Types of wooden drawer joints

Written by justin mitchell
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Types of wooden drawer joints
Several major types of joints facilitate drawer construction. (drawer handles image by jovica antoski from Fotolia.com)

When constructing a dresser or a desk, building the drawers can be the most complicated part of the process, most particularly the joints. There are several ways to create the joints. Choosing which one you feel will work best for your project is entirely up to you.

Dovetail Joints

Dovetail joints are one of the most frequently used drawers joints, and for a long time was the standard way of doing it. They are usually handmade and, therefore, most often these days they present on high-end furniture. In order to construct a dovetail joint, simply cut one side of the joint into a series of unique, trianglelike shapes, similar in appearance to the tail of a dove. This cutting can be done by hand or with a specialised jig.

Two major variants of dovetail joints exist: through dovetails and half-blind dovetail joints. The only difference between them: Through dovetails extend all the way through the other piece of the joint, while half-blind dovetail joints don't. This gives the front of the joint the appearance of total solidity. Through dovetail-jointed drawers usually have a frontispiece to conceal them.

Sliding Dovetail Joints

Sliding dovetail joints are actually considerably different than ordinary dovetail joints. A sliding dovetail joint is created when one dovetail shape is cut lengthwise on one side and a corresponding rut is cut in the other side of the joint.

Box Joints

Box joints are similar in conception to dovetail joints. The major difference: The interlocking teeth of box joints are box-shaped, instead of dovetail shape. This type of interlock is almost always machine-made, and lacks the strength of dovetails. However, they are still plenty strong, especially when used with glue.

Dado Joints

Dado joints are easier to make than either box joints and dovetail joints. A dado joint consists of a long rut cut in one side of the joint into which the other is fit. These types of joints are not made to last a long time, but are easy to construct.

Rebate Joints

Rebate joints are similar to dado joints, except the swath in a rebate joint is cut into one of the joint side's ends, so that the other side of the joint is not completely immersed in the wood. Once again, this type of joint is not as strong or durable as dovetail joints.

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