Lock-Rabbet Drawer Joints
Make 'em quickly and easily with your tablesaw
Although you can build drawer joints using any number of methods, we think lock-rabbet joints like the ones below make sense for attaching the sides, fronts, and backs of most drawers. Although not as strong as a dovetailed joint, a well-made lock-rabbet joint will hold up fine unless the drawer takes heavy, regular pounding. And, it's much simpler to cut than dovetails.
Note: Before you start, make sure that all of your drawer front stock is the same thickness (about 3/4"). Also, your sides and backs should be identically thick (about 1/2").
1. To protect the face of your tablesaw fence from blade cuts, attach a 6"-high wood auxiliary fence to it. Install a 1/4"-wide dado set, and adjust the fence so the dado set just grazes it.
Use your 1/2"-thick stock for the drawer side or back to adjust the height of the dado set to match the thickness of that material as shown in above illustration. Make a 1/4x1/2" rabbet cut in a 3/4x3x3" scrap "gauge block" positioned face down on your saw. Nestle your drawer side or back into the rabbet to double-check that the depth of the cut matches the thickness of the 1/2" stock. Save this gauge block.
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