Dovetailing and drawer fitting

Due to semi-retirement this course is no longer offered.

However, you may find the series of free to watch online instructional videos below helpful.

This course was designed to take your dovetailing to the next level. It was for those seeking extreme accuracy in both jointing and also drawer fitting. The aim was to make a set of double drawers with a piston fit. The sort where one drawer springs out as the other is pushed in!

drawer fitting project

Course Description

This course is an opportunity for you to get to grips with hand  cutting accurate dovetails and creating perfectly fitting drawers – so perfectly fitting that one drawer comes out when you push the other in!

The course is based around making a unit of two drawers. The standard piece is in walnut with oak drawer sides and cedar of Lebanon bottoms, other timber combinations are optional.

This will not be a kit assembly exercise. You will prepare the parts to dimension and cut all the joints.  The emphasis will be on care, method and accuracy.

If you are less experienced and want to learn the basics of dovetailing then my Dovetailing Weekend Course will be perfect for you.

See Course Dates 

About the course.

Yes. As an advanced course some previous experience is expected.

You should be able to lay out and hand cut a basic set of dovetails.

The aim of the course is to refine your dovetailing, increasing precision which leads to crisper more elegant tails and smoother fitting drawers.

We will be making a set of two drawers that fit into a carcase that is dominoed together. You can choose which timber you would like to make then in.

We start the course with working on the carcase into which the pair of drawers will fit. Accuracy is as important here as in the dovetailing, if the box is not right the drawers will not run smoothly. We will aim to make the box a fraction of a millimetre narrower at the front than the back. Hopefully the carcase making will take about a day and a half.

With the carcase complete we start on the drawers, preparing the parts to size so they are square and a snug sliding fit into the carcase. We will do a practice set of one through and one lap dovetail just to limber up before working of the drawer dovetails proper.

For the real thing through dovetails are cut at the back and on one drawer lap dovetails at the front. The other drawer front is treated differently, it has a through dovetail then a facing piece is applied to form the lap. This is done to demonstrate how you can use attractive grained timber economically to give matching fronts across a set of drawers.

With the drawers glued up they are finally fitted, hopefully with just a few shaving from a sharp finely set plane. The cedar of Lebanon drawer bottoms can now be fitted. As the drawer sides are quite thin we use drawer slips.

That completes the making, all that’s left it to fit knobs. I can provide some in turned box wood or you can fit your own.

The emphasis is on accuracy and precision throughout the course, working to very close tolerancies. The background music will probably be Bach to provide a calming atmosphere whilst cutting the dovetails !

• Simple carcase construction for fine-fitting drawers using domino jointer and router.
• Preparation of drawer parts to achieve a fine fit.
• Laying out through dovetails for drawer backs.
• Hand-cutting through dovetails.
• Laying out a set of lap dovetails.
• Hand-cutting lap dovetails.

• Construction of false lap dovetails using 3mm saw cut veneer.
• Making drawer slips.
• Fitting solid wood drawer bottoms using drawer slips.
• Fitting vertical grain drawer stops.
• Precise drawer fitting to achieve a fine fit.
• The importance of accuracy and precision.

Sorry this course no longer runs however you may find some of these free to watch instructional videos helpful

online woodwork course video
Watch online video woodwork instruction. Click for full list of videos in this series.

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