View Full Version : These drawers are testing my skill.

Bret Duffin
03-20-2011, 1:07 AM
To All,

I've started a new project, a display cabinet setting on a small round fronted table with a pair of drawers. I've built the legs, frame and curved molding for the table top which was interesting but not that difficult. I then resawed some thin boards and glued them up on a curved press for the rounded drawer fronts. I wanted to join the drawer sides to the fronts using half-blind DTs. I just decided to cut the joints by hand as I couldn't see a way to make these joints on a curved front trapezoidal drawer box other than by hand. This was a challenge I discovered.

I got them put together but they are far from perfect. I've got a little cosmetic surgery to perform on a couple of the tails and some fitting to do of the drawers into the cabinet. Considering the difficulty factor, I'd give myself a passing grade. I learned a bit about how to deal with these skewed angled dovetail joints.

This is just the base stand for a curved fronted display that will sit on top of it. It's Black Walnut and White Ash, black and white.

Thanks for looking, Bret


Chip Lindley
03-20-2011, 1:21 AM
Bret, your photos look GREAT from a distance. You chose a fairly difficult style to learn on. Giving it a good try is HOW we learn.

Bruce Page
03-20-2011, 2:16 AM
That looks pretty darn impressive to me.
Not to mention that ash isn't the easiest wood to work with.

Bret Duffin
03-20-2011, 2:16 AM

I'm not new at this woodworking thing, just this particular type of angled drawer joinery done by hand. I used my Iphone for the photos, which is very handy. I'll use a better camera when I've got things all buffed up. The number of drawers I've built is probably in the thousands, maybe the tens of thousands, maybe not, a lot anyway.

I'm always trying to find something new to challenge myself with.


Dave Gaul
03-20-2011, 7:59 AM
Great effort so far, looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Brian W Evans
03-20-2011, 9:01 AM

That is one nice looking piece! Love the design and the wood choices. From the pictures you've posted, the drawers look great. Any chance you'd be willing to discuss how the process (layout, cutting) differs when working with a curved front?

Joshua Culp
03-20-2011, 3:32 PM

The drawers and table look great.

I would like to see/know more about your pipe clamp vise. I have seen several different variations on the theme, but not yours. How do you trip the latches on both at once to slide the pipes out?

Bret Duffin
03-20-2011, 5:54 PM

The drawers and table look great.

I would like to see/know more about your pipe clamp vise. I have seen several different variations on the theme, but not yours. How do you trip the latches on both at once to slide the pipes out?


I just release the clutches individually through the two square holes in the bench top. I have to adjust each pipe separately. I never thought of this as an inconvenience until you mentioned it. I like this vise because of the depth I can get and the twin screws offer versatility over my standard bench vise.

I'll post some photos of it if you are interested.


Joshua Culp
03-20-2011, 10:49 PM
I didn't realize that each pipe could be adjusted separately. I guess I thought each side was fixed to the wooden jaw and had to move in synch. Yes, I would appreciate a coue of pictures if you get a chance.

Jim Becker
03-20-2011, 10:56 PM
I think you're doing a great job on this project, Bret. Bow front pieces are really wonderful!

A little slotting with a dovetail saw and some slivers of wood will make those dovetails look perfect. (I know from experience...LOL)

Hugh MacDonald
03-20-2011, 11:00 PM
I can see what you mean about your dovetails not meeting the standards the rest of the piece has set. Because overall it looks very, very good. The curves came out great and the grain match across the fronts of the two drawers and the grain in the walnut in the rail in the top of the piece is outstanding. When you make something you want ALL of it to be perfect, even those parts you won't see from the outside and most others will never notice.

That said, I believe Fine Woodworking has done a few pieces about curved drawers. There may even be a video somewhere on the Web site showing how they approached cutting the dovetails.

Bill Trouard
03-21-2011, 10:34 AM
The Woodsmithshop covered how to do that in
Conquering Curves Show

Season 4 — Episode 405 (http://www.woodsmithshop.com/episodes/season4/405/)

They did a dovetail draw with a curved face in that episode

I know I do not post much here, but I'm reading all of your post every day. I'm still learing wood working, you guys did help me spen a lot of $$ on tools though. one day I'll post up photos of my 2 car garage shop

Von Bickley
03-21-2011, 10:43 AM

Looks to me like it's going to be another beautiful piece of furniture.

Looking forward to seeing the finished project...... GREAT work.

Pat Barry
03-21-2011, 2:23 PM
Bret - Joshua's comment peaked my interest. I found the picture that shows the vise - very slick. Just the idea I was looking for. Thanks. By the way, almost equally interesting was the bottle of beer. I think your work deserved that reward!