Making Inset Drawer Fronts: How to Find the Perfect Fit

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Building a dresser is a great project to take on, with lots of skills to master. One of the aspects of building a dresser that many woodworkers find intimidating is to build inset drawer fronts, which can be a distinctive accent to a dresser or cabinet project. There are a couple reasons that inset drawer fronts can be intimidating. First, your carcase and face frame have to be perfectly square, or you will have to fit your inset drawer fronts to a parallelogram opening, which is no fun. Secondly the reveal around the inset drawer fronts has to be precise and consistent around the perimeter.

After you have done a good job on the carcase and face frame, it’s time to fit your inset drawer fronts. How can you create the inset drawer fronts in such a way that they fit perfectly, with the correct reveal around inset drawer fronts? The process is pretty straightforward, and can be further simplified by incorporating the woodworking tips that George shares with us here:

Determine your reveal. If you go too small your inset drawer fronts will be challenging to fit properly and they might be prone to sticking due to variations in humidity. If the reveal is too large, the dresser won’t look right.

Use a spacer. Based on the reveal that you have chosen, use a spacer that matches the total reveal on the top and bottom.

Use a transferable measuring device. Measure the opening using a simple device that can be carried to your table saw to set up the saw for your cut.

Cut your inset drawer fronts. To make them look special, you might want to create a continuous grain drawer front.

After your inset drawer fronts are ready to go, check out some tips for installing drawers.