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The Child’s Chalkboard
Here's a nifty weekend project that will give the kids a great place to excersie their artistic talents, practice their math and leave important messags for parents, as well.

Building The Drawer Box And Drawers
Once again, if you have a thickness planer, begin by planing all stock you plan to use for pieces D through J to the indicated 1/2". Next, joint and cut all the common widths for the drawer box and drawers, then cut all the pieces to length, according to the Bill Of Materials.

IMPORTANT: Since you'll be using finger lap construction for these pieces, it would be a good idea for you to rip the drawer box sides (G) to about 1/16" wider than indicated...and crosscut pieces D,E,H,I and J to about 1/16" longer than indicated. This will allow the fingers of your joints to protrude about 1/32" past their mating workpieces when assembled. These protruding fingers can then be sanded flush once the glue-up has dried.

Drawer Box Drawer Layout
Click To Enlarge
Click To Enlarge

Creating the finger joints can accomplished with the aid of a special finger lap fixture...which can be used with your dado or router table setup. We used the dado setup to make our chalkboard.

Configure your dado setup, you'll need to make a finger lap fixture for cutting 1/2" fingers, instead of the 3/8" fingers in the linked article. Be sure to cut each finger about 1/32" longer than 1/2" (or 17/32"). This will allow the ends to be sanded flush once everything is assembled. Start by cutting the joints for the drawer box top, bottom and sides (D,E & G)...then, cut the fingers for the drawer fronts, backs and sides (I,J & H).

Next, cut the 1/4" deep cross-grain dadoes in the drawer box top and bottom (D & E) to accept the drawer partitions (F). We used the dado setup to cut ours and for appearance purposes, made them “blind” in the front of the box. If you use this approach, you'll have to use your bandsaw or scroll saw to carefully remove the front edges of each partition so it fits into the blind dado. As an alternative, you could cut also these stopped grooves with your router and a 1/4" straight bit.

Sand the inside surfaces of all drawer box pieces and dry fit. When you're sure everything fits properly, disassemble the box, apply glue and clamp together. Check for squareness, wipe away any excess glue immediately with a damp cloth and set the box aside to dry.

Re-configure your dado setup to make a 1/4" wide x 1/4" deep cut and rout the grooves 1/4" up from the inside bottoms of the drawer fronts (I), backs (J) and sides (H) to hold the drawer bottoms (K). IMPORTANT: Be careful to stop these grooves before they reach the fronts and backs of the drawer sides (H) or the drawer bottoms will show through when assembled. Again, as an alternative, these stopped grooves could also be cut with a router set-up and 1/4" straight bit.


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