Media Cabinet #15: Drawer Box


This is part 15 in a 18 part series: Media Cabinet

I used this opportunity to get some experience with the Leigh D4R dovetail jig.  I bought it used in a package deal with the Leigh mortise and tenon jig that I used earlier on the legs and stretchers.  The manual for the dovetail jig requires some studying before getting started.  Fortunately, the manual is pretty well written.   For half-blind dovetails, though, there is quite a bit of trial and error on scraps to get the settings dialed-in.   With no prior experience, I opted not to use valuable hardwood.  Instead I used the same 3/4" birch plywood that I used for the cabinet.  That way, I wouldn't cry if I messed it up.

Not that I'd expect a super clean cut on Home Depot birch plywood, but I got some decent tear-out on the tails, even with a brand new dovetail bit and the requisite backer board.  I found that this last batch of plywood has had a lot of voids and lean glue layers between laminations.  I'm sure the results would have been better with some BBP.   But, what I have is workable for now.  Here's my final fit with some scraps after 5-6 iterations of adjustments.

With all the settings dialed-in, knocking out the the pins and tails probably took around 15 minutes.  With those done, I setup the router table with a 1/8" spiral bit to cut a dado for the 1/4" (nominal) drawer bottom.  I nudged the fence a little each pass until the dado provided a snug fit for the 1/4" ply.

Test fitting the drawer in the opening with the drawer slides.  It's a good fit - no binding and no slop.

The edges needed some dressing-up, so I prepared to put some lipstick on the pig.

I applied the iron-on edging to both top an bottom edges.  It really does elevate the look.

A final dry fit.  I haven't decided on whether to apply finish before or after glue-up.  Finish will be shellac then poly.  I'd prefer to spray, but I have to spray outside, and the temps are low at the moment.  Right now, I'm leaning towards brushing the finishes before glue-up.  We'll see.

Routing through the thickness of any plywood can be a real nightmare!

I also have the DR4 and basically have to start over and relearn everything since I only use it maybe once a year.

Tape over the cut areas can help a bit.
Also surprised you didn't use a TS to cut the grooves, for me, cutting long grooves with a tiny router bit is all white knuckle all the time 😱

Final box looks A-1 however 👍
Is this going to be faced veneered, solid wood, or ??? 
lookin good ross. i have the same issues with the porter cable jig, i always forget and it takes some time to get it perfect again.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

Splinter - Thanks.  The DR4 will shine when I need to do a batch of drawer boxes.  And I'm sure I'll get better at setup now that I'm a little familiar with how it works.  
I decided to cut the dado for the drawer bottom on the router table so I could do a stopped dado and avoid cutting off the tip of the half-pin on either end.  I would be left with some chisel work if I tried to do that on the TS.  Slow and steady with the 1/8" spiral bit worked for me.
The drawer box will get a false front for an inset fit.  It will be veneered with more Izombe.  I'm deferring building it until I've worked-out what kind of drawer pull to use - something integrated or something attached to the face.

Pottz, thank you.  I'm going to enjoy playing around with the DR4.  It also has a finger joint attachment - that might be a better choice for sub-par plywood boxes than dovetails.