4 Steps to a Sweet-Fitting Drawer
How to make drawers that fit as good as they look
Synopsis: This step-by-step procedure for fitting a drawer comes from Rob Porcaro’s years of experience making furniture. The key is that it does not compound errors as you move through the steps, but rather eliminates them. From the first step of tapering the case slightly to make it slightly wider at the back, to the process of fitting the drawer front to its opening, to cutting the dovetails, Porcaro guarantees his procedure will get you a great fitting drawer every time.
From Fine Woodworking #224
You don’t need to know any mysterious art passed down from a master to fit a drawer successfully. All you need is a logical process. And that’s what I’d like to share with you. I’ve distilled what I’ve learned through the years into a clear path that guarantees success. The key is that it eliminates—rather than compounds—errors as you move through the steps.
I start with an old cabinetmaker’s trick: I taper the width of the drawer pocket slightly. Then I fit the drawer front to its opening. It’s easy to take that one board and plane its ends and edges so that it fits perfectly into the opening, even if the opening itself is slightly out of square. I then make the sides and back to match the front. There’s nothing new about these steps. but after them, I do one thing that will be new to some of you. Instead of marking and cutting my dovetails so that the pins are proud, I leave the drawer sides slightly proud. That makes gluing the drawer together much easier and takes all the hassle out of fitting it. All you need to do is plane the sides down to the pins and the drawer slides right in.