To build a drawer without dovetails the most durable way is to use dowels. Other options include dado joints, rabbet joints, or reinforced butt joints.
Which method you choose as a homeowner, contractor or cabinet maker depends on the budget, aesthetics, how fast the job calls for the drawers to be done. Each of these factors will influence which type of joint you choose without using dovetails.
Drawer Boxes Joints
When building drawer boxes there are 3 joint areas you need to keep in mind. The sides to the back, sides the front, and how to join the bottom to the drawer box.
Attaching Sides To Front & Back
When it comes to attaching the sides to the front and back of the drawer box there are several methods in addition to the dovetail. Dovetail joints tend to be one of the hardest and most technical joints to make, so this guide will focus on the alternative ways to build a drawer boxes without the dovetail joint.
One of the very best ways to build a drawer without dovetails is a dowel joint. The dowel joint offers much of the strength and durability of the dovetail and still has an attractive look. A dowel joint is made by drilling holes through the sides of the drawer box into the edges of the front and back. Then tightly fitting wooden dowels are fitted into the wood to hold it in place. Strong wood glues are used to anchor the dowels and joints together.
Dado joints are also an option for drawer construction without dovetails. A dado is when one of the edge pieces is cut to the exact thickness of the rest of the wood. Then the sections are fitted together tightly with the addition of wood glue. This type of joint relies heavily on the tightness of the joint fit along with the strength of the wood glue.
Rabbet joints are those that have an recessed open channel on the end of board where the side, front, or back will fit into. This joint can be mixed with dado joints for additional strength. There are a number of types of rabbet joints such as mitered rabbet joints, half-lap rabbets, shiplap joints and more.
Reinforced Butt Joints
Butt joints are by far the most simple type of joint imaginable. They are when a section of wood simply butts up against the other section of the drawer frame and is fastened. Fastening can be done with staples, screws, but the most visually attractive and longest lasting is when dowels are used.
Stapled Drawer Boxes
In our experience this is a recipe for wasted money and frustration. The staples tend to slide out when weight is put in the drawer. In addition, the front of the drawers get loose as they are opened hundreds of times a year. While staples are used by some DIY’ers and companies, we recommend against choosing to use staples with cabinet drawer boxes.
Attaching The Bottom
The bottom of the drawer is typically always going to be joined by sliding it into a groove which is cut in the bottom of the sides, front, and back. The height this is done at is variable and should be considered depending on what depth of drawer is desired. You can leave a whole inch above the bottom of the drawer or they can be flush mounted for maximum storage space.
Shop Drawer Boxes Online
If you’d like to simply purchase high quality drawer boxes so you can avoid having to spend hours in your garage Drawer Connection has you covered. Even if you’re a cabinetry company our team makes drawer boxes faster and inexpensively.
Let us take care of the details while you focus your skilled labor on custom work and installs. We build high quality dowel joint drawer boxes and are happy to ship your drawer boxes assembled or in flat pack quick assembly kits.
Click here to shop for dowel drawer boxes online