What are Dovetail Drawers?

What are Dovetail Drawers?

As they have been a distinguishing feature of high end cabinetry for years, many people have felt confusion as to what dovetail actually means.

The phrase “Dovetail drawer” refers to the specific construction of the drawer; the drawer box is made from solid wood (as opposed to particle board) and a dovetail joint is used to securely join the drawer side and front together. These type of drawers are easily recognized by their distinct dovetail joint at the outside corner. These look like jigsaw puzzle pieces joined together at a 90 degree angle.

Wellborn Cabinets at Forest Edge Reserve in Northville

Dovetail drawers are superior to standard drawers because they more securely hold the drawer front and drawer side together, creating a stronger bond that is more durable against wear and tear.

Another advantage of dovetail drawers is the fact that they must be made of solid wood. While average drawers are made from those aforementioned particleboard planks which are then stapled or glued together, standard dovetail are made from solid 3/4″ wood boards. This wood is then sanded, buffed, and finished before being individually cut to perfectly fit in the dovetail joint. The result is a finished product that is not only strong and durable, but also beautiful and the hallmark of true craftsmanship.

While these solid wood drawers were the standard for centuries, modern machined production replaced dovetail drawers with stapled drawer boxes and replaced the all wood drawer with a drawer made from particle board pieces. This resulted in a product that was faster, cheaper, and easier to produce but unfortunately, it also resulted in a product that did not perform as well, was less durable, and lacked the craftsmanship of the dovetail drawer.

There are 3 major advantages to the dovetail drawer:

Strength: Since the drawer front and sides are completely joined together, this produces a much stronger bond that is superior to stapled or glued drawer fronts. Dovetail drawers also utilize solid wood which results in much stronger drawer than standard particleboard drawers.The combination of the solid wood and the dovetail drawer joint produce a product that offers the ultimate in strength.

Durability: With solid wood construction and a superior interlocking dovetail joint, dovetail drawers offer a lifetime of durability. Dovetail drawers also feature hidden drawer glides which are tucked beneath the drawer and are more protected from regular wear and tear than standard drawers which have drawer glides on both sides of the drawer. As the glides are the major moving part on a drawer and take the most wear and tear, the best spot for them is hidden underneath the drawer and dovetail drawers offer this.

Craftsmanship: Because of the level of artistry involved in the manufacturing process, dovetail drawers offer a level of quality and craftsmanship not found on standard drawers. Those who have an eye for quality will immediately notice the perfectly interlocking solid wood pieces on each drawer corner and the way the drawer effortlessly slides into and out of the drawer bank. Dovetail drawers need to be carefully made so that all the parts and pieces work flawlessly, which results in a truly superior product made with expert craftsmanship.

Dovetail drawers play an important role in the lifespan as well as the performance of your cabinetry.

So go ahead – Try opening one of your kitchen drawers – Are they dovetail?  IF YOU ARE IN A NEW CONSTRUCTION HOME THE ANSWER SHOULD BE Y E S!

Materials DO Matter!