While my dad was sleeping off the flu in February, I was plundering his drawers. The man has an English chest problem like I have a hammer problem. I pulled out all the drawers of his six or seven 19th-century chests of drawers and gave a close look at their construction details.
One of the features I quite liked was the way that some of them dealt with the groove plowed in the sides and drawer front that capture’s the drawer bottom. There are lots of ways to deal with the groove so it’s not visible on the outside of the drawer.
– You can use drawer slips instead of a groove.
– You can bury the groove in a half-tail in the drawer’s side.
– You can, with care, bury the groove in a full tail in the drawer side.
– You can skip the groove and use a plywood bottom and cleats.
– And on and on.
Many of the drawers in my dad’s house use what we moderns would call a finger joint at the bottom of the drawer side. It’s essentially a half-tail with a 0Ã?Â° slope. It’s easy to cut using hand tools, looks pretty good and avoids having a big half-tail at the bottom of the drawer side. Click here to see a photo I took at my dad’s.
I used this layout in a couple drawers that I built yesterday and I like it. The only trick comes when you are transferring the tail layout to your pin board. The groove plowed in the finger joint prevents you from getting your knife against the pin board.
So instead, I just used the wall of the groove and a square to strike the knife line on the pin board. It worked fine. There are some other details to my dad’s drawers that I’ll discuss in future posts. Right now I have to go help shoot a magazine cover.
– Christopher Schwarz
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