12 drawers down

Starting off with a “oo la la” plane shot working drawer parts:plane some drawer partsAnd the result,12 drawers done, at least that many to go. These are dovetailed boxes with a 5mm plywood bottom nailed on. I’m using up white oak sap wood.

some drawers

I really don’t like making the same part over and over and … so the most drawers I’ve made at one time is three. I also don’t really care if the thickness of the sides varies but the Leigh jig does. Which leads to some thoughts about that Leigh jig. I have really mixed emotions about it. I’ve read a lots of things about it having a steep learning curve but I don’t think it does; the manual is very nice, I just find it inconsistent/unpredictable/quirky – the settings are guidelines and you have to tweak them based on data you’ve collected while making scrap. For example, there is slop in the jig (I don’t think there is anyway to get around that); if you cut a bunch of dovetails [on the end of a board], you need to make the spacing a bit sloppy or the parts won’t mesh. If you cut one dovetail, you run it quite a bit tighter or you get a sloppy loose fit. So you typically need to make test cuts (cutting tight, adjusting and re-cutting is dicey). Since the jig uses a router mounted guide (which I hate) (vs a bearing on the bit), you have to make sure you hold the router in the same orientation all the time because if you rotate/twist the router, the bit will cut closer or further away (since you can never center the bit exactly relative to the guide). However, get it dialed in and you can run a set of drawers quickly and get a great fit.
I view it as a production tool; make some parts to make those parts well, train the operator, just feed it [identical] stock and don’t touch it. Which is the antithesis of the way I work. Oh well, I’m getting the quirks memorized and I really do like the adjustability and ability to use different size bits.

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