Sunday, March 3, 2013


Drawers are a lot of work. On more than one occasions I've heard others say that a way to gauge the quality of work  being done on a project is to look at doors, drawers and stairs. Making drawers, doors and stairs look good requires some patience.

All the drawers in the salon are built using half blind dovetails. I used a Porter Cable dovetail jig, and can't really complain about what a nice job these jigs do. The drawer box was built with half blind dovetails on the front, and a dado on the back.The bottom of the drawer is also let  in to the sides with a dado. The actual drawer front, the part one sees when the drawer is closed, is screwed to the drawer box after the drawer is fit in to the opening. Another way to do this would be to use a rabbeted half blind dovetail drawer, which dovetails the drawer finished front the the drawer sides. The rabbeted  half blind joint is more precise, and a joint I really did not feel like messing with. I like the flexibility of being able to adjust the drawer front by using the half blind joint.

I used some of my Cherry to build the drawer  half blind drawer front. For the sides, I used Ash which I have had in the barn loft for twelve or so years. The back of the drawer is 3/4" Birch plywood. The bottom of the drawers is 1/4" Oak or Birch plywood ( whatever I had in the  barn). I planed the Ash sides to 5/8" thick just because I like the look the thinner stock gives, and I made the Cherry front 3/4". The decorative front of the drawers is also 3/4" Cherry  that I rounded over the edge with a 3/8 round over bit.

The Porter Cable dovetail jig is a nice tool. The drawers work best if you keep the height of the drawers in one inch increments the add a 1/4". So drawers with heights of 3 1/4", 4 1/4", 5 1/4"  and so on work the best. It's not a deal killing act if one doesn't build to these dimensions, it's just that the half pins look best and centered by sticking to the whole plus 1/4". Success of building a drawer is good layout, and making sure all your cuts are perfectly square and all stock is jointed straight and planed flat. I have a half way decent miter saw, but I still prefer to make all my critical cuts on the table saw using stops to make sure all my stock is exactly the same length. There's no mistaking that the table saw is the work horse of the shop.

One of the center pieces of the Salon is the dinette. The dinette has four drawers under it and also has the chase way for the wheel house air conditioning duct and the salon air conditioning duct. In order to keep things moving along, I decided to build the dinette drawer unit as a modular piece. Because I am going to be  moving the drawer unit to the launch site, I had to be able to keep it square. In order to do this I let in a diagonal brace gluing and screwing it in place. The hardware I'm using won't work right unless everything is square and true.

Like most everything I've been doing on the build, things are much easier since she's still in the barn. Having all the cabinet and case work now complete, while it took a few weeks in the barn, saved me a couple of months by not doing it at the launch site. I think my modular plan is going to work.

Now that the drawers, and cabinets are completely finished, the next item on the to do list is the dinette itself. The dinette table is going to collapse down to make a bed, and will be large enough for two to sleep in.

Another builder I follow is working on his building the sail rig of his 75' schooner named Phoenix. He has a lot of nice colloquialisms, and one that fits what I'm doing is " this is not a how to do this, rather how I did it".
This for sure describes what I have happening on my boat building adventure, and I think I'll be quoting James again in he future if it's OK with James.



  1. Awesome work mate. I been planning to do something like this for my old Bisley filing cabinets using some scrap materials in my garage.

  2. Thanks Chelsea,

    Drawers are a fun project that doesn't burn up a lot of cash.

  3. Hey Conall, could you show us some detail on your sliders for the below the floor drawers? Are they different than what you're used elsewhere?

  4. Hi,

    The boating season does wind down in many parts of the country, and it becomes time to start thinking about protecting your valuable recreational asset. I hope that it eventually proves easier for you the reader to follow the postings.

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