Jig Makes it Easier to Plane Sides of Drawers
It usually is necessary to plane the sides of an assembled drawer in order to get a perfect fit. But it can be a chore to hold the drawer in place for planing. The typical routine requires that you clamp the drawer to the side of a bench, take a pass with the plane, unclamp the drawer, check the fit, reclamp, take another pass with the plane, and so on.
This simple jig saves time and effort. It consists of two main parts: a yoke that mounts in the end vise and a support board that clamps to the workbench. Once the jig is set up, you simply slide the drawer in place and plane. Slide the drawer out to check the fit. The jig provides support so that the sides stay flat. It also holds the drawer in such a way that I don’t feel like I’m stressing the corner joinery. The yoke is a rectangular piece of 3/4-in.-thick plywood. A 1-in.-wide slot cut in the yoke accepts either the drawer front or back. Attaching a hardwood cleat to the underside of the yoke allows it to be clamped in the vise.
The support board has slots on each side to accommodate drawers of different depths. I hold it in place by sliding a clamp through one of the benchdog holes, which keeps the clamp clear of the planing area. A bench hook also would work. By flipping the piece end for end and moving the clamp to different benchdog holes, I can fit drawers of almost any width or length. If I can’t, I just cut a new slot in the plywood.
Drawings by Jim Richey.