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  I know you have projects that go on and on...well I do too. Except that this project, the 18 drawer chest,  got put away for the winter—I plum forgot about it. When I was reading the Projects on the Menu Page, I saw it...so now I will finish it up. The 18 drawer fronts, from all different exotic woods, sit at the right, and I have just cut all the drawer components.

    I have a number of dovetail jigs and my first task was to think of which one would work best for this project. There are drawers of three different heights and the drawer elements are of 1/2" poplar.
  My first thought was to use a variable spaced jig, but a friend was complaining about the Incra Ultra "not having variable spacing," and I started to think about this. Strictly speaking, that is true, but very misleading.
   Let me explain.

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  With my three drawer sizes in hand, I look in the book of Incra Jig templates. I start by looking for  one bit that will work well for 1/2" stock.  AND then, find the templates that both use that bit and will work on the three different drawer heights.

    It takes a second or two to locate the template that will work on the widest stock. It will be template DOVJ and I will be able to cut 3 tails. The general rule for laying out dovetails is to have one-half a pin at both ends. Less than that may be too weak a pin; more will be just a "heavier" look than you may want. My red marks indicate the amount of pins I will have for this wide board.

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    For the mid-size width, I place it on the same template and I can get two tails, but the pins will be just a little wider that in the first. Will that matter? I don't think so. The drawers will not be seen side by side, so minor differences will not be noticed..

   The smallest side is the hardest to figure. In many jigs, there would be no way to handle such a small side. You might think you can just switch to a smaller bit, but in fact, a smaller bit wouldn't be large enough to cut this thickness of wood. That fact applies to all  dovetail devices. If I use the same template that will work for the others, I will have 1 1/2 tails. That won't do at all.

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   So I move the small piece of wood down the displays of templates, but still staying with the exact same bit.
   The next template down (DOVK) would work, but the pins would be very narrow—and weak.

   The next listing is for the DOVL. which is way to wide.

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  Next, is the DOVM which is just right. Does it sound like the story of Goldielocks and the three bears? Well that is really the point of this exercise, there will be several templates that can work, but one will be "just right." You don't have infinite variability, but there is almost that with the number of templates available and your imagination.

To illustrate the cutting of the drawer joints, I will do the widest joint all the way through — step-by-step. But I will show the three drawers at the end, so you can see how the slightly different pin sizes will look.  

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   In that, I am adding a false front to the drawers, the dovetail could be of either 1/2-blind (upper) or through (lower) style. Months ago when I first reviewed the Incra Ultra, I was pleasantly surprised to find that both are easy to make. The decision comes down to aesthetics.
   The picture here is of those corners I made during the earlier report. For this project, I will do the  1/2-blind dovetails.
   No more decisions to make,   so let's make the dovetail corners.

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