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Post-Haste Project: Instant Drawer

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Duration:   2  mins

If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to build rock solid drawers, we’ve got exactly what you need on how to build drawers. All it takes is a router table, a slot cutting router bit and a little practice, and you’ll be building perfect drawers in no time.

Drawers Get Abused
Drawers take a lot of abuse. How many open/closed cycles does a drawer see in its lifetime? Lots and lots. Add heavy items to the drawer, like tools in a workshop drawer or utensils in a kitchen drawer, and the demands on a drawer become significant. For the drawers to hold up, you need to know how to make cabinet drawers. This doesn’t have to become a time consuming woodworking project, provided you know a few tricks of the trade.

Router Table Drawers
There are two keys to Instant Drawers; the router table and a slot cutting router bit. Once the bit is correctly set you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can make perfect drawers. This technique will deepen your arsenal of skills on how to use a router table.

More on How to Build Drawers
WoodWorkers Guild of America provides lots of great video instruction on how to build drawers. You can learn how to set up a dovetail jig and how to make sliding dovetails, both great techniques for making drawers that will stand up to the test of time. We’ve also got tips on drawer slides and attaching drawer fronts.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

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17 Responses to “Post-Haste Project: Instant Drawer”

  1. Jay

    Several things here. It looks like a rabbet bit is being used. It is wide and is totally unnecessary. It prevents closure of the fence, which will make it more likely to pull the work piece into the gap between the fence. Using a simple straight bit will prevent that as the fence can be closed for some cuts and open only for the width of the bit for others. Bit height should be no more than 1/2 the thickness of the work piece. A digital height measurement device can help. There are other bit options for better drawer box joints including dovetail, miter and drawer lock bits that yield stronger or more cosmetically acceptable joints but they're more complicated to set up and more expensive. It is unlikely that the drawer bottom thickness will be the same size as the tongue and groove cuts in this video. Actual plywood thicknesses are typically less than stated by 1/32 to a full 1/16". The bottom grooves need to be adjusted accordingly. It is bad form to cut those grooves through the sides of fronts and backs. In this video, they would need to be filled in, which is extra work and time with only so-so results. In general, routing a piece vertically on the table should be avoided, if possible. Control of the work piece in that situation is reduced with it possibly twisting into the fence gap or the leading edge dropping into the gap between the bit and the magnetic ring. If you must do vertical routing, consider using a sacrificial fence. A one-piece, sacrificial fence avoids the difficult and common issues when each fence side is not perfectly aligned and exactly perpendicular to the table bottom along it's full height. Lastly, keep a written log of your common cuts. Measure the distanced from the fence to the edge of the miter slot. Use the same ruler for these measurements and measure from the lateral sides of the table, not just directly in front of the bit. By using a magnifying glass, accuracy should be to about 1/4 mm for nice, predictable results. Be careful when cutting deep slots with a 1/4" shank diameter bit. Cut in up to 1/8" increments to help avoid pulling the bit out of its collet. Make sure the bit is very, very tight when using 1/4" shanks or the work piece will be damaged when the bit move upward. If routing becomes more difficult, suspect that this is happening and immediately stop and investigate. This issue is much less when using 1/2" shanks, which should be used whenever possible. The smaller the bit cutting diameter, the more likely the bit will break off, so it makes sense to have a duplicate bit. This video has been speeded up, but you need to route at the speed your router and bit can handle the cut. Don't force it. When routing long pieces, using a feather board clamped to the fence can help ensure that the work piece will stay flat against the top and that can help compensate for mild wood warpage. There are instructions on the Web on how to make feather boards from scrap wood.

  2. Julie

    What kind of router bit was used?

  3. Alan Setzer

    I'm just starting on wood working and slowly building up tools and equipment. Your videos are great and very instructive. What size slot bit is being used in this video? I have found 2 & 3 wings and various sizes.

  4. Becky

    I have tried this several times and I can't get it to fit. I am using a 1/4" 3 wing slot cutter and tried moving the fence, the bit, nothing fits. I'm using 1/2" cedar planks for test pieces and need help figuring out what I am doing wrong! Please help. The video looks so easy....

  5. njs36

    there are no responces to read even though it says there are 23

  6. Alex

    What bit/ bits are used for this

  7. Herb

    Great short and to the point video - the kind I like. But the best part for me was the music. What song was that?

  8. Paul

    I logged in to watch your post haste video on building drawers with a slot cutting bit on a router. However, the video does not load. I use Firefox browser. I did attempt it using Internet Explorer (first time in a year or so I have used IE), and it worked. Is there a setting that I need to use with Firefox to view your videos?

  9. Becky Lidolph

    Is a slot cutter the same thing as a wing slot cutter? I'm trying to make the instant drawer and it's too loose of a fit. I have the wing slot cutter

  10. Randy

    Dumb question. I restarted the video several times, but all I hear is music. Did I miss something? Is there any audio (not music) to go with this vid?

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