I milled the stock for all of the drawers, and I sharpened all of my tools for dovetailing. The first step with the drawer parts is to plane a groove on the inside face 3/8 of an inch from the bottom edge. I used my plow plane with a 1/4 inch wide iron. It's tricky to adjust the depth of the cutter, and the fence has a tendency not to move back and forth and remain parallel, so I tune it in on a piece of scrap. I also dialed in the depth stop on the test piece.
|Testing out the plow plane settings on a piece of scrap|
|Rabbeting the ends of the tailboard|
|Sawing the tails|
|Removing the waste between the tails with a coping saw|
|Chiseling to the baseline|
|Sawing the pins|
|Coping out the waste|
|Chopping to the baseline|
After chopping to the baseline, I test fit the joints. I carve out a bevel on the inside corner of the dovetail to make inserting the dovetail easier, and it also prevents the hard corner from mashing the pins, or the pins from crushing the corner of the tail. Even though half of the pinboard's faces will be covered by the drawer face application, it is a good practice.
|Carving out a bevel on the tailbaord|
Since there were five drawers to make, I got into a rhythm and cut one drawer about every two hours. Gang cutting the tails makes the process much more efficient. If I was to guess, I would say sawing the tails goes by in half the time than if I sawed each tailboard individually, especially since I gang coped out the waste between the tails. My sawing was warmed up, and I sawed as close to the knife lines as I could, and I sawed each cut plumb, so all of my dovetails came together with no extra fitting. Before gluing the drawers together, I smooth planed the inside faces of the drawers, and cut off the bottom edge of the drawer backs, and I used the groove as a guide for planing away the saw marks.
|Smooth planing the inside face of the drawers|
|Gluing the drawers with hide glue|
The next day, I fit the drawers into their openings. First, I planed the bottom edges around the drawers to be coplanar, then the top edges. I planed the drawer sides until the drawer fit into its opening. Since three of the drawer fronts are longer than my bench is tall, I had to get creative with securing it to my bench for planing. I resolved to use two holdfasts in the bench's leg, and a clamp across the benchtop. Having a bench with legs flush to the top's edge is very important for things like this. I definitely recommend for those looking for a new bench to build their own.
|Planing the bottom edge of the drawers|
|Planing the drawer sides|
|Scribing around the drawer|
|Planing the drawer front flush|
|Five completed drawers|