Saturday, December 6, 2014

Gerstner inspired tool chest, drawer with half blind dovetails.

Mario Rodriguez once wrote an excellent article for Popular Woodworking on how to make drawers.
He advocated re sawing the stock for the drawers, and then wait a couple of days before working on them, to make sure that all the stress was gone.
I pretty much tried to follow that advice on these drawers, but these boards were actually more twisted now than when I had just planed them. I guess Mr. Rodriguez has got access to better stock than dumpster wood.  Anyway, I can greatly recommend that article if you want some tricks from a pro on making really nice drawers.

I decided to soldier on despite the less than perfect stock. Otherwise the project would have sort of come to a halt.

Some wise man once said that grooving comes before dovetailing. I am not sure if it was Abraham Lincoln, or Niels Bohr, but regardless of who said it, it is still one of those advices that still hold true.

After cutting the stock to the desired lengths, I found my grooving plane and adjusted it, so I could start making the grooves for the drawer runners.
The wide grooves were made by readjusting the fence until I had reached the planned width of the grooves.
Next I adjusted the depth stop and the fence, and made a groove for the bottom. This groove was ploughed in both the front piece and the two sides.

I used my marking gauge to scratch a line on the ends of the boards so I had something to mark my dovetails from.

This is the first time I have made a drawer with a groove for a runner. I decided to put a pin where this wide groove is. Since it is in the middle, it looked OK to me. I guess the drawer will newer be used for a really heavy load, so two tails were deemed to be enough.

First I cut out the tails, which went smooth, since the only material that needed to be removed by chiselling was the middle part where the bulk was already missing due to the wide groove.

Next I drew the outline of the tails on the front board and sawed to my lines. A little bit of work with a chisel and I could make a test assembly of the first corner.

The dovetails came together at first try, but they are a little gappy. I guess the reason was that I never bothered to true up the corners before making them. They're all right for a project like this, and they'll hold. That is the most important thing.

The assembled corner.

Testing the drawer in the cabinet.


  1. Following this with great interest. Drawers on runners and a slide away front, all good stuff and high on my list of details to try. The Gerstner chests have a good deal of appeal. Yours is coming along great.



    1. Gerstner chests are really attractive, I would love to get a real one some day. But making one is also interesting.
      I have had to figure out another way to attach the front than what I originally intended, but I think that I have come up with a better solution. (For my chest at least). But I'll see to that later on in the project.
      I could see myself making another one a home sometime, using elm or some other hard wood,