Cabinet Drawer Question

I am building some cabinet drawers. The front of the drawere will be 3/4" pine. The sides and the back will be 1/2" baltic birch plywood. The drawer width will be 14" and the front width will be 15". I will be using Accuride drawer slides. I am thinking of joining the sides to the front using a sliding dovetail. I would like to rout a 2 dovetail slots in the rearside of the drawer front. Then rout matching dovetails on the front edge of each drawer side. I would then slide the drawer sides into the slot s in the front and glue it up.
I would appreciate comments as to this strategy. Would it be a strong joint> What size dovetail bit should I use? What should the depth of the slot be? What questions should I be asking that I am not?
Thanks for any and all help.
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Awful lot of trouble for a drawer.
Not sure how you've do a sliding dovetail with drawer bottom stock that's typically 1/4", sitting in grooves in the drawer sides all the way round or at least front and two sides with the back held in with a brad.
You using side mount or bottom mount Accuride drawer glides? Need to know that BEFORE making the drawers.
charlie b
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trvlnmny, Properly constructed, a sliding dovetail is a very strong joint for this application. However, using plywood for the drawer sides will reduce the joint strength because some of the plywood laminations will be cut away by the dovetail. These cut laminations will shear off more easily if you pull hard on the joint. But, that type of load would not ordinarily happen to a drawer front so the joint should be strong enough.
From your description of the drawer and front sizes, I am assuming that you are going to use a full inset drawer front. In that case, you will want to use a stopped dovetail slot so it doesn't show at the top of the drawer front when the drawer is opened. You will also have to "round over" the top edge of the drawer side dovetail - or cut it back from the top by a small amount - to hide it at the inside of the drawer.
The most common size for the joint is to make the dovetail as wide as the drawer sides - only cutting away just enough from each face of the drawer side to create a full dovetail cross-section. The depth would commonly be about half the thickness of the drawer front. In the softwood material of your drawer front, it would be common to use a 14 degree dovetail for better strength - but, I would probably go with a 7 degree angle bit in an attempt to improve the "chip-out" strength of the plywood sides. Jim Seelye

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seelyjv wrote:

A little additional info...
I like and use sliding dovetails all the time. When cutting the stopped slots, one end of the drawer front will have to be "climb cut". There is no problem doing so.
There will be a short area on the back of the front at each side where the side pins do not fill the slots if the sides are less wide than the front. When I am cutting pins in the sides, I cut a few extra on scrap, cut off the pins with a band saw and use them to fill the voids in the drawer fronts.
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As long as you realize that it is a bit fussy to do with plywood, what you propose for joining the drawer fronts and sides will work.

What are you going to do about attaching drawer bottoms with this design?
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Swingman wrote:

Standard groove should work just fine, no? You just have to make sure that the grooves in the front and sides line up, or else cut the groove with a router after the front and sides are assembled.
Chris
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"Chris Friesen" wrote in message

design?
I would tend to go with the latter if using a router. I asked because cutting grooves in already dovetailed plywood sides with a router may be a little messy, or vice versa.
IME, sliding dovetails being a bit fussy to do themselves, it makes sense to figure out what can go wrong beforehand ... cuz it will. ;)
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The thing that can go wrong most often with sliding dovetail is the precise spot to cut the slots on the drawer front. When that goes wrong, the width of the drawer (from side to side) is wrong and you'll have trouble installing the Accuride drawer slides, especially if they are side mounted. Try on scraps first to get a handle on the precise cutting position.
The sencond issue is to hide the slot opening at the bottom of the drawer front. If you plan to round over the front of the drawer front with a router, you may get a dip at those spots because the ball bearing of the router bit lost support at the slot openings. Fill the slot opening with scrap and tape it before routing the drawer face, or route the face before cutting the slot.
Another way to hide the slot opening is to do rabbet on the back side of the drawer front, so that the dovetail is recessed.
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This will be a weak joint. Cutting the pin on the end of a BB plywood side will

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This will be a very weak joint. Cutting a pin on the end of BB plywood will: - Leave a frayed pin at best, even with a sharp cutter and will probably have chipped sections. - Plywood is glued together layers and doesn't have any interlocking grain such as solid stock. So once you have the pins cut you have these little strips of layered material hanging out n the edge of the pin. Cut a pin like that and use your fingers and start chipping away the layers, you will see what I mean.
The joint won't likely easily fail but it is nowhere near the strength of a similar joint using solid stock. Especially after driving the pin into the slot. If it is tight at all you will destroy more of the pin as you drive it.
Personnaly I would just build a BB box and attach it to the drawer front with screws (and glue if you want). You can build a dovetailed box or finger jointed or drawer box joint and have a nicer result.
We are doing dovetaild boxes of BB ply on the CNC and they come out beautiful.
BW

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