In Techniques

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Universal Drawer Holder

When I make dovetailed drawers, I usually plane the sides to even up the joints and fine-tune the drawer’s fit. Years ago, I found that you can’t accurately plane a side unless it’s fully supported from underneath. This jig does just that and easily adjusts to fit drawers from 8″ to 20″ long.

Here’s the problem: Without support, the side can bend as you push down on the plane. Either the plane won’t cut in the middle of the board, or when you’re done planing and the side springs back, its surface is convex from end to end—not flat. Weird, isn’t it?

I used to cut a support board to custom-fit each drawer, but this jig is much handier. It’s composed of two parts: a base, which sits on the bench, and a sled, which slides on top of the base. (A runner isn’t necessary.)

Both parts are 3/4″ plywood. The base is two layers thick; the top layer consists of a stop that the drawer butts against and a fence that guides and retains the sled. The stop has one slot for holding the drawer’s front, while the sled has two slots for holding the drawer’s back, depending on the drawer’s length.

Use two clamps to hold the jig down to the bench. Place one clamp on the stop; put the other clamp on the far end of the sled after you’ve mounted the drawer. –Alejandro Balbis

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