Tip: One-pass milling for drawer sides cuts setup time in half

Recently, I was asked to construct five built-in dressers and a set of kitchen cabinets: I had a lot of drawers to make, all of different depths. And I wasn't looking forward to setting everything up twice-once to cut the drawer parts to width, and again to dado for the drawer bottom. The one-step method I came up with works great.

I first stacked my dado set to the thickness of the drawer-bottom material. Next, I made a 14 "-hardboard spacer and bored a 58 " arbor hole in the center of it. (This spacer determines the distance between the bottom edge of the sides and the dado for the drawer bottom.)

Finally, I sandwiched the spacer between the dado set and my 10" saw blade, as shown, and slipped the whole thing onto the saw arbor. If you try this technique, make sure you arrange the parts so that the dado set is on the same end of the arbor as your fence.

I used the dado depth to set my blade height, then went to town cutting drawer parts. For each drawer, I only had to measure between the fence and the blade to set the width of the pieces.
—Todd Rogalla, Wahpeton, N.D.

Read more about

Tip of the Day

Chains Take Pains from Drying Parts

When you have a lot of large parts to finish—such as shelves—spreading them out for drying can take... read more