How to Make Dovetail Drawer Boxes

Dovetail drawer boxes are popular among woodworkers because of their strong construction and appealing appearance. This tutorial will teach you how to make dovetail drawer boxes using a few basic tools and techniques. We’ll also show you how to create a striking finish that will enhance the beauty of your project. So, let’s get started!

Summary: Making dovetailed drawer boxes is a simple and rewarding project that can easily be completed with a few basic tools and woodworking skills. By following these simple steps, you can create beautiful, functional storage pieces that will complement any home decor.

how to make dovetail drawer boxes

What You’ll Need

  • A table saw
  • A miter saw
  • A doweling jig
  • 1/4″ diameter dowel rods
  • Wood glue
  • 1/2″ finishing nails
  • A hammer
  • 180 grit sandpaper
  • Stain or paint (optional)

Step by Step How to Make Dovetail Drawer Boxes

1. Gather Your Tools and Supplies.

The first step is to gather your tools and supplies. You will need a saw, chisels, a hammer, a router, and sandpaper. You will also need wood glue and clamps. If you do not have a saw, you can use a hand saw or a jigsaw. Try to get the best quality tools that you can afford.

2. Cut Your Pieces to Size.

Next, you will need to cut your pieces to size. Cut your drawer box’s sides, front, and back to the desired dimensions. The bottom of the drawer box will be a separate piece. Use a miter saw, or a table saw to make precise cuts. To do this, first, measure and mark your cuts. Then, cut along the marked lines. If you are using a hand saw, be sure to use a saw guide or a miter box to ensure that your cuts are straight.

Gather Your Tools  And Supplies

3. Assemble the Pieces of Your Box.

Once your pieces are cut to size, it’s time to assemble the box. Begin by applying wood glue to the ends of the side pieces. Then, place the front and back pieces in between the side pieces and clamp them together. Allow the glue to dry for at least an hour before proceeding to the next step. If you are using finishing nails, you can skip the clamping and nail the pieces together.

4. Attach the Front and Back Panels.

After the glue has dried, you can attach the front and back panels to the sides using screws. To do this, first, predrill some pilot holes through the front and back panels. Then, align the panels with the sides and use screws to attach them. Be sure to use screws that are long enough to go through the panels and into the sides.

5. Cut the Dovetail Joints.

Now it’s time to cut the dovetails. The most common method is to use a dovetail jig, but you can also cut them by hand. If you’re using a jig, first mark the locations of the tails and pins on the workpiece. Then set up the jig according to the manufacturer’s instructions and cut the tails. Next, cut the pins. To do this, flip the workpiece over and align the jig so that the blade will cut in the locations of the pins. Next, cut the pins and then test-fit the pieces together.

Use a Miter Saw

If you’re cutting the dovetails by hand, first mark the locations of the tails and pins on the workpiece. Then use a dovetail saw to cut the tails. Next, use a chisel to pare away the waste between the tails. Finally, cut the pins in the same way. Again, test-fit the pieces together to make sure they fit properly.

6. Assemble the Joints.

Once the dovetails are cut, it’s time to assemble the joints. To do this, you’ll need to use a dovetail jig. This is a specialized tool that helps to ensure the dovetails fit together perfectly. First, mark the depth of the dovetails on the jig. This will ensure that the dovetails are cut to the correct size. Next, align the tailboard and pinboard so that the dovetails fit together perfectly.

Once they’re aligned, clamp the boards together and use a router to cut the dovetails. After the dovetails are cut, it’s time to assemble the drawer box. To do this, you’ll need to glue the dovetails together. Once the glue is dry, you can sand the drawer box and add hardware.

7. Drill Holes for the Drawer Pulls.

The next step is to drill holes for the drawer pulls. To do this, first mark the locations of the holes on the drawer front. Then, using a drill and a bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the screws that will be used to attach the pulls, drill pilot holes at the marked locations. Finally, use a drill bit that is the same size as the screws to make the holes for the screws. If you are using a different type of hardware to attach the drawer pulls, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drilling the holes.

Drill Holes for  The Drawer Pulls

8. Attach the Drawer Pulls.

Once the holes for the drawer pulls have been drilled, it’s time to attach the pulls. To do this, insert the screws that come with the pulls into the holes and then tighten them in place. Be careful not to overtighten the screws, as this can strip the holes and make it difficult to remove the pulls in the future.

9. Add the Bottom Panel.

The next step is to add the bottom panel to the drawer box. To do this, you’ll need to cut rabbets on all four sides of the panel. A rabbet is a groove that’s cut into the edge of a board so that another board can fit into it.

To cut the rabbets, set your table saw blade to 3/8″ and make a cut 3/8″ deep and 3/4″ wide along one edge of the bottom panel. Then, rotate the panel and make a similar cut along the opposite edge. Finally, make two more cuts along the remaining sides of the panel.

10. Finish the Box as Desired.

The last step is to finish the box as desired. You can sand the wood and then apply a finish. If you’re using a soft wood like pine, you’ll want to use a sealer before painting or staining. Or, you could leave the wood unfinished for a more natural look.

How Much Wood Do I Need to Build a Dovetail Drawer Box?

To Build a Dovetail Drawer Box, You’ll Need:

  • 1/2″ thick stock for the sides (length will depend on the size of the drawer)
  • 1/4″ thick stock for the bottom (length and width will depend on the size of the drawer)
  • 1/2″ thick stock for the front and back (length will depend on the size of the drawer)
  • 1/4″ thick stock for the drawer pulls (length will depend on the size of the drawer)

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Dovetail Drawer Box?

The cost of materials for a dovetail drawer box will vary depending on the size of the drawer and the type of wood you use. However, you can expect to spend around $30-$50 on materials for a small drawer. The cost will be higher if you’re using a more expensive wood like cherry or walnut. How to Make Dovetail Drawer Boxes

Tips and Warnings on How to Make Dovetail Drawer Boxes


  1. Use sharp blades for the cleanest cuts possible.
  2. If you are new to woodworking, practice on some scrap wood first to get a feel for the process.
  3. Take your time and be precise with your cuts – rushing will result in sloppy work.
  4. Be sure to measure twice and cut once!


  1. Be very careful when using power tools – they can be dangerous if not used properly.
  2. Wear eye protection and gloves when working with wood to protect yourself from potential injuries.
  3. Do not try to force the pieces of wood together – if they don’t fit, something is probably not cut correctly.
  4. Do not sand too aggressively, or you may damage the wood.
Add the Bottom  wood

What Router Bits Do I Need to Make Dovetail Joints?

You can use several different types of router bits to make dovetail joints, but the two most common are the straight bit and the dovetail bit. The straight bit is the more versatile of the two and can be used to cut a wide variety of joints, including dovetails. It is also easier to use, so if you are just starting out, it may be a good choice for you.

What Are the Dimensions of a Dovetail Drawer Box?

The dimensions of a dovetail drawer box will vary depending on the size and style of the box. In general, a standard dovetail drawer box will typically measure between 14 to 24 inches wide and 12 to 22 inches deep. The height will also vary depending on the size of the box but is usually between 3 to 5 inches tall.

If the drawer box is to be used in a desk or cabinet, then the width and depth should be determined based on the size of the opening for the drawer. For example, if the opening measures 18 inches wide and 16 inches deep, then an 18-inch wide by 16-inch deep dovetail drawer box would be the most appropriate choice.

How Do You Cut Dovetails for Drawers?

Cutting dovetails for drawers is a sophisticated woodworking technique that combines two pieces of wood to form a strong, long-lasting corner joint. The most common type of dovetail is the half-blind variety, in which the joint is not visible from the front or outside surface of the drawer. This type of dovetail is especially popular among furniture makers and cabinetmakers as it creates a clean, aesthetically pleasing look.

To begin cutting dovetails, you will need a dovetail saw, marking gauge, chisel, coping saw, bevel square, and sandpaper. Before beginning to cut the dovetails, mark out the joints on both pieces of wood using the marking gauge. To ensure a tight fit, make sure that the two marks meet precisely in the center. Once the marking is done, cut along the lines with a coping saw.


So there you have it, your complete guide on how to make dovetail drawer boxes. We hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful and that you will give these boxes a try. Once you get the hang of it, they are a really fun project, and the results look great too. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Happy woodworking!

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Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

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