Drawer Web Frame: My Approach for the Armoire


Dry fit to level joints

In my latest post, the end of the year one; I was working on the mortise and tenons for the armoire.  This unit has three, main frames; the left, right, and one in the middle.  The tricky part of the assembly will be putting it all together!  Now, that kind of sounds like a “no duh” statement doesn’t it?  What needs to happen is for all of the stretchers, panels, bottom, and drawer web frame members to go together at one time — which becomes a greater, more  monumental challenge every time I think about it!  Keeping all of that in mind I decided that now was the right time to level the joinery of those frames.  This was accomplished with a block plane.  Prior to the final assembly, every surface will be finished with a smooth plane except for the ones that will have a peg driven through the tenons.  Those will be surfaced after the pegs are inserted, cut, and planed flush.

Mortises in back of drawer stretchers.

Mortises in back of drawer stretchers.

The next is making the drawer web frame.  These runners are made of Alder and are mortised into the drawer stretchers.  This time I’m using the tenoning jig rather than the dado head which I discussed in the last post.  The first step was making a 3/8″ wide, 5/8″ deep, and 1″ long mortise in the back of each drawer stretcher.  Using the hollow chisel mortiser allowed me to set stops to insure that each of the drawer web frame members are in the same location.

After double-checking the measurements the Alder pieces were cut to size and readied for the tenon.  I’ve used this technique for a single drawer and although I’ve never seen anything written about it found that it worked then so am up for trying it again!  The drawer stretchers and web frame are the same thickness (7/8″).  By offsetting the tenon in the drawer web frame so that it sits proud of the stretcher it will create an automatic reveal at the bottom of the drawer.  I used a small bench ruler to determine the width of the reveal.  Here’s how I went about it:

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Once my practice pieces gave me the fit I was after every one of the drawer web frame pieces had the machine work done with the tablesaw and tenon jig.  I needed to be very careful with the orientation of these pieces so machinists stamps were used to punch a ‘B’ prominently on the bottom surface.  Now comes the quiet part of this operation, beloved hand work!

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Side guide offset in web

Side guide offset in web

After fitting these together one step remains.  The drawer runners will support the drawer so that is is less than 1/16″ above the stretcher.  I want to maintain that distance from the sides as well.  The sides of the frame will need something to guide the drawer so here’s my solution.  Using the same bench ruler an offset was located on the drawer runner which will give me the same reveal on the sides as there is on the bottom.  Since there was a single dado blade installed in the saw already for cutting the tenons, I used it for creating the offset as well.

Offset drawer web frame

Offset drawer web frame

What happens next is to cut 1/2″ x 3/4″ pieces that will be glued to that offset.  The result will be a drawer web frame that will guide the drawer and create an even reveal all the way around.  Lots of engineering has gone into this and I’m pretty confident that it will work for the Armoire.  Here’s a mock up, what do you think — will this be a success?


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodworksbyJohn?ref=si_shop Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
This entry was posted in Hand Tool Woodworking, Johns Armoire, Mortise and Tenon Joint, Tutorial and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Drawer Web Frame: My Approach for the Armoire

  1. Pingback: New SawStop — Now what do you do? | Woodworks by John

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