Making A Cabinet Drawer Using A Biscuit Joiner
Most woodworkers would know how to make a cabinet drawer if they were using a Lamello biscuit joiner machine. Perhaps you just purchased one or are borrowing one form a friend. In any case follow along with this video instructional to accomplish the task like a professional.
Now, dove tails have been preferred for solid wood construction for some time but they’re not really a perfect solution for all materials. They work no better in plywood than biscuits and they’re absolute disaster on fiber board. Biscuits, on the other hand, work very, very well in all three materials. Therefore, biscuits are a very potent choice for this type of joinery.
Now, a drawer is really nothing more than a carcase in miniature. As you can see, I’ve used the triangle markings system so that I won’t go wrong during the assembly. The drawer sides that I liked to construct with are made out of three quarter inch thick stock at minimum, five eighth seven inch, maybe if I’m using a hard wood, half-inch stock never, it just doesn’t, hold up. I like to put quarter by quarter inch grooves along the inside perimeter. The panel, I liked to use the quarter inch stock. I also like to glue it in the grooves for extra strength.
My index marks that are consequence of biscuit joinery, quite often, end up on the inside of the box. Thus, they don’t need to be cleaned off. Furthermore, I liked to construct the box as a stand-alone module and have the front separately as an add-on, whether it’s going to be an over-lay front or an in-set front, makes no difference.
Now, I liked to use these special screws to attach my drawer fronts to my boxes. They give me a couple of versatile features. Number one, since they’re specially sized with a large washer head, I can adjust these drawer fronts so that they’re a perfect match with their companions. Also, since I’m putting this drawer front on at a later date as a separate component, I can pre-finish the drawer front and not worry about having it get scratched up. I can put it on my carcase the very last moment before delivery. Also, if in any event that I should ever have to refinish my carcase, I can simply remove the supplied drawer front, leave the drawer box and its contents in place and not have to go through that extra energy and effort of unloading and removing the whole bank of drawers.
Altogether, when you utilize all of these techniques, you’ll wind up with a very, very reliable, efficient and durable drawer box system.
When making your drawer box, you have a few considerations. Number one, get your hardware first. If you’re going to use slides to carry the box, slides generally requires one inch or more of side clearance space. So you want to determine exactly what the requirements are. It’s unwise to always go by the catalog listings.
The procedure is pretty simple basically. Once you determined the dimensions, go ahead and cut your side stock and your front panel stock to width and to length. Go ahead, make your index marks. In this case, I’ve got some four inch drawers here. I set my gauge to give me a two inch registration line. I’ve done that on all of my drawer pieces. As you can see, I’ve grooved them as well. Keep in mind that the triangle index system tells me which side is the active side that I’m going to, actually, put the groove on.
The final sets of dimensions are to determine what the bottom panel is going to be. Since I’m using a quarter inch by quarter inch grooves, this is really easy. Put your components together, dry fit, measure your inside walls and add seven sixteenth of an inch. That gives you a sixteenth of an inch clearance for gluing. Once you’ve got all your components, the next step of course is to start cutting the biscuit slots. As you can see, I’ve got a stop-lock here in the workbench that keeps my work from scooting away on me. I’m also going to use my pressure pad.
A pressure pad is good for a couple of reasons. Number one, it holds the stock firmly in place and number two, it definitely keep your hands out of harm’s way. There may be occasions when the blade from this biscuit joiner will break through. So, you want to make absolutely sure that your hands are well clear away from that.
Now quite simply, I’m aligning my index marks up to the machine marks. I’m going to make a horizontal plunged cut on these pieces of the front of the backs and I’m going to make a special vertical plunge cut you saw me do before for the sides.
It doesn’t get any easier than that. We’re ready to assemble this. I’ve constructed this gluing platform. It’s very, very handy for gluing up boxes, doors and frames. What you want to do is to get your stock organized first. That will give you much speedier glue up. The next step we want to do is to apply glue to our joints. As I mentioned before, I really favor gluing in the bottom panel because that adds to the structural strength and it also keeps the noise level down. You don’t want a panel to be rattling and buzzing. This gel glue, also, works quite well as it seems to span the groove slot. Thus, it’ll ensure that you’ve wet both sides of the biscuit when you insert it. We want to apply our glue to the ends as well.
I liked to start with the side rails. I’ll install a set of biscuits and I’ll install my bottom panel. I’ll capture that in place with both the front and the rear panels. I’ll finish off the whole assembly with another set of biscuits and the opposite side rail.
The real business happens when I slide it to the corner of this jig because it’s an L shape and I’ve used a carpenter square. It assures that I’ve got a perfect right angle. The next step is to simply take a mallet and drive down all of these edges to make sure they’re flushed in. Again, this is a great feature, biscuit that has adjustability range that we get.
The final thing I’m going to check for is square, just to verify. I’m going to measure it corner to corner. I’ll make sure that those measurements agree (which they do). On taller drawer boxes, there’s going to be some floating away of the edges as I drive these wedges in place and we can simply take care of that with a couple of bar clamps. That creates one extremely, rigid drawer box.
There’s a copious amount of glue squeezed out on all of these joints. That simply means to me that I’ve got enough glue applied. I don’t like to wipe it up with a wet rug right away. I prefer to leave it to set for about half an hour. Then, I’ll undercut it with a chisel and pop that slugged glue out while it’s still fairly plastic.
There you have it. Drawer making just doesn’t get any easier than this.