Home > Techniques, Tools and Schools, Tool Chest > Tool Chest – Drawer Dovetails

Tool Chest – Drawer Dovetails

My wife’s heater appeared in the garage this morning so I put it to work. With a little extra heat I was able to finish cutting the dovetails for the last drawer.


Next I planed stock for the bottoms down to 1/2″ and prepared to cut a groove into the drawer sides. In the Anarchist Toolchest the drawer bottoms are nailed to the bottom of the drawers. This appears to have been done for ease of installation and to enable replacement of the bottoms should they wear. Since I used Oak on the sides of the drawers where they contact the runners, I don’t think wear will be an issue. I much prefer to place the drawer bottom in a groove. If you have been reading my blog you are probably think yeah, yeah, yeah it’s just an excuse to use the plow plane, and you are correct. The small veritas plow plane has become my favorite tool. I like the feel of the wood curling up over my fingers and the sound it makes cutting a groove. I set the plane up to cut a 1/4″ grove a little over a quarter inch from the edge of the board.

Cutting the sides went well and I cut the groove through the end of the board knowing that the small groove will be hidden by the drawer runners and that if I desire I can place a plug into the groove. Using my gramercy holdfasts it was quick work.


When I set up to groove the  drawer sides I realized that the short length was going to pose a problem with holding the boards in place. The holdfasts did not prevent the sides from twisting away from the plane. The ends of the drawers required a different holding plan.

Placing one of my clamps in my Moxon vice I was able to secure the side and allow plenty of room for the guide of my plow plane to pass over the vice. I placed a spare piece of wood under the drawer side and plowed the groove.


Once all of the groves were cut I will trim the bottom boards down to size and test fit them into the drawers. Two more to go and I’ll be ready for glue up.





  1. February 23, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Dang! I’ve been really struggling with holding small pieces and cutting grooves too. And have yet to really find a way that works really easily. I’ve used this clamping technique too, but with rails and styles. It works .. ok.

    I need to do some more research and see if I can find that works as well or better.

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