The most time-consuming part of dovetailing drawers is the tedious tap-tap-tapping with mallet and chisel to cut the half-blind pins in the drawer fronts. So, when I was faced with making eight mahogany drawers with a 1/4-in. overlay on the fronts, I decided to cut these pins with an offset laminate trimmer that I’d recently acquired. The method I devised takes advantage of the offset trimmer’s unique features: It provides excellent visibility of the bit, it is small and lightweight and it has an offset center of gravity. The resulting pins are speedily and easily cut without looking as if they were mass-produced with a jig. First, I laid out the tails on the drawer sides using the two dovetail marking tools described in Fine Woodworking #53 on p. 51, and then bandsawed them out. Because the backs were joined with simple through dovetails, I marked the pins from the tails and bandsawed them. After marking the pin locations for the half-blind dovetails on the drawer fronts, I clamped one of the fronts to the side of my worktable using a special setup and pipe clamp vise, as shown in the above drawing. Two fences are key to the setup.…
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In this video, Matt takes some of the lessons learned in episodes 3 & 4 and builds on them to demonstrate the North Bennet Street method for the half-blind, or half-lapped, dovetails on the toolbox drawers.