails should start with a pin and not a part tail. A simple error but the method remains the same.

Well done!


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18/05/2012