What Are Dovetail Drawers?

Dovetail Drawers

Dovetail drawers are made from solid wood and are distinguished by their unique construction at the outside corner, which resembles a jigsaw puzzle that is perfectly fit. Dovetail drawers are popular options for kitchen cabinets due to their longevity and endurance. They are sometimes enhanced with glue for extra durability.

These types of drawers are more expensive than standard drawers because they require quality wood and professional skill to make. For areas in your house that drawers get heavy use, dovetail drawers are recommended since they bear more weight and still last long.

Benefits of dovetail drawers

For you to appreciate these expensive drawers, you need to understand what you are paying for. We researched some of the benefits of dovetail drawers so that you don’t have to. Here we go:

  • They are designed with precision and skill, making them look elegant and stylish 
  • Dovetail joints make them durable and enduring to wear and tear
  • They are strong enough to hold heavy items, making them ideal for storage of heavy kitchenware
  • Dovetail drawers are made from superior quality wood

Step by step procedure of making dovetail drawers

In case you want to make your kitchen cabinets or dovetail drawers for your bedside stand, this section is for you. We take you through everything you need to know, including the tools and material you need, and show you how to assemble elegant and robust dovetail drawers. This project is beginner-friendly, and you don’t need much experience to execute correctly. Read on!

For this project, you will need:

  1. Table saw
  2. Dovetail jig
  3. Dado blade set for your saw
  4. An orbital sander
  5. Jointer
  6. Solid maple for front and sides cut according to desired drawer size
  7. Maple plywood for the bottom (¼ inch thickness will do)
  8. Woodworkers glue and 1-inch wood screws
  9. Eye and ear protection

Procedure:

For accuracy and precision, it is advisable to have a sketch with the dimensions you want to make. This project will take about two hours to complete.

  1. Cut four sides of the drawers to length according to your plan and sketch. Mostly, drawers are built from 1x stock, but the widths vary depending on the drawer’s height. Use a table saw to rip the stock to the desired width then cut four sides to their finished lengths. Every opposite side should have the same length: front and back should measure the same length.
  2. After cutting the sides to their desired length, its time to cut the pins and dovetails. Traditionally, dovetails were handmade using a chisel and dovetail saw, but now we have dovetail jigs for better and easier results. For best results, it is advisable to follow step by step instructions on your dovetail jig since every model is different and has different instructions. Here are some general recommendations when cutting dovetails and pins regardless of your model:
  • Please start with the tails since pins are easy to adjust and cut off until they fit. Set up your dovetail jig, ready for cutting tails and begin with the side pieces. Always ensure you follow specific instructions on your dovetail jig. After cutting the first tail, turn the stock 180 degrees and cut the opposite side. Once you finish with one piece, similarly cut the opposite side.
  • Change to pin configuration on your dovetail jig and change your bit to a straight cutting one if you need to. Remove your board from the jig and test fit with one that has a tail-end. If satisfied with the fit, continue to cut the other side and also the opposite piece.
  1. The next step will involve cutting grooves on all pieces to accommodate your drawer’s bottom.
  • First, try to fit all sides of the box together, then use a pencil to mark where the groove should be made.
  • Set up your router and table with a quarter-inch straight cutting bit and adjust your bit to 3/8 inches above the table. Verify the thickness of each piece of stock.
  • Make a pencil mark at a distance on the fence on each side of the bit to show your grooves start and stop points
  • Wear eye and ear protection gear and turn on your router then place your stock facing the table. Slide your stock forward while holding it firmly against the fence on the table until it reaches your pencil mark. Angle your stock carefully, then lift if off the bit starting with the back edge. Repeat the process on the other three stocks to precisely cut grooves.
  • Cut your plywood to size in readiness for the drawer assembly.
  1. Assemble your drawers

Before you assemble your drawer, it is crucial to test fit and see if everything goes in well and make adjustments where necessary. Dry fit all pieces together and when you like the outcome, start the final assembly. For this, you will need to apply woodworkers glue into each tail and spread using a brush that fits into the tails and ensure each edge is coated with glue.

The next step is to attach properly glued tails to the pins and ensure they seat correctly. Wipe off any excess glue that squeezes out. Repeat the process until you assemble three sides of the drawer leaving out one side to make it easy to attach the bottom. Insert the bottom drawer by sliding the bottom into the grooves of the pinboards.

5. Clamp the drawer and set to dry, ensuring it is appropriately squared. It would help to use a bar clamps at the bottom and top side of the drawers to hold your drawers in place while the dry.

6. Sand your drawer box and attach it to a front, then you have your lovely dovetail drawers made from scratch.

Making your drawers from scratch can be difficult but fulfilling for people who are hands-on and love DIY projects. But if you are not a handy person, you can still enjoy the durability and elegance that comes with these drawers by buying ready-made ones. You can make this project exciting and hustle-free by shopping online. Not only will you get a variety to choose from, but you will also enjoy great prices. Let’s look at some key things you should have in mind before purchasing dovetail drawers online.

Factors to consider when buying dovetail drawers online

Material

Dovetail drawers are popular for their unique and robust joints, which can only stand when made with the right type of wood. If you want long-lasting drawers that will withstand heavy use, go for hardwood. Drawers made of a hardwood may cost you more upfront, but in the long run, you save on maintenance and repair costs.

Details 

If you are looking for cabinets for decorative purposes, you will want drawers with extra fine details such as stylish drawer pulls and matching panels. If your drawers are for storage purposes only, go for fewer details to save on the cost.

Reviews

Just like everything else bought online, reading customer reviews on your choice of drawers will equip you with first-hand information on quality. Ensure the drawers you choose to have positive reviews from customers who have used them. You can also consult your family and friends who have bought such drawers for an honest review.

Price

The price of dovetail drawers is a good indicator of quality. Best quality dovetail drawers require skill, hard work and pricey wood, thus making them expensive. If you find dovetail drawers that are too cheap, chances are they are low quality. For drawers, it is better to save up and buy expensive ones that will last longer than buy cheap ones that will need replacement now and then.

Conclusion 

Dovetail drawers get their name from the sturdy dovetail joints that make them durable and elegant for any cabinet. If you want new drawers that will last forever, then these drawers are the way to go. They can be used for your kitchen cabinets, bedside drawers or even storage in your pantry. Before buying or making dovetail drawers, ensure you have all the details. We hope that this post equips you will all the information you need on dovetail drawers.

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