Four Good Ways to Build Drawers


This drawer method is so simple it should be illegal. With one table saw setup and a dado stack you can build drawers all day long.

Two critical accessories are required. You need a stacking dado set. You’ll only use the two outer blades of the dado set to cut 1/4″ rabbets. (If you don’t have a dado set you could also use a single 1⁄8″-kerf blade. This would require some set-up changes, but the concept is the same.) You also need a zero-clearance insert for your saw, which supports your work during the cut.

On a finished front drawer as shown here, rabbet the front and back. On a false front drawer, rabbet the sides. We recommend shooting brads through the sides into the rabbet. These brads will add some strength and reduce the clamping necessary to build these drawers. — DT

Set it up once and forget it – how simple. The first step is mounting the two full dado blades to achieve a 1/4″-wide cut. Then set the cut height.

Next, slide the rip fence toward the blades and lock the fence exactly 1/2″ from the outside tip of the blades.

You’re ready to cut. The rabbets are made only on the drawer fronts and backs. The side pieces are left intact. The first pass should be made at the end of the piece. Use your miter gauge to guide the cut to remove the waste.

The second pass is made with the end of the piece guiding along the rip fence, defining the inside shoulder of the rabbet. It may be necessary to make a third pass to clean out the center of the rabbet’s cheek.

The last cut is for the 1/4″ x 1/4″ groove to accept the  bottom. It’s made by running the two sides and front piece (shown) flat on the saw, guiding the bottom edge against the fence. The back is 1⁄2″ narrower and has no bottom groove. PW

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