Small drawer box jointery??

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DaveO

New User
DaveO
I am in the planning stages of my wife's long over due birthday present, a jewelry box. The book that I am stealing the basis for my design from calls for drawer sides and front/backs to be 5/16" thick, 1.5-2.5" tall and 8" wide x 7" deep drawer boxes with butt dadoed joints. What would be better, a full thickness butt joint in a dado or a half thickness butt joint with shoulder. DTs are out of the question due to the small size and number of joints needed. The drawer box's secondary wood will be either Poplar or soft Maple and the fronts will be highly figured curly Maple with 1/8" BB ply bottoms and dividers. I know they are small but I want them to last, and not take me to her next B-day to make. Thanks for ya'lls thoughts. Dave:)
 

Steve D

Member
Steve DeWeese
I don't know what would be best, that comes down to preference for appearance. You might also want to consider a box joint. You could do that easily in that thickness, it would be strong and look nice IMHO.
 

Monty

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Monty
I think half butt/shoulder -- to maximize room in the small drawers. If you're concerned about strength, you could pin the joints with pieces of brass rod ... maybe?
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
Steve thanks, for the thoughts. I had considered a box joint as I have the plans for Insom's sweet jig, but I would rather not interupt the flow of the curly maple drawer fronts with anything. I am planning on sequence cutting the fronts so the figure flows across them. Either joint I mentioned will be done blind so you won't see it at the top intersection of the face and sides. If that adds anything to the thought process. Thanks, Dave:)
 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
Dave, there are several good choices for small drawer joinery. I have used a variety of methods. I have used regular miters reinforced with splines that also serve as decorations. I used a tongue and groove dado joint where a tongue is cut on the front and back on both ends and fits into a corresponding dado in the sides. And I have used plain old butt joints reinforced with dowels both contrasting and plain. I have also used box joints as Steve suggested but you should design your drawer depth to accommodate the fingers properly. For a drawer of that size being used by a lady for storing precious items my choice would be the tongue and groove dado joint. It is simple and strong as it quadruples the glue area. Another alternative is to use a drawer lock bit in the router table but I do not know if they are small enough to accommodate wood of that thickness (5/16").
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
Mike, I am leaning towards the tongue and groove dado joint for the additional glue surface. But I am thinking of doing the tongue in the sides and the groove in the front. The front of the drawers must remain as consistent surface so it has to sit in front of the sides. Do you think that will work and will it be strong enough for a small drawer, that won't see much abuse...my wife has little in the way of jewelry, and doesn't wear what she has very often. Dave:)
 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
Dave, I would guess that it would work that way but obviously that would be the joint's weakest orientation.


Another choice would be a locking box joint, I think that is what it is called. To make this joint you basically divide the end of your piece of wood into thirds. It works best if your saw blade is one-third the thickness of your stock. Carefully, making test cuts set your rip fence so that it one blade thickness away from the blade and projecting 2/3 the thickness of your stock above the table. This setting will be used to cut dados in the side pieces. Run all side pieces through and you will now have a dado that is 2/3 the thickness of your stock one blade width from the end on both ends of your drawer side pieces. This will form a little hook.

Now comes the tricky part. Raise the projection of your blade above the table until it exactly equals the thickness of your stock. Do not change the distance from your fence. Once satisfied with the height, stand your front and back pieces on end and pass them through the blade to cut a centered groove/dado on the end grain of your pieces. Once this is done we have to adjust the blade height once again.

So now we have dados in the side pieces one blade width from the end and 2/3 the thickness of our stock deep. We have dados on the ends of our front and back pieces one blade width from the front and back as deep as our stock is thick.

The next and last step is to trim the inside face of the front and back pieces so the hook formed by the dado in the sides can lock into the front and back pieces and be flush with the end of the front and back. To do this you must lower your blade so that it just projects above the table enough to cut slightly more than 1/3 the thickness of your stock. Then your have to set up a stop block on your fence so that you can remove exactly 1/3 of the inside face on the side of the dado you cut vertically. If this is done properly you will have the face of your drawer untouched and locking hook on the sides that fits over a small tenon on the inside face of your drawer pieces.

I am sure that this description is as clear as mud but this joint is by far the best as it provides the most glue surface as well as mechanical strength and preserves the integrity of your drawer fronts. I hope you understand this. I wrote it and now that the ink is dry I am confused.....:-? :oops:
 
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Joe Scharle

Joe
Corporate Member
Big Mike may be referring to this.





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Unlike a locking miter, this bit is easy to setup. I've used mine in 1/2" drawers with good results. It came with my cabinet set and I had not used one til then.
Joe
 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
Bladeburner, you are correct, that is the router bit method I so poorly referred to. My concern there is that it may not be possible to get a bit small enough for the stock Dave is using. I have used that bit and it works just fine.

Dave here is a link with pictures and text to the drawer lock joint cut on a table saw I so ineptly described. I could show you in half the time it took to write that poorly worded description.

http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/hi_tools/article/0,2037,DIY_13936_4219278,00.html

I believe that this is the best choice for your application although set up is somewhat tedious. If you were to use 3/8" stock and a 1/8" blade it is pretty simple. That is what I have done when I have used it in the past.
 
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DaveO

New User
DaveO
Actually, Mike your narrative was excellent, I was able to draw an example so I could visualize it even before I scrolled down and saw the DIY link. Thanks for taking the time to type all that out for me. That is definitely the best joint for my application, and really doesn't look that hard to do. I have a nice 1/8" flat topped rip blade that should result in a nice clean joint. Thanks, Dave:)
 

stoneskippers

New User
John Skipper
Dave if you have a router table or just a hand held you might want consider a reverse joint router bit. The joint is very strong and you will not see the joints.
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
John, sorry for my ignorance what is a "reverse joint" router bit. I have both a table (crappy, but functional) and a few handheld routers, so I would be very interested in that concept. Thanks, Dave
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
Gotcha, so basically it will cut the same joint as Big Mike is suggesting doing on the TS. Thanks for the clarification. Dave:)
 

D L Ames

New User
D L Ames
Thanks for posting that link Big Mike. I have used a lock miter bit before but I am going to try this technique from the DIY link for making a lock joint with the TS.
 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
DL, for thin wood such as Dave is proposing to use it is IMHO the best joint for the job. And it is not all that difficult if you take care with some trial cuts.
 

D L Ames

New User
D L Ames
Believe me Big Mike, I am a big fan of test cutting and prototyping. The DIY link mainly discussed using 1/2" stock with a final note on adapting the technique for 3/4" stock. I am assuming you just do the math to adjust the width of the dados and rabbits to support whatever size stock you are using....in Dave's case 5/16".

D L
 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
You got it DL, but that is why I recommended using 3/8" stock as the math is infinitely simpler. When I learned the technique I was taught using the 1/3 rule and the DIY link uses a 1/2 rule. Maybe the 1/2 rule works better with thicker stock. It really is not hard to set up and makes a very stong joint. For small drawers I use it all the time and with 1/8" plywood glued in for the drawer bottoms the drawers become indestructible, well almost....8-O
 

Joe Scharle

Joe
Corporate Member
Found this in one of my old books. I haven't done it myself, but I will when the next thaw comes. I have a much better copy on Word that I can email, but the main thing here is the relationships with 3/8" stock.

 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
Hey, Bladeburner that sure looks like a great way to do it with a slotting bit. I may have to try that. Thanks for sharing.
 
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