Easier Joinery for Curved Drawer Fronts
Clever jigs control the curves
Synopsis: To produce predictable curves and accurate joinery on a bowfront dresser, Alan Turner built a series of jigs: a two-part bending form, a cradle for crosscutting the curved drawer fronts, a jig for routing the stopped dovetail sockets, and a curved fence for the router table that enabled him to cut the slot for the drawer bottom on the concave inner face of the drawer fronts.
My colleague at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop, Mario Rodriguez, recently designed this threedrawer bowfront dresser and handed it off to me, the resident jigmeister, to figure out an efficient way to build it. The key questions I faced were how to produce the curved drawer fronts and how to join them to the drawer sides.
I considered steam-bending the drawer fronts, but I thought I wouldn’t get consistent enough curves. I could have bandsawn the fronts out of solid wood, but that would…