Woodworking Cabinet Making Process

Although most of the walnut chest of drawers have 19 dovetail drawers, some of them require an organized system of marking, cutting, assembling and fitting results in drawers with a piston fit. The piece has a frame-and-panel carcass and bent-laminate drawer fronts that provide a built-in pull underneath.

To achieve a pull that's integrated with the design of the drawer front, the author routs a cove in each front, then attaches a short section of dowel made from a contrasting wood for the pull. The through dovetails on the fronts provide another visual detail.


Woodworking Cabinet Making Process

Shipping a drawered chest to a drier climate can cause even well fit drawers to rattle, so I always take the precaution of buying my drawer stock thoroughly dry and keeping it that way.This woodworking drawer making has some important basic steps. To follow a proper way, see below.


1.      Drawer materials

The first step toward building a solid, stable drawer is to choose the right materials. Drawer sides should only be cut from top-quality, mild-grain and preferably quartersawn timber. It's good to use lumber that planes easily and shows minimum movement or warping over time.

My favorites are Honduras mahogany and quartered English oak. I like my drawer sides to contrast the fronts, so I usually use mahogany with light-color drawer fronts, such as ash or sycamore, and oak with rosewood or walnut fronts. From time to time, I've also used teak for drawer sides because of its excellent wearing properties.

Wavy-graincamore can be nice on special cabinets where the visual quality of the sides is important, but the wood's interlocking grain planes poorly, and this can cause problems in drawer fitting. Working with the woods is easier with power tools.

I usually make my drawer fronts from the same wood as the carcass, and I save the highly figured sections for these most- visible parts. To make a stable front out of a wild-grain board, I may cut 8-in.-thick veneers and glue them to both sides of a mild-grain board of the same species.


2.      Creating Pattern



I also use this method to create grain patterns on drawer fronts, such as a book-match between adjacent fronts, or when I don't have enough figured solid wood to cover the drawer fronts for an entire piece.

For consistency of movement and sheer convenience, I use the same timber for the backs as for the sides, machined to the same thickness. Wherever possible, I use the offcuts after having cut out the sides. For drawer bottoms, I almost always use solid cedar.

I love the smell, and so do my clients, but happily, the moths and worms do not. If I need to make extremely thin bottoms to get the maximum depth inside a drawer, I use thin plywood, such as 8-in. Baltic birch, and then veneer it on both sides with cedar.

All drawer stock must be thoroughly dry and allowed to stabilize in your workshop. Sticker the planed boards in the warmest part of the shop for weeks, if possible. Allow the air to circulate around each board.

If your shop is not heated or as dry as it should be, bring the boards into the house. The relevance of this advice depends on the climate where you live and the destination of the furniture piece. I live in one of the wettest parts of Britain, where central heating is needed more than half the year.


Construction of the Drawer

Whether I'm building five drawers or 50, I group all my cutting, assembling and fitting work together so I complete each step on all the drawers before moving on. This exploits the fact that the more you repeat a process, the faster and more skillful you become

Before cutting out the parts for flush-fitting drawers, I go through the stickered boards and set aside any severely warped pieces. I then joint one edge of each board and rip the boards to width. I determine the widths by measuring the height of the openings on the carcass, then rip all the sides and fronts 1/16 in. wider so there's extra to be trimmed later.

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