A smart way to create dovetailed dividers
In this master class episode, Tom McLaughlin finishes the construction of the case for the Shaker dresser, creating the front and back dividers and eventually gluing up the case.
Sponsored by Lee Valley/Veritas
The drawer dividers on this Shaker dresser will be joined and fitted using exposed sliding dovetail joinery. It all starts with a homemade jig that guides a router equipped with a 5/8-in. guide collar and a 3/4-in.-wide 14° dovetail bit. This simple jig made of plywood makes cutting the sliding dovetail slots efficient and accurate by referencing off the bottom and front of one side of each side panel, and then flipping it to reference off the bottom and back of the other side of the panel. This creates perfectly aligned and parallel dovetail slots at 90° to the front. A second dovetail jig is used to cut the singular center dovetail slots for the vertical divider that separates the top opening into two drawer openings.
With the slots cut, the case can now be dry-assembled and the drawer dividers determined and cut to length. Once the dividers are cut to length, the ends of all the dividers are cut on the router table, holding vertically against the fence, using the same dovetail bit used to cut the sliding dovetailed slots.
After a dry-fit, the case sides, top, and bottom are glued up, checking for square by measuring and adjusting until the diagonals are equal, or by using a squaring stick.