Notching Drawer Backs for Slides

Advice on accomplishing a drawer construction detail. October 20, 2013

How do you notch the drawer backs for Blum Tandems? I'm a one man shop, so volume is low. Iím constructing dovetailed boxes, so leaving the back short is not an option. I presently make a couple passes on the tablesaw dado blade after assembly. It works, but itís not the best. Is there a better way?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
Thatís how I do it. I have a saw dedicated to doing just that operation. With a good dado set this works just fine.

From contributor D:
I haven't used it much, and I am sure it can be refined, but the pictured sled works well. It can do overlay and inset backs. The front dadoed piece is replaceable and adjustable for material thickness (prevents chip-out on overlay backs).

Click here for higher quality, full size image

From contributor M:
A jig saw and chisel is short and sweet, unless you're using plywood. I notch mine after assembly. Two quick cuts with jig saw and pop out the piece with a chisel.

From Contributor G:
When cutting dadoes for drawer bottoms just raise the blade and cut through the back panel removing the whole bottom. It makes it faster and easier to assemble drawers and solves the notch problem. I have done this for years and it works great.

From Contributor W:
We do the same as GP.

From contributor S:
The quickest way I found to notch the drawer bottoms without any special setup is to use the Fein with a blade size close to 1.25 wide.

From contributor C:
I use the band saw with a clamped on stop to fence. Itís pretty fast.

From contributor R:
I have never notched mine. After I run the grove for the drawer bottoms, I take all the drawer backs and cut off the bottom portion up to the top of the groove. I then assemble, slide in the drawer bottom, staple it in place, and drill the two holes on the back for the tandems.

From Contributor E:
That's fine to cut the back off at the grove if it's a doweled or butt jointed drawer, but if it's dovetailed you're going to see the pin without a socket for it to go into. How are you guys building your drawers if you are just cutting the back off at the groove?

From the original questioner:
Maybe I've been over-thinking it. For the low volume I have I'm going to try the jig saw or Fein - makes sense and sounds simple. I'm with Contributor E though - with dovetails it looks goofy to cut off the bottom of the drawer back.

From Contributor F:
If you cut the notch in the dovetailed drawer after glue up there is no pin missing when notched. Walzcraft makes dovetailed drawers less expensive than I can buy and mill the maple to 5/8. Completely notched, lacquered, assembled, and shipped. I've never been disappointed with them in 20 years.

From Contributor U:
I made a jig that clamps to the side of the drawer boxes. I use an up-cut spiral router bit. Then I tilt the box on its front and I have two holes in the jig that drills the holes in the back of the drawer box with the same router setup.